J. H. Elliott is Regius Professor Emeritus of Modern ­History at Oxford. His books include Empires of the Atlantic World: ­Britain and Spain in America, 1492–1830 and, most ­recently, Scots and Catalans: Union and Disunion.
 (November 2019)


The Silver Rush

The Cerro Rico (Rich Hill) and the city of Potosí, in what is now Bolivia; painting by Gaspar Miguel Berrio, 1758

Potosí: The Silver City That Changed the World

by Kris Lane
In July 1964, after spending a night in the Bolivian city of Oruro, my wife and I caught a ramshackle bus in the early morning for the mining city of Potosí, some 13,000 feet above sea level in the Andes. We ascended at a snail’s pace until, some twenty miles …

Spain’s America

José de Páez: The Destruction of the Saint Sabá Mission in the Province of Texas and the Martyrdom of the Priests, Fray Alonso Giraldo de Terreros and Fray José de Santiesteban, circa 1758

América: The Epic Story of Spanish North America, 1493–1898

by Robert Goodwin

El Norte: The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America

by Carrie Gibson
In the grand epic of American history, the English were latecomers. The failed colony of 1587 on Roanoke Island, off the North Carolina coast, was followed by the founding of two initially precarious settlements, Jamestown in 1607 and Plymouth Colony, far to the north, in 1620. By that date, over …

Portugal’s Empire: Ruthless and Intermingling

Staff with finial of female figure nursing child, Kongo peoples, Yombe group, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, or Cabinda, Angola, nineteenth–early twentieth century

Conquerors: How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire

by Roger Crowley

The Global City: On the Streets of Renaissance Lisbon

edited by Annemarie Jordan Gschwend and K.J.P. Lowe
Let us hear no more…of Ulysses and Aeneas and their long journeyings, no more of Alexander and Trajan and their famous victories. My theme is the daring and renown of the Portuguese, to whom Neptune and Mars alike give homage. The words are those of Portugal’s national poet, Luís de …

Mexicans, Spaniards, Incas, and Their Art

Anonymous Cuzco artist: Virgin of Cocharcas, circa 1730–1750

Imperialism and the Origins of Mexican Culture

by Colin M. MacLachlan

Painting in Latin America, 1550–1820

edited by Luisa Elena Alcalá and Jonathan Brown
On August 10, 1519, five ships, under the command of Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese captain in Spanish service, set out from Seville on an epic voyage that would end on September 6, 1522, when the Victoria, with eighteen survivors on board, limped back into Seville, having circumnavigated the globe. Meanwhile …

The Huge, Ignored Uprising in the Andes

Tupac Amaru II, the late-eighteenth-century leader of the Peruvian rebellion against the Spanish crown

The Tupac Amaru Rebellion

by Charles F. Walker
Between 1780 and 1782, when the rebellion of the British colonists in North America was reaching its climax, a still more savage drama was being played out in South America. The Andes were in revolt, and Spain, like Britain, was faced with the prospect of losing one of its most …

Queens Against the Flow

Catherine of Aragon after the death of her first husband, Prince Arthur, in 1502 and before her marriage to Henry VIII in 1509; painting by Michiel Sittow, circa 1503–1505

Catherine of Aragon: The Spanish Queen of Henry VIII

by Giles Tremlett

Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen

by Anna Whitelock
“Some characters appear to triumph with history; some to be overwhelmed by it.” It was with these words that Garrett Mattingly, the American historian of early modern European diplomacy whose book on the defeat of the Spanish Armada brought him international fame, began his classic biography of Catherine of Aragon, …

How They Made the Empire

Siblings John and Betty Johnstone with their grandniece Margaret Wedderburn; painting by Henry Raeburn, circa 1790–1795

The Inner Life of Empires: An Eighteenth-Century History

by Emma Rothschild
In 1763 an impecunious Scottish naval officer, George Johnstone, who had served in the Seven Years’ War with a conspicuous lack of success, was appointed governor of the new British colony of West Florida, which had been ceded to Great Britain by Spain in the peace settlement of that year.

The Very Violent Road to America

Thomas Paine with a scroll of The Rights of Man, 1792

Before the Revolution: America's Ancient Pasts

by Daniel K. Richter
The greatest discovery made by the United States in the twentieth century was the discovery of its own diversity. If E pluribus unum remains, in its widest sense, an abiding aspiration, the country has been brought face to face with the fact that it contains within its borders a multiplicity of ethnicities and ethnic inheritances that the Founding Fathers could never have envisaged. In seeking to secure their own place in the sun, the different ethnic groups of which today’s United States is composed have also sought to claim their share of the past. Historians have responded by attempting to incorporate their stories into the traditional grand narrative and, in doing so, have broken it wide open.