The politicised rewriting of Spain’s colonial history

Engraving by Thierry de Bry, 1590 (British Library)

An article was published in The Guardian earlier this year which reports on Spain’s newly-created Fundación Civilización Hispánica , an historical organisation founded by a select all-male group of businessmen, politicians, writers, journalists and academics.

The organisation has simultaneously emerged alongside a new book by Borja Cardelús, once Spain’s environmental secretary, also entitled La Civilización Hispánica; a tome that, in the same vein as its organisational namesake, implicitly works to deny the atrocities of Spanish colonialism and must be critiqued on both academic and moral grounds.*

The very name of the organisation immediately raises questions of historical, political and moral viability. Insisting upon the existence of a “civilización hispánica”, rather than an empire, entirely strips Spain’s colonial invasion and conquest of the Americas and the Caribbean of its violence. It simultaneously disempowers and denies the self-determination of the citizens living in Spain’s former colonies in the present day.**

Most troubling is the attempt to reframe centuries of colonial violence, warfare and the systematic and hegemonic suppression and destruction of indigenous cultures under the guise of the far less offensive idea of a “civilisation”. While the term “civilisation” is highly contentious and fluid in almost every context (in fact I’d probably avoid it altogether), its common usage usually refers to long-standing historical precedents (for example, the Egyptian, Ancient Greek, Mesopotamian and, perhaps most insultingly, Incan and Aztec civilisations) which did not undertake mass-scale colonial projects encompassing large and as yet unknown parts of the globe resulting in both the marginalisation and destruction of indigenous cultures, as Spain did from the late fifteenth century.

Its briefly-sketched aims are couched in pseudo-academic language yet are entirely politicised:

  • “Difundir la Civilización Hispánica; sus valores, contenidos y episodios, en cuanto riquísimo patrimonio cultural, en buena medida desconocido por el público.”[Diffuse the idea of the Hispanic civilisation; its values, contents and history, in terms of its rich cultural heritage which is largely unknown by the general public]
  • “Combatir la Leyenda Negra. Dar a conocer la inmensa obra civilizadora de España y los países iberoamericanos, y su contribución a la Humanidad, tanto en los aspectos geográficos como en los materiales y culturales.” [Combat the Black Legend.  Bring to light the immense civilising work of Spain and Latin American countries, and their contribution to humanity – in geographical as well as material and cultural aspects.]
  • “Atender, de forma especial, a la población hispana de los Estados Unidos, que a pesar de orígenes diversos poseen las raíces comunes de la Civilización Hispánica, reforzando estas como patrimonio de todos ellos.” [Pay particular attention to the Hispanic population of the USA, which – despite diverse origins – possess common roots in the Hispanic Civilisation which reinforces the idea of a common heritage.]
  • “Movilizar a personas, empresas e instituciones relevantes de la órbita hispánica para estos fines. Los cuales pertenecen a los cuatros ámbitos hispánicos esenciales: España, Países de Iberoamérica, Estados Unidos y Filipinas.” [Mobilise relevant people, businesses and institutions in the Hispanic world towards these aims who belong to the four essential Hispanic regions: Spain, Latin America, the USA and the Phillippines].

While it’s not wholly abhorrent, as stated in the fourth aim, to seek to unify all those with a common Hispanic heritage across the globe and make known their shared history, what matters is that the history offered by the Foundation is ultimately revisionist and biased. In sum, their aims betray a clear desire to propagate an exclusionary, neocolonial and retrospectively violent rewriting of Spanish colonialism in the Early Modern period.

