History and Latin America

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Raising an Empire: Children in Early Modern Iberia and Colonial Latin America

Edited by Ondina González
Edited by Bianca Premo

From the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries, Spain and Portugal raised and nurtured vast American empires, both metaphorically and literally. From the very beginning, conquerors and settler elites engaged in colonial enterprises as they considered the New World through traditional Iberian ideas about childhood and as they established institutions for educating youths, sheltering infants, and extracting labor from children. Inevitably, Iberian concepts of childhood were transformed by everyday confrontations with the practices and norms of indigenous, African, and mixed-race inhabitants, and as new generations of truly colonial children were born.

Raising an Empire takes readers on a journey into the world of children and childhood
in early modern Ibero-America. Its contributors enter a vibrant new field of study in the region and challenge the conventional notion that children are invisible in the historical record. Employing diverse methods to decode a wide variety of sources, these essays present their small subjects - elite maidens, abandoned babies, Indian servants, slave apprentices - through their lives and times.

Isabel dos Guimaráes Sá, history, Universidade de Minho, Portugal
Elizabeth Anne Kuznesof, Latin American history and director of the Center of Latin American Studies, University of Kansas
Jorge Rojas Flores, history and social sciences, Universidad de Talca and Universidad de Arte y Ciencias Sociales, Chile
Laura Shelton, history, Georgia Southern University
Valentina Tikoff, history, DePaul University, Chicago
Ann Twinam, history, University of Texas, Austin
Teresa Vergara, history Ph.D. student, University of Connecticut at Storrs


Ondina E. González is an independent scholar who has written on abandoned children in colonial Havana and the history of Christianity in Latin America.

Bianca Premo is associate professor of Latin American history at Florida International University.

Lyman L. Johnson is professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. He is also the general editor for UNM Press's Dialogos series.

Ondina E. González is an independent scholar who has written on abandoned children in colonial Havana and the history of Christianity in Latin America.


"...an essential book...( Raising an Empire) offer(s) not only enlightening pictures on childhood but also a distinctive international scholarly effort to guide readers toward the understanding of the actual life of children from the time of the colonial administration to the end of the nineteenth century."


The Latin Americanist

"The volume's clarity and accessibility belie its sophistication; students and advanced scholars have much to learn from these well-crafted studies."


Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"The essays collected in this book represent an impressive contribution toward our understanding of children as part of Latin American history."


Journal of Social History

"...the volume's contributors have done a magnificent job at gathering and presenting the newest and most innovative work currently available on children in the early modern Iberian world...a welcome addition to current studies on the social, political, and economic connections across Portugal, Spain, and the Americas."



6 x 9 in. 272 pages 7 halftones, 4 tables