Worlds Within Worlds: The Institutional Locations of Global Connections in Early-Modern Seville

This article examines the institutional locations of global connections in Seville as the city became an important hub of Europe’s first global empire in the sixteenth century. It combines a micro-historical approach to institutions with the history of religious orders to explore the places and processes through which global connections were localized and mediated in sixteenth-century Seville. While the role of economic institutions, such as the Casa de Contratación (House of Trade), in processing long-range connections is well known, the role of religious institutions has often been overlooked. This article uses original archival research for the regional headquarters of the Franciscan Order, the Casa Grande, and its affiliated confraternity, the cofradía de la Vera Cruz, to examine the roles played by religious institution in the business of negotiating connections across the Mediterranean and Atlantic and within the city of Seville. This micro-historical study reveals these institutions as microcosms of the newly emerging global society of the Iberian world. This approach highlights the entanglement of religion and economics in the business of negotiating global connections and draws attention to the lives of people often left out of global histories.

Town and Country: Connecting Late Medieval Castilian Urban Experience with Sixteenth-Century Colonization of the Americas

Urban government and the foundation of new towns are fundamental to understanding Castilian expansion from the eleventh-century conquest of Toledo to the sixteenth-century conquest of Tenochtitlan. The economic, social, religious and military connections between town and territory relied on a broad framework of institutions and laws as well as monarchical intervention. The result in Castile was the emergence of an original urban model of secular construction and proven political success to ensure control of territory and to govern heterogeneous populations. This Castilian model influenced the America’s urban systems, given its proven ability to control and defend territories. In fact, the Spanish kings favored transplanting this model, which linked town and country, to the colonies. These municipalities could ensure the sedentarization of the settlers, enable the settlers to govern minority communities, and allow the settlers to occupy effectively the newly conquered lands. Though the American Urban systems created during the sixteenth century included different types of cities – such as pre-Hispanic hubs, ports, vice regal courts, and mining cities, in every situation, municipal governments prioritized the links between town and country taking advantage of previous experience in Medieval Castile. This article focuses on late medieval Castilian urban experience and its application to the Americas to advance the study of urban behavior at the beginnings of the modern age. In the process, the article calls for a re-periodization of Spanish and Spanish American history by demonstrating the continuity between two chronological periods that have long been divided by the watershed events of 1492. The article also compares aspects of urban systems in both Spain and America during sixteenth century in order to identify reciprocal influences and thereby underscore transatlantic connections.

Introduction: Special Issue on Iberia in Entangled and Transnational Contexts

Bienvenido, Mickey Mouse!?: Hopes for a Magic Kingdom in Post-Franco Spain

Who doesn’t love Mickey Mouse? Apparently, not the French in the 1980s, as they actively fought to keep the mouse and his friends out of France. Many Spaniards, on the other hand, were quite eager to lure the Magic Kingdom to their country. What accounts for the difference? It appears as though Spain did not suffer from the same kind of cultural insecurity and anxieties that plagued other European nations during this period. Instead, many Spaniards apparently welcomed American investment, business know-how, and cultural products, including a Disney theme park, with open arms. In these cases, it seems that they were comfortably willing to accept American cultural products to serve their own ends, namely economic development, international prestige, and a feeling of full European integration. However, at the same time, there was a certain degree of anti-Americanism in Spain, often as a result of Cold War politics. Debates surrounding the NATO referendum and the presence of American military bases, and nuclear weapons in particular, did provoke anti-American sentiment during this period. Spain’s attempt to lure Disneyland to the Iberian Peninsula demonstrates that not all European countries in the postwar period have embraced (or rejected) American culture influence in the same way, to the same degree, and for the same reasons.