I have emboldened the most problematic aspects of their ethos above, the first of which is the peculiar and ephemeral desire to spread the ‘values’ of the so-called Hispanic ‘civilisation’, positively recasting the process of enforced acculturation by the colonists. The second aim evokes the entirely backward, retrospectively racist and neocolonial idea of the “civilising mission”, the unethical, oppressive and acculturating nature of which has been tirelessly interrogated and undermined by scores of Latin America-focused postcolonial scholars, such as Moraña, Bolanos & Verdesio, Ginzberg, Williams and Thurner & Guerrero. Outside of the Latin American context, examples include the work of Fanon,  Wunder & Hu-DeHart,  SpivakAcheraiouBhabha and Memmi (a reading list that essentially constitutes postcolonialism 101). It moreover wholeheartedly ignores the damage wrought by Spanish colonialism that persists into the modern era.

The foundation’s website also lists a number of forthcoming book projects, examples of which include a book that aims to uncover the “huella cultural” [cultural footprint] left by Spanish invaders to what is now the USA:

“Desde la llegada de Ponce de León los exploradores y navegantes españoles recorrieron la costa y el territorio de los Estados Unidos, dejando, desde Florida a California, una relevante huella cultural que permanece.”

[Since the arrival of Ponce de León, the Spanish explorers and navigators travelled around the coast and the territory of the USA, leaving a relevant cultural footprint that remains from Florida to California.]

Aside from the obviously erroneous and anachronistic application of “los Estados Unidos” to the colonial territories of North America, it is entirely misleading to refer to colonisers as “explorers and navigators”, thereby romanticising the violence committed towards native North and Central American peoples upon their arrival. The verb “recorrer” meanwhile trivialises the colonisers’ warmongering expeditions into what seems like an explorative holiday!

A second book will give an overview of “La Civilización Hispánica”, revelling in how:

“El encuentro de España con las gentes del Nuevo Mundo produjo un fruto cultural, material e inmaterial, de gran contenido y valores, que engloba a 600 millones de personas en todo el mundo y que constituye uno de los grandes ámbitos culturales de la humanidad.”

[The encounter of Spain with the people of the New World produced a cultural gem, both material and immaterial, of exceptional content and value, which encompasses 600 million people across the world and which constitutes one of the largest cultural spheres of humanity.]

Once again, carefully-chosen language is used to erase both colonial violence and suppressed indigenous cultures from history, the latter of which were forcibly stifled as a result of Catholic evangelism. Instead the Foundation insists upon it having been a neutral and culturally beneficial “encounter”. The aims of the organisation are thus thoroughly un-academic: in ignoring the historical violence, both physical and cultural, of Spanish conquests it propagates a biased, politicised vision of history, and moreover recasts acculturation as a positive, rather than oppressive, process.

And how has the news of the foundation’s inauguration been greeted in Spain?

The Spanish press has given the initiative ample journalistic space. Cardelús gave an interview to El País back in January in which the organisation’s desired trajectory is expanded upon: his connections have led to support being granted by both the government and RTVE, and the Foundation even plans to develop films and TV series to propagate their ideology (whether or not these would also be aimed at foreign audiences is not mentioned). El País does, to its credit, give voice to one of Cardelús’ detractors, historian  José Álvarez Junco. Junco’s scepticism rightly identifies the nationalistic impetus of the project, as:

“un intento más de reforzar el nacionalismo español en estos tiempos en que con la crisis catalana parece que hay un resurgimiento del españolismo sin complejos.”

[more of an attempt to reinforce Spanish nationalism in the present context in which the Catalan crisis has given rise to an uncomplicated version of “españolismo”.]

Yet Junco does not address the fundamental inaccuracies that come from selective historiography, as I have outlined above. ABC has by contrast completely avoided giving a balanced evaluation of the initiative and instead has granted Cardelús himself a column to expound his views. La Vanguardia, meanwhile, reports unobjectionably on the foundation’s inauguration.

