Virtual symposium hosted by the University of Manchester
Thursday 4 March 2021 – Saturday 6 March 2021.

All times indicated are UK time (GMT)

Thursday 4 March 2021

16.00-16.15       Opening Remarks

Francisco A. Eissa-Barroso (University of Manchester)

16.15-17.15       Enslaved Mobilities

Bethan Fisk (University of Edinburgh), ‘“Considering himself free”: Inter-Imperial Mobilities and Religious Knowledge Circulation in the early eighteenth-century Caribbean’

This talk examines the quotidian circulation of religious knowledge through ongoing enslaved mobilities in the early modern world via labour in the slave trade. The author examines the slave ship, the port city, and rural spaces along the Caribbean coast of the New Kingdom of Granada as interstitial sites of epistemological creation and circulation. Complementing the literature on inter-Caribbean Spanish ‘religious sanctuary’ policy, which has tended to focus on maritime marronage from ‘foreign colonies,’ the piece offers a close reading of the trajectories, strategies, and ideas of two enslaved men who had laboured on slave ships and sought to achieve freedom by baptism and conversion and found themselves before the tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition of Cartagena de Indias in the late 1710s. Curacao-born Nicholas Baptista, initially with a Dutch enslaver, fled the slave ship where he worked close to Cartagena, and in time found himself falsely enslaved and baptised in a small rural parish. After multiple journeys across Caribbean New Granada, Baptista, “having come to believe in God and considering himself free,” baptised himself as a free man and was eventually denounced to the Inquisition for receiving the sacrament twice. By contrast, Juan de Rada, born in the Portuguese East Indies and captured by an Englishman, spontaneously appeared before the Inquisition while the slave ship that he laboured on while in port in Cartagena and requested “an audience to say that I wanted to be a Catholic, [and] live and die in the Catholic Religion.” Made possible by ongoing inter-imperial and transoceanic epistemological mobilities, these cases highlight how enslaved people made use of the openings that baptism offered to create liminal freedoms, while offering their own interpretations of the meanings of conversion.

Èrika Rincones (European University Institute), ‘Sequential Mobility: Merdia ben Hazman’s Case’

In 1703 Juan de Junterones bought in Murcia a Christian slave, María de la Cruz, a single woman who was previously owned by Francisco Salinas in Madrid, baptized in Jumilla, and first, she was a free married Muslim woman in Oran called Merdia ben Hazman. This is a case that represent a geographical and multistaged mobility within the Hispanic Monarchy, and also social, legal and religious changes. To better understand this case, it is necessary to keep in mind that, despite moriscos’s expultion, there were Muslims communities settled in Spain in the 17th and 18th centuries. Merdia was Muza ben Brahin’s second wife. When he was in financial need he asked for a loan, putting Merdia as a collateral. Muza, along with his first wife, Halima, became Christian, went to Spain, and left Merdia as a slave for that debt. Merdia looked for a solution: Francisco Salinas bought her debits with the requirement she would become Christian and she became his slave until she could pay him back. In that situation, she could obtaind a permission to go to Spain. Finally, since her husband became a married christian, she was considered as a single woman. When did Merdia’s mobility start? Each mobility case, of all kinds, generates a potential impulse of movement that, directly or indirectly, affects many individuals in different social contexts, space and time. Whether that impulse turned into something concrete depends on variuos social and personal factors. In this case, when Muza decided to abandon Merdia, she turned to who can support her: Moors defender, Oran authorities, different citizens…, starting then a sequence of changes that helped her to adapt and survive.

17.15-17.30       Break

17.30-18.30       Challenges of Assimilation

Cecilia Tarruell (Oriel College, University of Oxford), ‘Mobility and Religious Conversion in the Early Modern Iberian World: The Assimilation of Migrants from Islamic Lands’

