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The Anxieties of a Paper Empire

The Anxieties of a Paper Empire

(p.233) 8 The Anxieties of a Paper Empire
The Indies of the Setting Sun
Ricardo Padrón
University of Chicago Press

While Ribadeneira forged a millenarian vision of the progress of Christianity across the Atlantic and the Pacific, the official historians of Spain’s imperial enterprise worked to incorporate the Indies of the West into a public, official vision of the Spanish Indies. Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas’s abortive Historia general adapts the earlier cartographical and geographical work of López de Velasco for consumption by a European audience that had become accustomed to portrayals of Spain’s enterprise in America along the lines suggested by the Black Legend. Bartolomé Leonardo de Argensola’s Conquista de las Malucas provides a de facto complement to Herrera’s history, mapping both the Pacific and the Indian oceans as Hapsburg imperial space and celebrating the supposed triumph of Iberian Catholicism over Dutch Protestantism in the islands of Southeast Asia, while revealing continued anxieties about the preponderance of Chinese influence in the region.

Keywords:   Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas, Bartolomé Leonardo de Argensola, imperial historiography, imperial cartography, early modern Moluccas

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