Finally, the online news site Actuall hosts a video interview with Cardelús in which he pleads for the importance of raising Spain’s self esteem as a nation. Ironically, in the course of the interview Cardelús quite clearly points to the internal contradictions of “la leyenda negra” [the black legend]: the source of this so-called propaganda was in fact  Spanish resident of the colonies and Dominican friar, Bartolomé de las Casas, whose work was later latched onto by Spain’s European ‘enemies’ in the sixteenth century (motivated, according to Cardelús, by a desire to eradicate Catholicism from Europe). While it can be argued that some aspects of the ‘black legend’ propagated in Early Modern Europe were factually incorrect or exaggerated, it categorically does not mean Spain did not colonise, oppress and thereby work to destroy the indigenous cultures of the Americas.

Cardelús accuses Casas of creating the legend – yet a closer look at his seminal work, translated into English as “A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies” (c. 1552), reveals it to be a first-hand account of colonial atrocities and the religious, Catholic arguments against the enslavement and murder of indigenous Americans. Nowhere in the Foundation’s work thus far is a systematic analysis and refutation of Casas’ work, and without any evidence to the contrary we cannot take Cardelús’ opinion of it at face value.


 

The project’s work is progressing as 2018 draws to a close: it has somehow been granted centre stage at the European level as of last month, as the Spanish press reports neutrally on the unveiling of an exhibition entitled ‘The Hispanic world: a common heritage’, housed in the headquarters of the European Parliament in Strasburg.

The size and scope of this initiative means it is urgent that historians and academics of Spanish history and culture work to demystify and debate what the Foundation is proposing. There is no doubt that their message has already been and will continue to be disseminated, given the political sway of the organisation’s founders.

The Fundación Civilización Hispánica is, ultimately, utterly out of place in 2018, and constitutes an apologia for colonialism.*** Not only does it seek to spread biased, factually incorrect and selective historical narratives, it moreover works against its own perceived aim to bolster Spain’s international reputation by conversely propagating conservatively-politicised academic thought. Politicised history can never be true history: recasting a nation’s past for political aims is by definition subjective, fictional, and, ultimately, oppressive.

 

*Disclaimer #1: in critiquing the revisionist history of the Fundación Civilización Hispánica I am in no way denying the right of Hispanic historians to question and interrogate the falsities that were indeed propagated by La leyenda negra. As I state above, the ‘Black Legend’ propagated in Northern Europe was indeed inaccurate in places, but the work of first-hand observers of Hispanic colonialism, such as Bartolome de las Casas, must equally be taken seriously as evidence of colonial violence.

**Disclaimer #2: in critiquing the revisionist history of the Fundación Civilización Hispánica I am in no way suggesting that theirs is a view held by Hispanic peoples in general. I confine my critique to this particular organisation only, and its selective brand of history.

***Disclaimer #3: in critiquing the revisionist history of the Fundación Civilización Hispánica I am in no way suggesting that Hispanic colonialism was in some way worse than Northern European colonialism. Britain, France, Belgium, Germany and many other European nations perpetrated horrific acts of colonial violence across the globe. Their attempts to suppress or revise their colonial history must be similarly interrogated, and I aim to do so in the course of this blog.

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Intersectional medievalist, early modern & medieval Spanish literature, al-Andalus, Spanish colonialism, critical race theory, intersectional feminism, revealing the porosity of borders MA in Medieval Hispanic Studies @ University of Nottingham Currently a DPhil candidate @ University of Oxford

4 thoughts on “The politicised rewriting of Spain’s colonial history

  1. I thank you for liking my post, but I couldn’t help myself and write a response to this:
    https://thetainoconquestofspain.wordpress.com/2018/11/08/when-the-nordic-lectures-and-preaches/

    Basically, you repeat many racist (and yes, they are racist) myths about Spaniards, who are a colonised people (indirectly by Holland, directly in part by Britain and completely by France, not to mention the Anglo-American and European Union support for Francisco Franco during the Cold War), that are also used against all Latin Americans regardless of whether they’re Hispanic or Indigenous.

