Imperial Rule and Centers of Learning in the Spanish Atlantic World

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  • Title: Imperial Rule and Centers of Learning in the Spanish Atlantic World: The Role of the Bourbon Scientific Expeditions in the Creation of Enlightenment Institutions in Spanish America
  • Author(s): Fernando Dameto Zaforteza
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies
  • Keywords: Spanish Enlightenment, Spanish Scientific Expeditions, Spanish America, Knowledge Transfer, Economic Society, Botanical Garden, Nautical School
  • Volume: 19
  • Issue: 1
  • Date: May 29, 2024
  • ISSN: 2324-7576 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2324-7584 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2324-7576/CGP/v19i01/169-187
  • Citation: Dameto Zaforteza, Fernando. 2024. "Imperial Rule and Centers of Learning in the Spanish Atlantic World: The Role of the Bourbon Scientific Expeditions in the Creation of Enlightenment Institutions in Spanish America." The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies 19 (1): 169-187. doi:10.18848/2324-7576/CGP/v19i01/169-187.
  • Extent: 19 pages

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Abstract

The creation of Spanish settlements in America in the Early Modern Era did not only mean the implementation of a new legal system, political structure, or religious dogma, but the breaking down of approximately 25,000 years of isolation. One of the first things Spaniards did was transfer the knowledge and technology accumulated in the Iberian Peninsula, thanks to the establishment of universities and printers. As it happened in Europe, the means for the transmission of knowledge and science transformed along the Early Modern Era. The seventeenth century saw how the big scientific innovations were not coming from universities but from other institutions, such as the Royal Academies. In this new context, the Spanish Crown promoted a series of scientific expeditions, along the eighteenth century, with a dual objective: scientific prestige and firsthand reports of the American kingdoms. The purpose of this article is to argue that even though the original goal of the Bourbon Scientific Expeditions was to collect reliable information of their overseas domains, they evolved into the creation of a series of institutions that spread Enlightenment ideas among Spanish American societies. This article focuses on three different kinds of commissions (Botanical, Hydrographic, and Development) and their role in the creation of Botanical Gardens, Nautical Schools, and Economic Societies.