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The Iberian Atlantic, 1492–2012

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Chapter Summary

The Iberian Atlantic has a birth date. A perusal of the historical literature would suggest that the Iberian Atlantic has also a clear end. The circa 1500-1800 periodisation has two significant rationales. One is its association with early-modernity. The second rationale rests on the timing of European imperialism in the Americas and is equally valid despite the persistence of colonial rule in various specific areas of the Western Hemisphere. The density and breadth of the Iberian cultural influence in the Americas had two important consequences. One was that it made the Iberian Atlantic during the colonial period a socio-cultural space rather than simply a section of two empires, or of one during the union of the Spanish and Portuguese Crowns (1580-1640). The other is that it enabled the continuity of the Iberian Atlantic as a socio-cultural space long after it had ceased to exist as a political unit.

Keywords: early-modernity; European imperialism; Iberian Atlantic; socio-cultural space; Western Hemisphere



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