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    1. I thank you for writing a long and detailed response to my blogpost on the Fundación Civilización Hispánica, and I am happy to enter into debate over this issue. Despite the enraged critique present on your blog, I was surprised to see that we in fact agree on many of the points you outlined. However, there are certain points that I made which you did not seem clear on in your response. I’d also like to give you further information regarding my cultural identity/ethnicity which would undermine parts of your argument, but I couldn’t find a way to message you privately. My original response contained personal details but I do not wish to post this publicly.

      1) To start with, as your argument hinges on my ethnicity and my presumed religio-cultural background; suffice it to say that you are incorrect. I am happy to give you more information on my background via a private message, as I state above.

      2) On the ‘Black Legend’: I conceded in my article that many aspects of the Black Legend were indeed exaggerated and should therefore be treated with caution. The issue I take with the Foundation’s view is that its version of ‘combatting the Black Legend’ is to singularly erase the negative impact of Hispanic colonialism. They are trying to recast colonialism as entirely culturally beneficial without so much as referencing the negative – or even as you state, genocidal – aspects, which is simply not the case. You even seem to agree with me in your article when you state that “these right-wing Spaniards are basically stating that they ‘civilised’ Native Americans and they are eliminating the history of Spanish settler colonialism whose genocidal legacy we can still see today” – this is exactly what I take issue with, as it is revisionist history. It is possible to argue that both:

      a. The Black Legend was historically inaccurate and revisionist for the benefit of other war-mongering, Northern European colonial nations.

      b. The history that this Foundation is proposing is also inaccurate and retrospectively revisionist, and in turn silencing the history of Native American peoples.

      “Intermedieval seems to think that to attack the Black Legend necessarily means to deny Spain’s atrocities and its role in the Native American genocide” – I do not believe this, and if it does not come across clearly enough in my article that many aspects of the Black Legend were inaccurate and must be questioned, then I will amend it. My points is that this particular organisation is using the idea of “combatting the Black Legend” in order to reframe Spanish colonial history as a whole. I take issue with the “Hispanic right-wingers” that you mention that do this to erase the negative impact of Hispanic colonialism – and the Foundation, as it stands, is an example of this, because they are propagating a selective history. As this is a point of confusion, I will remove the subtitle of my article (which was partially a quote from the Foundation itself, and does not refer to combatting the Black Legend in general).

      3) On Northern European colonialism: Northern European colonialism was horrendous, and Northern European countries are also engaged in a process of revisionist history (particularly the USA and the UK) who fail to include the true impact of Empire on indigenous peoples in the most basic history curricula in schools. The British Empire arguably decimated India, ruining its economy and forcibly starving vast swathes of its people to death. Africa was similarly impacted, and Native Americans alongside so many others were also victims of British colonial violence – including those in some of the Spanish colonies as you state. While I didn’t want to derail the focus of the article and therefore didn’t explicitly refer to the atrocities of northern European colonialism, in no way am I suggesting that Hispanic colonialism was in some way worse or a singular example of colonial violence. In light of your concerns, I am editing my article to include a disclaimer and my opinions on the British Empire and Northern European colonialism.

      4) You quote my article with the preface “she dares to say the following” – followed by my issue with the ‘romanticised’ view of colonialism – which you then seem to agree with. It seems the only issue you have with me taking issue with such romanticisation is the fact that I do not say this about “English conquerors and colonisers in the Americas”. As I stated in point three, this was not the purpose of my article. I am vehemently against revisionist history of Northern European colonialism too, and will happily write another blogpost on the horrendous romanticisation that takes place in the USA with festivals such as “Columbus Day” (which in many areas, thankfully, is starting to be referred to as ‘Native American Day’ or something to that ilk).

      5) On Catholicism: my objection to Catholicism’s role in colonisation centres on evangelism. I did not expand on it in my article, but forced conversion which thereby works to erase indigenous cultures cannot be viewed as wholly positive and ‘civilising’. Of course, the Catholic Church did – as you state – help and support Native American people in some instances. I also reference the work by Las Casas – whose Catholic identity I do not take issue with. I take issue with the Foundation’s attempts to completely discredit Las Casas’ work when they have no evidence to do so.

