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Grant number like: FB-50058-04

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John B. Owens
Idaho State University (Pocatello, ID 83201-5377)

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2004 – 7/31/2005

Clandestine Political Economies and the Exercise of Public Authority in Philip II's Spain

The applicant will complete archival research on the Castilian activities of a sophisticated, geographically-extensive, sixteenth-century smuggling organization and write the first draft of a short book (ca. 65,000 words). Since the mid-nineteenth century, historians have defined the beginning of the modern era on the basis of the role of rulers and their "bureaucrats" in the creation of states, and within this metanarrative, many have considered Philip II's absolute monarchy to be an important chapter. The proposed book will make a significant contribution to the humanities through an innovative challenge to this dominant paradigm of a ruler-centered process of state-building in the "early modern" era, and it will, therefore, provide a unique perspective on government, community formation, and the inflection of the networked commercial and institutional interactions of the huge Hispanic Monarchy, whose officials and subjects played major roles in the creation of the first global age. The smugglers moved contraband over a variety of routes located along the rugged, mountainous border between the kingdoms of Castile and Valencia, under the direction of Iberian and Italian merchants based in the commercial centers of Cuenca, Milan, Seville, Toledo, and Valencia. The applicant exposes this "shadow empire" on the basis of the reports from a special investigation launched in 1565, surviving trial records, and related documents from the relevant Spanish national, provincial, and municipal archives.