A Nation upon the Ocean Sea: Portugals Atlantic Diaspora and the Crisis of the Spanish Empire, 1492…

Paperback | December 15, 2006

byDaviken Studnicki-Gizbert

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With the opening of sea routes in the fifteenth century, groups of men and women left Portugal to establish themselves across the ports and cities of the Atlantic or Ocean Sea. They were refugees and migrants, traders and mariners, Jews, Catholics, and the Marranos of mixed Judaic-Catholicculture. They formed a diasporic community known by contemporaries as the Portuguese Nation. By the early seventeenth century, this nation without a state had created a remarkable trading network that spanned the Atlantic, reached into the Indian Ocean and Asia, and generated millions of pesosthat were used to bankroll the Spanish empire. A Nation Upon The Ocean Sea traces the story of the Portuguese Nation from its emergence in the late fifteenth century to its fragmentation in the middle of the seventeenth and situates it in relation to the parallel expansion and crisis of Spanishimperial dominion in the Atlantic. Against the backdrop of this relationship, the book reconstitutes the rich inner life of a community based on movement, maritime trade, and cultural hybridity. We are introduced to mariners and traders in such disparate places as Lima, Seville and Amsterdam, theirday-to-day interactions and understandings, their houses and domestic relations, their private reflections and public arguments.This finely-textured account reveals how the Portuguese Nation created a cohesive and meaningful community despite the mobility and dispersion of its members; how its forms of sociability fed into the development of robust transatlantic commercial networks; and how the day-to-day experience of tradewas translated into the sphere of Spanish imperial politics as merchants of the Portuguese Nation took up the pen to advocate a program of commercial reform based on religious-ethnic toleration and the liberalization of trade.A microhistory, A Nation Upon The Ocean Sea contributes to our understanding of the broader histories of capitalism, empire, and diaspora in the early Atlantic.

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With the opening of sea routes in the fifteenth century, groups of men and women left Portugal to establish themselves across the ports and cities of the Atlantic or Ocean Sea. They were refugees and migrants, traders and mariners, Jews, Catholics, and the Marranos of mixed Judaic-Catholicculture. They formed a diasporic community know...

Daviken Studnicki-Gizbert is Assistant Professor of History at McGill University.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 6.1 × 9.09 × 0.79 inPublished:December 15, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195175697

ISBN - 13:9780195175691

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Customer Reviews of A Nation upon the Ocean Sea: Portugals Atlantic Diaspora and the Crisis of the Spanish Empire, 1492-1640

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Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting Foray into an Unchartered Topic The book presents an overview of the role that Portuguese New Christians (Jews) had over the Atlantic economy under the Spanish Empire. Fleeing from religious zeal in the Iberian Peninsula, this merchant class used their bases in Africa, Europe and the Americas to provide a preceder to today's globalized world. Eventually, Spain offered a hostile climate and these merchants drifted towards other European empires. The tale ends with the year 1640 when Portugal reclaimed its independence and Spain nearly imploded with secessionist movements in Catalonia and Andaluzia. Aside from the dull academic prose and repetition is the lack of analysis on whether these New Christians helped Spain or were merely in it for themselves. As well, the author should have done more research to present how Portugal saw it's role within the Hapsburg sphere. A good start for a topic that merits more discussion but not intended for the layperson. Strictly for Iberian and Sephardic history aficonados.
Date published: 2010-01-09

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Editorial Reviews

"The significance of Studnicki-Gizbert's important study lies in his determination to assess the Portuguese holistically, as a nation, and in so doing to reveal the complexity of their identity, and through them of many other denizens of the emerging Atlantic world of the seventeenth century." --Itinerario