Navigating the Spanish Lake: The Pacific in the Iberian World, 1521–1898

Hardback: $47.00
ISBN-13: 9780824838249
Published: May 2014
Paperback: $28.00
ISBN-13: 9780824896799
Published: March 2023

Additional Information

200 pages | 4 b&w images, 1 map, 2 tables
  • About the Book
  • Navigating the Spanish Lake examines Spain’s long presence in the Pacific Ocean (1521–1898) in the context of its global empire. Building on a growing body of literature on the Atlantic world and indigenous peoples in the Pacific, this pioneering book investigates the historiographical “Spanish Lake” as an artifact that unites the Pacific Rim (the Americas and Asia) and Basin (Oceania) with the Iberian Atlantic. Incorporating an impressive array of unpublished archival materials on Spain’s two most important island possessions (Guam and the Philippines) and foreign policy in the South Sea, the book brings the Pacific into the prevailing Atlanticentric scholarship, challenging many standard interpretations. By examining Castile’s cultural heritage in the Pacific through the lens of archipelagic Hispanization, the authors bring a new comparative methodology to an important field of research.

    The book opens with a macrohistorical perspective of the conceptual and literal Spanish Lake. The chapters that follow explore both the Iberian vision of the Pacific and indigenous counternarratives; chart the history of a Chinese mestizo regiment that emerged after Britain’s occupation of Manila in 1762-1764; and examine how Chamorros responded to waves of newcomers making their way to Guam from Europe, the Americas, and Asia. An epilogue analyzes the decline of Spanish influence against a backdrop of European and American imperial ambitions and reflects on the legacies of archipelagic Hispanization into the twenty-first century.

    Specialists and students of Pacific studies, world history, the Spanish colonial era, maritime history, early modern Europe, and Asian studies will welcome Navigating the Spanish Lake as a persuasive reorientation of the Pacific in both Iberian and world history.

  • About the Author(s)
    • Rainer F. Buschmann, Author

      Rainer F. Buschmann is program chair and professor of history at California State University Channel Islands.
    • Edward R. Slack, Author

      Edward R. Slack Jr. is professor of history at Eastern Washington University.
    • James B. Tueller, Author

      James B. Tueller is professor of history at Brigham Young University-Hawaiʻi.
    • Anand A. Yang, Series Editor

  • Reviews and Endorsements
    • Navigating the Spanish Lake’s three authors both challenge conventional commonplaces regarding just how to conceptualize Spain’s activities in the Pacific Ocean and break new scholarly ground concerning those activities. . . . The authors persuasively make the case that the Pacific, from the various rationales the Crown used for its exploration and colonizing to its administering and its military protection, was more an extension of New Spain and its particular advantages and interests than it was of Spain itself. . . . [The] book is at its strongest—and most noteworthy, given that much of the archival material it draws on has not been written about before—in showing how the Spanish possessions’ societies and cultures were also shaped by lessons learned from the mestizo worlds developing in the Americas.
      —John Buaas, Butler Community College, H-War, H-Net Reviews (June 2015)
    • With three authors at the helm, Navigating the Spanish Lake is both a work of rich archival detail and the minutiae of lives. It embraces pensions, petitions, baptismal names, and census rolls, as well as grand speculations on the Iberian empire encompassing both the Pacific and Atlantic, from Castile to New Spain and Acapulco, from Manila and Guam and the Marianas. . . . One of the authors’ key points is that this empire was, if not exactly a fiction, certainly a contingent and evershifting array of strong and weak emplacements and outposts, circulations of labor and administrators, traders, and missionaries, highly dependent on the local populations. . . . A vivid chronicle, Navigating the Spanish Lake traces an almost imagined empire from the cartographical and ideological to the imperial-nationalist.
      —Matt Matsuda, Rutgers University, American Historical Review, 120:2 (April 2015)
    • Overall, the authors deserve credit for their contribution to re-centring scholarly focus on the Pacific Ocean. Attention to the complexities of the Spanish presence in the Pacific Rim and Basin provides a welcome corrective for studies that have neglected the broader dimensions of the Spanish Empire. This study is indispensable reading for those interested in Asian history, global history and the history of Spain in the Americas.
      —Asian Studies Review
    • Based on research conducted in Spanish, Philippine, and Mexican archives, the authors give priority to the multi-layered cultural histories of the Spanish Pacific World over its economic history, and they argue that this oceanic history can be better understood by placing it in the broader context of the Spanish Empire and the Iberian Atlantic. . . . Despite the title of this volume, the narratives and evidence suggest that there was little that was ‘Spanish’ about this ‘Lake’ (itself an overworn misnomer for the world’s largest geographical feature). Ultimately, Navigating the Spanish Lake provides further evidence that Spain played an important but very limited role, alongside many other cultures, polities, and peoples, in the early modern Pacific world.
      —Ryan Dominic Crewe, University of Colorado, Denver, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, Vol. 171 (2015)
    • Navigating the Spanish Lake . . . [is] at the vanguard of a contemporary challenge to the Anglo-French centrism of Pacific colonial history.
      —Journal of World History
    • Scholars and other readers hoping to learn more about the Spanish presence in the Pacific especially in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, which probably is the period least familiar to most Hispanists, will find this slim volume rewarding. . . . Readers seeking to learn more about the presence and impact of the Spanish in the Pacific . . . will find a great deal of interest here.
  • Supporting Resources