      6) Your argument ultimately, in its final paragraphs, depends on the idea that I am “stereotyping Hispanics” and even “attacking Hispanics” as a whole. In no way am I doing this. I am taking issue with one singular peninsula Spanish organisation, not the entirety of the Hispanic world. I entirely agree that there are many people working and living in Hispanic countries – academics, politicians, and ordinary people – who do not think like Foundation does, and I am happy to add another disclaimer to my article to clarify this. I even state that it’s no bad thing to seek to unite Hispanic peoples under a shared heritage and history, but this history cannot be selective, otherwise it becomes exclusive.

      All in all, your response is quite confusing. You seem to vaguely agree that the Fundación is backwards and right-wing, and that the indigenous peoples of the Americas suffered under colonialism. Ultimately, your critique hinges on my cultural identity, my lack of criticism of northern European colonialism and, finally, your misunderstanding that by criticising one organisation I am criticising the beliefs of Hispanic peoples in general – all of which I have refuted above.

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      1. I agree that this is a very opportune moment for debate, especially to compare Intersectionality with Marxist Indigenism. The main problem I had with your article is that even if you don’t write it for ill will against Hispanics, it still sounds like the usual lecturing done by the Northern European from a colonial country towards the Hispanic subaltern, telling the latter what to do and think and how to behave, all while defining the Hispanic subaltern’s history for her/him and even telling said subaltern that they shouldn’t define their history on their own terms, no matter how contemptible that version of history may be.

        I really take issue with your comment about “derailing” your article from the main topic. There’s no more on topic issue in a discussion of the Black Legend than Northern European colonialism, especially since the term “Black Legend” was coined precisely because Spaniards wanted to prove that the Spanish Empire was being, and still is, compared negatively to Northern European colonial empires, that there’s a massive double standard going on, in order to blame the “backwardness” (which is a term you use that I also take a lot of issue with as it’s commonly utilised against colonised peoples) of Spain purely on Spaniards themselves, which is something that you didn’t mention prior to revising your article in response to my comments about it.

        Not only that, but you even cited an English newspaper (The Guardian) to report about this project, knowing full well England’s position as an ex-colonial empire that still possesses a number of colonies today, including Gibraltar, a newspaper which also utilised the same anti-Hispanic colonialist cliches that have been directed against Spaniards by the English aristocracy and bourgeoisie since the 16th century. That’s why it’s good that you cited a Spanish newspaper (El País) to give a more even view from the natives themselves, but you give it equal if not less value as if what the Northern European has to say about Hispanics is what counts, which is a view that should be contested and not accepted.

        I know that this is your topic of interest, but you could have taken a far more critical view of the subject and recognise that the FCH and its historical project has valid complaints about the way Northern Europeans have defined history for Spaniards and Hispanics in general, which has also been destructive to Native Americans as a whole, since they are downgraded from persons to mere victims needing to be saved, and that’s when they aren’t erased wholesale to argue that Spaniards exterminated them all (which is especially the case with indigenous Caribbeans, something that continues to be used by the the UN international community and US, European and independent Caribbean governments to deny the existence of Tainos and Caribs and help in proper reparations towards them).

        More importantly, it needs to be recognised the the FCH is providing opinions that don’t even originate in Spain or that at least have also been a prominent part of Northern European colonial discourse. Like I said, and I probably should have developed this argument more, Northern European supporters of the truth of the Black Legend are in the end apologists of colonialism and imperialism, *including* Spanish colonialism, even if this is not all that obvious from the start. The Protestant propagandists of the 16th and 17th centuries when the Black Legend was formed really only feigned concern for Native Americans, when in reality they still insisted in portraying Native Americans as barbaric savages and were quick to take advantage of the Spanish conquests to send colonists to America after the Spaniards had done the heavy and dirty work for them.