This paper examines the interplay between mobility and religious conversion in the early modern Iberian world. In particular, it focuses on voluntary migration flows from Islamic to Christian lands during the late 16th and early 17th centuries through an analysis of the settlement of Muslims, Jews and Eastern Christians in the dominions of the Spanish Empire, most of whom converted to Catholicism as part of the process of migration. Traditionally, when scholarship has focused on the presence of Muslims in early modern Christian Europe, it has done so through the prism of slavery. Attention has also been paid to cases of foreign Jews or Muslims present only in a transient way owing to diplomatic and mercantile exchanges. In contrast, the voluntary arrival and long-term settlement of subjects of the Ottoman sultan, the Safavid shah and the Moroccan sharif within Christendom—and in particular, within the Iberian dominions—remains an understudied area of research. This paper will look at the motivations and circumstances that contributed to these littleknown migration flows from Islamic to Christian lands. It will explore the reasons why Islamic migrants chose to settle down in the Spanish Empire at a time when it was renowned for its persecution of the converted descendants of the Iberian Jews (Conversos) and Muslims (Moriscos), and its monarchs championed the causes of the Counter-Reformation. More importantly, it will reflect on the patterns of mobility and the life trajectories of these individuals, and the challenges that historians face when grappling with how to reconstruct and make sense of these mobile careers.

Natalie Zacek (University of Manchester), ‘Creoligarchs: Being West Indian in Georgian London’

This paper examines the sizable community of absentee plantation owners from Jamaica and other British West Indian colonies which developed in London during the second half of the eighteenth century. As one historian claimed, these white “Creoles” were “the most conspicuous rich men [and women] of their time,” and as such they attracted considerable attention, much of it negative, from their fellow Londoners. In the houses of Parliament, in venues of aristocratic sociability, on the stage, and in newspapers and belles lettres, people who had been born and raised in the West Indies and who had relocated to London to enjoy spending the wealth generated by enslaved labour were depicted as, at best, gauche nouveaux riches, and at worst threats to the nation’s primary moral, political, cultural, and economic values. Nonetheless, members of this group not only relished the opportunities for consumerism and sociability with which residence in the “Capital of America” presented them, but soon succeeded in winning parliamentary seats, and thus political influence, marrying into the highest ranks of the aristocracy, and reshaping the city’s fabric in both the fashionable new suburbs to the west and the expanding docklands of the east, even as abolitionism shifted from a fringe movement to a popular crusade. In analysing the nature, activities, and aims of a cohesive group of people who were simultaneously English and foreign as they attempted to transform themselves from colonials to metropolitans, this paper responds to the symposium’s interest in the social dimension of trajectories of mobility in the early modern world, engaging as it does with the ways in which these “Creoles” navigated old and new communities and networks as they attempted to transform themselves into Londoners and English[wo]men.

Friday 5 March 2021

16.00-17.00       Family and Mobility

Katherine Godfrey (Pennsylvania State University), ‘House of Trade: Mestizo Children, Merchant Networks, and Empire Building in Early Modern Colombia’

Over the course of the 16th and early-17th centuries, dozens—if not hundreds—of mestizo, or mixed-race, children and adolescents journeyed to and from the Iberian Peninsula from Spain’s American territories. A significant number of them hailed from northern South America—a region which, during the first half of the colonial period, experienced a surge in population movement as disease and Indigenous enslavement swept through the corridor that connected the viceroyalties of New Spain and Peru. Born from the often-violent encounters between Indigenous and European peoples, mestizo children facilitated the forging of merchant networks both in the service of their Spanish fathers as well as other non-related, legal guardians. These children—and in particular male youths—assisted their stewards during terrestrial and transatlantic travel, and in the process, became familiar with trading practices, kinship networks that spanned vast distances, and the crucial recognition that having access to the monarch’s ear held immeasurable worth. Yet despite their ongoing mobility and presence, few scholars have paid serious attention to their immense cultural, political, and economic worth as empire-building participants. This paper seeks to correct this historiographic omission, especially as it concerns networks created between the New Kingdom of Granada, the Gobernación de Popayán (jurisdictions that comprise present-day Colombia), and Spain. Documents culled from Colombian and Spanish archives, and in particular travel licenses from the Casa de la Contratación in Seville, Spain, provide rich and often harrowing accounts of the multidirectional movements of mestizo children. Pressed into a peripatetic life at the behest of Spanish fathers and the pulse of the Carrera de Indias fleet system, I contend that mestizo children, while perhaps small in physical and legal stature, were crucial, human components in the building of empire.

