Cornell University

During the spring semester, in-person concerts, events and lectures that involve outside guests will not be held, per the university’s COVID-19 travel and visitor policy.

This is a past event. Its details are archived for historical purposes.

The contact information may no longer be valid.

Please visit our current events listings to look for similar events by title, location, or venue.

"Refracted Empire: The Atlantic Islands and the Early Spanish Caribbean" by David Wheat, LASP Seminar

Monday, April 19, 2021 at 12:00pm to 1:15pm

Virtual Event

Traditional interpretations of Spanish imperial consolidation in the 16th-century Atlantic place heavy emphasis on official maritime structures regulated by authorities based in Seville. But despite their central position in Caribbean historiographies, the Indies fleets and slave trade asientos accommodated multiple agendas -- including some that worked against the priorities of the Spanish crown and House of Trade -- and appear far less monolithic if viewed within a broader context that includes regional traffic, voyages from the Canaries, and commonplace arribadas or "emergency landings." This presentation provides an overview of maritime traffic arriving in selected Caribbean ports, with several illustrative examples of individual travelers and itineraries drawn from notarial records in the Canary Islands. It argues for the utility of viewing early Iberian settlements in the Caribbean and off the coasts of western Africa not merely as way stations or stepping stones for Iberian "expansion," but as polyvalent hubs for migration and trade within, across, and beyond ostensible imperial boundaries.

David Wheat, associate professor of history at Michigan State University, received his PhD from Vanderbilt University in 2009. His book Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570-1640 (2016) was awarded the Omohundro Institute's Jamestown Prize, the Lapidus Center's Harriet Tubman Prize, and the American Historical Association's James A. Rawley Prize. His essays have appeared in Clio: Femmes, Genre, Histoire; the American Historical Review; the Journal of African HistorySlavery & Abolition, the Journal of Early Modern History, and in several edited collections. He recently co-edited two volumes of essays: The Spanish Caribbean and the Atlantic World in the Long Sixteenth Century, co-edited with Ida Altman (2019), and From the Galleons to the Highlands: Slave Trade Routes in the Spanish Americas, co-edited with Alex Borucki and David Eltis (2020). 

Dial-In Information

Please register to attend through the following link:

Google Calendar iCal Outlook
Event Type



Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Latino Studies Program, History, Government, Africana Studies and Research Center, Global Learning, Latin American Studies Program

Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

William Phelan, LASP Program Manager

Contact Phone



David Wheat

Speaker Affiliation

Michigan State University

Dept. Web Site

Disability Access Information

Please contact us with your accessibility needs as soon as possible.

Open To

Free and Open to the Public

Recent Activity