        This is why we see so many Northern European and North American authors defend Spanish colonialism or argue for a more ambivalent view. Even someone as influential as William H. Prescott is of the opinion that the Spanish conquest was in the end something positive, bringing European “values” to the continent while also helping develop Renaissance humanism and Protestantism, ending in American democracy as a result. We see this view or some form of it expressed in the dome of the Library of Congress where Spain is given a space alongside other supposed “civilisations” that have influenced the creation of the United States. In England we have Niall Ferguson, the far-right author who gives praise to Spain in the creation of the “West”.

        The apologia for Spain in Northern Europe and North America is the most apparent with the figure of Christopher Columbus, who has been called “the most celebrated hero of the West”, and while it’s true that Washington Irving created the figure of a rebellious quasi-Protestant Columbus opposing Catholic Spain, we have Hollywood films like Ridley Scott’s 1492: Conquest of Paradise doing straight up hagiography for the Catholic Monarchs (similarly as well with Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto, which may well be the most popular representation of Mayans in any media).

        It is from Northern European apologia for Spanish colonialism that FHC derives its arguments, but again, you don’t mention this anywhere in your article, and that alongside the traditional cliches like Spaniards having ulterior motives, distorting facts and being uniquely racist towards Native Americans in ways Northern Europeans aren’t is why I took so much issue with it. Again, I think that a more critical analysis of the Black Legend is required, that takes into account that there indeed has been a genuine propaganda war against Spain while at the same time, contradictory, defending Spain’s actions by those who have waged said propaganda war, with Spaniards later internalising this history.

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  2. I absolutely agree that the subaltern should not be told what to believe or how to define their history. However, I take issue with the way you appear to define ‘subaltern’. A group of powerful white European businessmen, politicians, etc. (i.e. the FCH) surely cannot be defined as subaltern? I stand by my decision to critique the work of such a group, especially because their work silences the history of indigenous American peoples. If the FCH were an organisation formed in Latin America on the consultation of indigenous Latin Americans and Caribbean people, this would be an entirely different article altogether.

    I understand your point, and the fundamentals of Marxist Indigenism: that if the devastation caused by Spanish colonialism is exaggerated, this could lead to some believing that indigenous people have been wiped out and are therefore disempowered as a minority, when in many areas they can form a powerful majority. Having lived in Latin America I know this is fundamentally not the case, and it is so important to view indigenous groups as capable of major political representation, rather than as solely an oppressed group who need to be ‘saved or emancipated by a benevolent state’.

    However, by critiquing right-wing groups such as the FCH that fail to acknowledge the negative aspects of Spanish colonialism, this does not implicitly ‘victimise’ or ‘disempower’ indigenous people. On the contrary, if a major Spanish organisation is failing to acknowledge the past and present-day struggles of indigenous people, surely that is worth calling out? I also emphasise in my article that the negative impact of Spanish colonialism was both cultural and physical violence- i.e., I do not state that the sole impact of colonialism was the death of indigenous people: acculturation was also damaging.

    I ultimately do not seek to define what should constitute the history of Latin America. I don’t venture to do this because it is not my place. I am bringing to light a peninsula Spanish organisation that is working to suppress the history of indigenous people living in Latin America by failing to mention the problematic aspects of colonialism, and the issues from it that persist into the present day. Many of these arguments are outlined by postcolonial scholars working on Latin America, which I cite in my article.

    I began my article with a link to the Guardian simply because my blog audience is English-speaking, so it enables them to get more detail easily. I’m no big fan of the Guardian, to be sure (it’s characteristically neoliberal), but in this case I actually think it is pretty neutral and does not make a judgement on the activities of the FCH – have you read the article? I then also cite a variety of Spanish journalistic sources by comparison for sake of balance. However, these articles all take a resoundingly positive and less balanced view of the FCH. Only one Spanish news source out of four gives an alternate (i.e. non-positive) opinion of the FCH.