Jesse Cromwell (University of Mississippi), ‘Canarian Migration, Immigrant Uplift, and the Complications of Transatlantic Marriage in the Saga of Domingo Galdona’

In 1759, at the age of eighteen, Domingo Galdona left Tenerife in the Canary Islands to make his fortune in Venezuela.  Bourbon reformers encouraged impoverished Canary Islanders to repopulate and cultivate peripheral locales of the empire throughout the eighteenth century.  Galdona did just that, settling in Cumaná and accumulating a handsome cacao plantation and several enslaved laborers by his hard work.  This rags-to-riches story was complicated thirteen years later when Galdona’s wife, Antonia Guerra y Baute, filed a suit with colonial administrators demanding that he return to married life with her and their daughter in Tenerife or bring them to Cumaná.  Guerra y Baute’s suit accused Galdona of bigamy, smuggling, domestic abuse, faking his own death, and abandonment.  What unfolded between 1769 and 1775 was a conflictive, transatlantic back-and-forth between spouses and royal authorities that brought to the fore issues of early modern marital and paternal obligations, domestic abuse, transoceanic communications, upward mobility, and morality.  Domingo and Antonia’s case was also a story about immigration and the state.  In some ways, Domingo Galdona represented the ideal settler.  His troubles with the legal apparatus of empire, however, demonstrated how migration complicated bedrock principles of civil society in the Iberian world.  Crossing the ocean to improve one’s fortunes often masked escape.  Glitches in sending word or remittances to loved ones looked a lot like abandonment.  The patient vigil for a spouse’s return lent dignity to naked acts of survival.  The frustrating ambiguities of Domingo and Antonia’s case reveal that when imperial mobility forced personal matters into the public sphere, individuals’ true desires often contradicted their initial testimonies and their prescribed societal obligations.

17.00-17.15       Break

17.15-18.45       Royal Officials, High and Low

Nino Vallen (Freie Universität Berlin), ‘Ongoing Mobilities and the Deserving Self: The Case of Don Rodrigo de Vivero’

Few seventeenth-century creoles lived a life as mobile as don Rodrigo de Vivero y Aberruza. Born in Tecamachalco (Puebla) in 1564, he was sent to the Spanish court at the age of twelve, where he would join the army under the command of the Duke of Alva that occupied Lisbon. In 1581, he returned to New Spain. During the following three decades, he fought against the Chichimeca in New Mexico and against English pirates in Acapulco, served as interim governor in Manila and spent a year in Japan after having shipwrecked on its coasts. After another stay in Spain, he accepted an appointment as governor in Panama in 1620, where he stayed until 1627 before returning to New Spain, where he accepted another office in Veracruz. Although the trajectories of Vivero’s journeys had undoubtedly been determined by unexpected circumstances, they did nonetheless resemble the routes taken by other ambitious imperial agents at the time. Such mobility played a crucial role in the identity that Vivero and these other men fashioned for themselves. In his interactions with the crown, Vivero produced a self-image that tied his worthiness of the king’s favor to his mobility. Yet, as he rose to the highest ranks of the viceregal society his ideas about the desirability of such a mobile world drastically changed. Briefly before his death, he wrote an extensive reflection on the state of the empire in which he advocated for a reduction of all mobility, so as to ensure that New Spain’s benefits could be granted to its true meritorious: the descendants of the conquistadores. This paper takes up the case of don Rodrigo de Vivero to explore how the relationship between mobility and the distribution of royal grace and favor not only affected mobilities within the Spanish empire but the identities of both mobile and the immobile in the Spanish distributive apparatus as well.

Adolfo Polo y La Borda (Universidad de los Andes), ‘Sebastián Hurtado de Corcuera: An Official Serving across the Global Spanish Empire’

