- John Newsome Crossley, Monash University, Australia
Whilst much scholarly work has been focused on Spain's American colonies, much less is known about Spanish colonization of the Pacific. As such, this book fills an important gap in our knowledge, directing attention both to Spain's wider imperial ambitions, and the specific situation within the Philippines. By structuring the book around the life of Hernando de los Ríos Coronel, many overlapping and complex threads are drawn out that cast light upon a diverse range of subjects.
Soldier, priest, diplomat, explorer, naval pilot and scientist, de los Ríos was a fascinating figure who played a pivotal role in Spanish efforts to establish a thriving colony in the Philippines. In 1588, at the age of 29 he was sent to the Philippines as a soldier, and once there quickly established himself as a pillar of society, ultimately becoming a priest. Over 36 years, until his death sometime before the end of January 1624, he shuttled between the Philippines and Spain, in his role as Procurator General - the sole representative of the Philippines (both Spaniards and Indigenes) at the Spanish Court.
As well as telling the story of an extraordinary individual, this book provides a fascinating introduction to the early history of the Spanish Philippines. By touching upon a broad range of topics, it also opens up numerous avenues for further research.
Contents: Preface; Manila, 24 August 1617; A colony too far; From Spain to the Philippines; Three times a captain; The first return to Spain; The delayed return to the Philippines; The library of the University of Santo Tomas; Back to Spain once more; The end of de los Ríos; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.
About the Author: John Newsome Crossley is Emeritus Professor at Monash University, Australia
Reviews: 'It is simply the best general introduction to the early history of the Spanish Philippines available and also one of the best and most vivid English-language contributions to the history of the age of exploration.' International Journal of Maritime History
'I strongly recommend this exemplary, first full-length study of Hernando de los Ríos Coronel, whom John Crossley proves was highly important to the early history of his adopted community, and thus rescues from oblivion.' Parergon
'Until recently, there has been very little academic attention paid to early Spanish activity in the Pacific in general and even less focusing specifically on the Philippines, despite its long and influential history. This is thus an important book which will no doubt find an honored place in the starved corpus of works focusing on the Spanish Philippines in the Siglo de Oro.' Terrae Incognitae
'Availing himself of the more than two hundred documents related to the religious, political, and scientific activities of de los Ríos Coronel located in the Archivo General de las Indias, de los Ríos Coronel’s derroteros or sea logs of his various sea voyages and experiences, and his 1621 Memorial, Crossley’s account is part biography, part travel narrative, as he tracks the life and activities of Hernando de los Ríos Coronel from Spain to the Philippines and back again several times.' Sixteenth Century Journal
'… his narrative helps the reader to imagine what the world, Empire, and colony must have looked like on a very human level. Things that are often downplayed in non-biographical history texts - e.g. Manila’s weather patterns, the long and difficult journey to the islands, and personal friendships and rivalries - are seamlessly braided into the story of the colony alongside the more obvious subjects of Chinese revolts, the exploitation of indigenous peoples, the foundation of religious schools, etc … Crossley’s approach, analysis and attention to detail prove him to be an impressive historian of the Philippines and biographer for De los Rios. Bulletin of Spanish Studies
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