J.H. Elliott

J.H. Elliott, Regius Professor Emeritus of Modern History at Oxford, is the author of Empires of the Atlantic World: Britain and Spain in America, 1492-1830 and Spain, Europe and the Wider World, 1500-1800, among other books.

Here Be Fog: Mapping the American West

J.H. Elliott, 23 February 2012

Has heaven reserv’d, in pity to the poor. No pathless waste, or undiscover’d shore; No secret island in the boundless main? No peaceful desart yet unclaim’d by Spain?

The answer to the question posed in these lines quoted by Paul Mapp in The Elusive West and the Contest for Empire turned out to be a resounding yes. In 1738, when Dr Johnson wrote his poem, some two-thirds of...

David Abulafia ends his engaging survey of the first encounters between Europeans and the indigenous peoples of the New World with the words of the prophet Malachi: ‘Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us?’ This question, with its corollary, ‘Why do we deal treacherously, every man against his brother, profaning the covenant of our forefathers?’ looms...

Drowning in the Danube

J.H. Elliott, 24 March 1994

Outside his native Bologna, the name of Count Luigi Ferdinando Marsigli, soldier of fortune and Fellow of the Royal Society, must by now be almost unknown. Born in 1658, and surviving until 1730, he made something of a stir in his lifetime, and was the subject of two 18th-century biographies. Since then, he has not exactly been the focus of historical attention, although his memoirs were published in 1930 from an 18th-century manuscript copy. But now he has been somewhat improbably restored to life, with all his failings and foibles, by the magic touch of a sympathetic but far from uncritical biographer, John Stoye.

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...

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From the Fifties to the Seventies, historians of early modern Europe were tempted to search for general regularities with which to order the past, if not quite to explain it. Examples are the...

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Peter Burke, 21 May 1987

Historians are always claiming that their particular topic of research has been unjustly neglected by their predecessors. The claim, usually exaggerated, occasionally turns out to have some...

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Masters or Servants

Conrad Russell, 5 July 1984

Cardinal Richelieu’s sister did not dare sit down, because she believed she was made of glass. Facts such as this cry out for psychological explanation, and an attempt to provide it has...

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