Recreating ‘Reconquista’ in Family Histories in Seventeenth-Century New Spain

Recreating ‘Reconquista’ in Family Histories in Seventeenth-Century New Spain
24 Oct 2017, 17:30 to 24 Oct 2017, 19:15
IHR Peter Marshall Room, N204, Second Floor, IHR, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Karoline Cook, Royal Holloway

During the mid-seventeenth century, some prominent families in New Spain crafted detailed genealogies that traced their ancestors’ deeds to Christian battles against Muslim forces in Iberia during the tenth and eleventh centuries. Their family histories also incorporated accounts of the conquest of Mexico, placing medieval Iberian conflicts alongside New World conquests. These sources suggest that seventeenth-century Spaniards born in the Americas actively created and maintained connections to peninsular pasts through the production of genealogies and histories. Growing preoccupation with lineage across the Spanish world perpetuated memories of the Reconquest, and informed subsequent interactions between Christians and Muslims, and Spaniards and indigenous peoples. My paper explores how memory and local interpretations of ‘conquista’ and ‘Reconquista’ transformed relationships in Spanish America as local competitions over status placed increasing importance on lineages, despite the challenges of tracing these in a transatlantic setting.


Karoline Cook (Ph.D. Princeton 2008) is an historian of Iberian Atlantic history. Both her research and teaching interests explore the interconnections between Atlantic and Mediterranean worlds. Her research focuses on Moriscos and the Spanish Empire, and the intersection between religious identity, race, and nation in the creation and negotiation of ethnic categories. Her book, Forbidden Passages: Muslims and Moriscos in Colonial Spanish America was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2016. She currently holds the position of Lecturer in the History of the Atlantic World at Royal Holloway, University of London.


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