The Spanish empire in America was the first of the great seaborne empires of western Europe; it was for long the richest and the most formidable, the focus of envy, fear, and hatred. Its haphazard beginning dates from 1492; it was to last more than three hundred years before breaking up in the early nineteenth century in civil wars between rival generals and 'liberators'. Available now for the first time in paperback is J.H. Parry's classic assessment of the impact of Spain on the Americas. Parry presents a broad picture of the conquests of Cortes and Pizarro and of the economic and social consequences in Spain of the effort to maintain control of vast holdings. He probes the complex administration of the empire, its economy, social structure, the influence of the Church, the destruction of the Indian cultures and the effect of their decline on Spanish policy. As we approach the quincentenary of Columbus' arrival in the Americas, Parry provides the historical basis for a new consideration of the former Spanish colonies of Latin America and the transformation of pre-Columbian cultures to colonial states.
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"J. H. Parry is a meticulous scholar, and brings a wealth of information to bear. . . . He tells the long, complex story with admirable balance."--John A. Crow, "Saturday ReviewAbout the Author:
J. H. Parry (1914-1984) was educated at Cambridge and Harvard, taught at the University of the West Indies, the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and the University of Wales. He was appointed Gardiner Professor of Oceanic History and Affairs at Harvard University in 1965. Among his many books are The Age of Reconnaissance and The Age of Discovery (California).
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