Anthony Pagden

Anthony Pagden teaches at UCLA. His most recent books are La ilustración y sus enemigos and, as editor, The Idea of Europe: From Antiquity to the European Union.

Best at Imitation: Spain v. England

Anthony Pagden, 2 November 2006

At the beginning of the 17th century, the combined Spanish and Portuguese Empires – from 1580 until 1640 they were under one ruler and known collectively as the ‘Catholic monarchy’ – included, beyond the Iberian peninsula, Italy, the Netherlands, parts of southern France, the whole of America from California to Tierra del Fuego, the shores of West Africa, the...

A new history of empire, no longer either triumphalist or cast in the shades of black and white favoured by the post-colonialists, is beginning to be written. It assumes that the metropolis and the colonies were not self-contained realms (as the older ‘imperial history’ often assumed); it recognises that empires were made and ruled by individuals with often very different, even...

At its height, roughly between 1556 and 1640, the Empire of the kings of Spain stretched from the Philippines to the shores of the North Sea. The 19th-century Russian Empire covered more territory and the British had a larger population, but no other European empire was spread so widely or embraced so many different peoples. This behemoth has conventionally been called the Spanish Empire. At...

Oak in a Flowerpot: When Britons were slaves

Anthony Pagden, 14 November 2002

Tangier, 1684. A motley group of soldiers scrambles over the ruins of a town, burying beneath the rubble newly minted coins that bear the image of Charles II. This least remembered of the outposts of the fledgling British Empire is nearing its end. For more than a decade it had been a thriving commercial port, in which Charles, who had acquired it in 1661 when he married Catherine of...


Anthony Pagden, 13 June 1991

Mexico, Mexicans sometimes say, is too far from God and too close to the United States of America. The same could be said of the whole of Latin America. Ever since the declaration of the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, a piece of political effrontery which sought to deny a role in the affairs of the hemisphere to any extra-continental power, most North American administrations have looked on the entire Southern continent as their ‘backyard’. But, as Reagan’s near maniacal obsession with El Salvador and Nicaragua makes plain, their special interest has always been reserved for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, the areas discussed in this, the latest stage in Leslie Bethell’s collective attempt to capture ‘Latin America’s unique historical experience’.

Double Doctrine: The Enlightenment

Colin Kidd, 5 December 2013

In the course of 15 years teaching history at the University of Glasgow, with between a hundred and fifty and two hundred students in my classes, I inevitably received a few complaints. Some have...

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Clashes and Collaborations

Linda Colley, 18 July 1996

How should historians write about empire? Or, if you prefer, the imperial enterprise? The task is made difficult in part because many people still find it easy to confuse academic concentration...

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America first

Felipe Fernández-Armesto, 7 January 1993

‘See America first’: the old tourist-office advertising slogan made it sound easy. The most famous moment in the history of exploration, however, is also one of the most baffling. In...

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Benedict Anderson, 21 January 1988

New York, Nueva Leon, Nouvelle Orléans, Nova Lisboa and Nieuw Amsterdam – already in the 16th century, Western Europeans had begun the strange habit of naming remote places in the...

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The Moral Life of Barbarians

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 18 August 1983

Spain was in doubt about its new dominion in the Antilles. In 1493, the Pope Alexander VI had granted Ferdinand and Isabel the right to conquer and also to enslave the inhabitants of the islands....

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