In this presentation I would explore the life trajectory of Sebastián Hurtado de Corcuera (1587-1660). This Spanish official never settled permanently and instead dedicated his life to serving His Majesty around the world, moving not only across geographical boundaries but also linking and moving within distinct networks of patronage. I argue that this kind of mobility was essential for the ruling of the far-flung empire. In this opportunity, I would highlight some of the social, familial, and political structures that allowed for this official’s mobility, as well as the consequences of his nomadic life. Also, I would like to share the draft of the StoryMap that I am currently developing to tell the biography of this fascinating character graphically. Born to a Basque family of low-strata hidalgos, Sebastián soon joined his brothers in the war in the Low Countries. There, his military skills shined, particularly in the famous siege of Breda, and catapulted him into the upper imperial networks of service and patronage. The king granted him a habit of Calatrava and sent him to the port of Callao (1627), where his successful and polemical career as a royal official took off. After a brief stay in Panama (1633-1635), Hurtado de Corcuera was appointed governor of the Philippines (1635-1644). Scholars have deemed his governorship one of the most important and polemical of that century. He is most famous for blocking the Manilla Galleon for two years, defeating the neighboring Muslim kingdoms, and brutally clashing the revolt of the Sangleys, the Chinese that had settled on the island, with an estimated toll of 20,000 deaths! In the Asian archipelago, he relied on a dense and diverse patronage network—including from the Jesuits to Sangley chiefs—and antagonized many local authorities, mainly the bishop and the cabildo. His term ended bitterly. His successor, Diego de Fajardo, conducted an extremely harsh residencia and locked him in jail for over five years. He eventually regained his freedom and returned to Spain, where he successfully lobbied to get his status restituted by the Council of Indies. Indeed, because of his great experience, he became one of the king’s favorite officials. Philip IV personally choose him to serve in several delicate missions: to pacify the city of Córdoba after the 1650 revolt, to organize the military defense of Asturias, and to govern Sanlúcar de Barrameda, that critical Atlantic port. Finally, in December 1659, he accepted the government of the Canary Islands, where he died some months after his arrival. Throughout these years, Hurtado de Corcuera never lost touch with his family and homeland. He sponsored the elaboration of a beautiful altarpiece in his mother’s hometown. Moreover, he heavily relied on his brother Íñigo and his uncle, the count of Corzana, who represented him at the royal court. This case foregrounds how familial and imperial networks and interests interwove in the early modern Spanish Empire.

Víctor Gayol (El Colegio de Michoacán), ‘Movilidad, familia y redes de los oficiales del rey en el gobierno local’

Las breves biografías de un puñado de peninsulares que llegaron a ser oficiales del gobierno local de la jurisdicción de Tulancingo, entre 1780 y 1805, permiten descubrir ciertos modelos de movilidad y asentamiento de estos individuos, inmersos en redes familiares, de poder político y económico, que se extendían a lo largo y ancho de la monarquía. Se analizan los casos de un alcalde mayor, un subdelegado y un administrador de alcabalas.

Saturday 6 March 2021

15.30-16.30       Bidirectional Atlantic Mobilities

Valentina Favarò (Università degli Studi di Palermo), ‘Transnational Careers and Mobility in the Spanish Monarchy: Carmine Nicola Caracciolo between Italy, Spain and the New World’

En los últimos años, los estudios sobre las carreras transnacionales de los ministros de la Monarquía española se han impuesto en el debate historiográfico. Lejos de devolver datos exclusivamente prosopográficos, las carreras políticas toman la función de puntos de observación para comprender el funcionamiento de la Monarquía, en su articulación territorial. En el marco de esta línea de investigación, esta presentación pretende introducir un caso de estudio, considerado particularmente funcional para conectar dos espacios geográficos distantes, el Mediterráneo y las Indias Occidentales, y reflexionar sobre la importancia de la circulación de los hombres, del conocimiento y las prácticas gubernamentales. En este sentido, el estudio de la trayectoria política de Carmine Nicola Caracciolo, príncipe napolitano y virrey del Perú entre el 1716 y el 1721, permite abordar algunas cuestiones que considero de particular interés: ¿cuán importante fue la experiencia vivida en el contexto europeo – entre la península italiana y la ibérica – para el ejercicio del oficio de virrey en el Perú? ¿Cuánto la red de poder construida por Caracciolo ha influido en la definición del equilibrio de poder, tanto en Europa como en Perú?¿Cuáles fueron los interlocutores del virrey, tanto a nivel local como en la corte de Madrid, en una situación de cambio, al paso del trono de Carlos II a Felipe V?

Gibran Bautista y Lugo (Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas – Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), ‘Stations of a Spanish American Agenda: Itineraries, Ties and Knowledge in Antonio Rubio, Inca Garcilaso and Juan Ruiz de Alarcón’

This contribution approaches the footprints of three Americans in their extended stays in various European cities. By studying their links, the goal is to examine the urban configurations that allowed Rubio, Inca Garcilaso and Ruiz de Alarcón insertions in various extra-American spaces with convergent periodicities. Even though the history of literature and philosophy has recovered them as exceptional examples of Americans in Europe, their itineraries can only be explained based on the complexity of the American and European ties that allowed them to travel and settle in Rome, Lisbon, Alcalá de Henares or Madrid. Their knowledge, the fruit of a profound reflection on the Spanish American experience, only gained clarity and singularity in the contrast of their extended European stays. The crossing of their ties and knowledge determined the contingency, uncertainty and multipolarity of their trajectories. Thus, in their quest to achieve royal grace, intellectual recognition or more significant benefits for their families and corporations, the drawing of their itineraries was drawn on the mesh of continuous American mobility that filled the Mediterranean circuits and placed their knowledge in the scene of the literary, philosophical and moral reflections of the European capitals. The study will evaluate the extent to similar patterns intersected the three cases and whether the ties that determined their movements constituted parts of the same non-linear plot.