    The point of view I find most interesting in the Guardian article is that of Emilio Sáenz-Francés, a Spanish lecturer in history and international relations. It states that “he is sceptical about the notion that the legend still fogs foreign eyes. Perhaps one reason for the survival of la leyenda negra, he suggests, is Spain’s lasting fascination with it.”

    “Well-informed people around the world know pretty well what Spain’s history has been and though they may have a cliched image of Spain, it’s no worse than that of the UK when it comes to certain things or France in other things,” he says. “But I think there’s something a little bit self-punishing in the Spanish mentality.””

    Here, Sáenz-Francés is questioning whether the Black Legend even has any relevance for, or still persists in the minds of, northern Europeans today. While this requires a great deal of further research (e.g. surveys of northern European peoples on their view of Spain), if it’s true, it means the FCH is in essence working in an echo-chamber of perceived criticism.

    As a first step, taking a look at the comments section of said Guardian article, its largely northern European readership in fact refers to this. One reader cites the Franco regime as a far stronger influence on Spain’s ‘international image’ than the Black Legend today. Another states that “most people outside Spain don’t actually know how insanely brutal the Spanish Empire was in the 16th and 17th centuries. The whole ‘Black Legend’ trope is one most familiar to Spanish Nationalist historians looking to whitewash their appalling colonial past”.

    Now to be sure, I’m not endorsing these opinions but they do serve as examples of opinions of northern Europeans who claim that the Black Legend is more relevant inside of Spain rather than out. Moreover, if we take the same newspaper as a case study for attitudes towards Northern European versus Spanish colonialism, the Guardian has spent far more time in recent years running articles on the horrors of British colonialism, rather than continuing to propagate a version of the Black Legend e.g.:

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/oct/19/end-myths-britains-imperial-past
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/08/india-britain-empire-railways-myths-gifts
    https://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/aug/18/uncovering-truth-british-empire-caroline-elkins-mau-mau
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/01/colonialism-in-africa-is-still-alive-and-well
    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/nov/27/enough-of-aid-lets-talk-reparations

    The final article in the list above even talks about the damaging affect of colonialism on the native population of Latin America, but it does not even single out Spain as a perpetrator – it talks about European colonisers as a whole, including Britain, as equally to blame for this. In comparison, the only article directly on Spanish colonial history that can be found by searching that newspaper’s website is the one on the FCH. This would counteract your idea that Spanish colonialism is consistently portrayed as worse than British colonialism, in a major news publication in the UK at least.

    As a further example, this article was published a couple of days ago in one of the UK’s main newspapers:
    https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/history/jeremy-corbyn-british-empire-whitewashing-national-curriculum-slave-trade-colonialism-a8618006.html

    Now the UK has an extremely long way to go to come to terms with the horrors of its imperial past – in politics, media and school curricula – but critical opinions are out there in national publications.

    Moreover, the right-wing North American and Northern European authors that you cite are widely discredited, except in right-wing intellectual circles which (judging by recent studies on the politics of academia) are very much in the minority. Niall Ferguson, for example, was widely criticised in both academia and the press for his work on empire that has been called fundamentally ‘ignorant’ and merely an attempt at populist history to court controversy. He is hardly ‘influential’. W.H. Prescott meanwhile is a 19th Century historian whose views are also highly critiqued today. Do you have any late 20th/early 21st century examples of American historians doing the same thing? I’d like you to point me to further reading which evidences your idea that right-wing Northern European and North American viewpoints have directly led to such right-wing pro-colonialist mentalities in peninsula Spain – as without direct evidence to show that academics in Spain (in the 20th and 21st centuries) have been and are engaging with the supposedly pro-colonialist work of unnamed historians from North America and Northern Europe, this theory remains conjecture.

    Ultimately, in none of your responses do you tackle the main issue I address in my article: do you or do you not agree that it is bad that the FCH is fundamentally ignoring both the history of indigenous Latin American and Caribbean peoples, as well as the damaging aspects of Hispanic colonialism as a whole?

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