16.30-16.45       Break

16.45-17.45       Written Ongoing Mobilities

María Victoria Marquez (Universidad Nacional de Córdoba), ‘The Autobiographic Account of Miguel de Learte: Transatlantic Migration and Mercantile Subjectivity in the Eighteenth Century’

Fracasos de la fortuna is the title of Miguel de Learte Zegama’s autobiography (born around 1731 in Sangüesa, Navarre), who in the 1780s decided to write his memoires from his childhood in the north of Spain, through his years in Cadiz, then the Canary Islands, until his emigration to the Rio de la Plata around 1750. This narrative outlines a personal defense of the author to rebuild his deteriorated reputation after the expulsion of the Jesuits from the Gobernación of Tucumán, whose network of sociability and business he integrated. In a testimony interweaved with travel narratives and passages that mimic legal documents, Learte exposes the complex formation of the subjectivity of an 18th-century transatlantic migrant. This presentation focuses on two aspects of this story that illuminate the transitory dimension of the migrant’s experience and its subjective fluidity. First, I address the two main instances of migratory impulse described by Learte, from Cadiz to America and, later, from Tucuman to Navarre. Here, I show that Learte closely associated the crossing the Atlantic and its culmination, the Indies, with the mercantile world. Second, I examine the account of Learte’s sojourn in the Canary Islands and the ambivalent, peninsular and American perspective from which he writes about it. After this vital journey, Learte’s language will define him as a mercantile subject but also as a polyvalent subject, Navarrese, Spanish, and American. This case study provides, on the one hand, an example of eighteenth-century migratory mobility through the lens of an individual life narrative. On the other hand, Fracasos de la fortuna’s analysis problematizes critical categories such as “merchant” or “Creole subject” -from historiography and cultural studies, respectively-, demanding an approach that recognizes other, more slippery, formative paths, which were constitutive of the early modern experience.

Eva Johanna Holmberg (University of Helsinki / Queen Mary University of London), ‘Richard Norwood’s Mobile Life: A Biographical Approach to a Man in the Seafaring “Gig-Economies” of the Early Modern Atlantic World’

Richard Norwood’s (1590-1675) manuscript spiritual autobiography Confessions is a fascinating source for a study of early modern life writing and mobility. It is also a personal account of conversion and the many spiritual and bodily trials this included. Born about 1590 to an impoverished gentry family, Norwood had a complex history of seafaring and maritime employment behind him when he wrote his Confessions in Bermuda c. 1639-40, having been employed as a fishmonger’s apprentice, sailor in coastal and Mediterranean trade, diver, teacher of mathematics, and a land surveyor of Bermuda. This paper explores the ways in which Norwood’s manuscript marries the modes of travel writing and spiritual autobiography, influencing the ways in which we can read it as a testimony of a mobile life. Norwood’s wanderings in his youth especially are sandwiched between deliberations about faith, providence and struggles to find a calling in life. Taking inspiration from Rosie Roberts’ (2019) longitudinal, biographical, and narrative analysis of pathways and practices of ‘ongoing mobility’, this paper offers a reading of Richard Norwood’s ‘mobile life’ as shaped not only by his changing professional positions, which relate to his search for a calling and settled life, but also by his search for salvation (still ongoing at the time of writing). Norwood was a devout Calvinist, so his ‘Confessions’ is structured around his recollections about his sins and ‘mercies of God’ he saw manifest in his life trajectory. The paper is aimed for the first strand mentioned in the CFP, the ‘non-sequential, contingent, and multi-directional character of mobility: reflecting the changing positions, identities, and aims of mobile subjects over time.’ It will seek to combine the perspectives of the so called ‘new mobilities paradigm’ to a cultural historical approach to early modern life writings and memory texts of mobile people, and see what Norwood’s mobility between England, Bermuda, and continental Europe looks like from these complementary perspectives.

17.45-18.00       Break

18.00-18.30       Roundtable Discussion

 David Lambert (University of Warwick)

18.30-18.45       Closing Remarks

Pablo Hernández Sau (University of Manchester)