Aguilera-Manzano, José Maria


University of Cordoba, Spain


Max Weber alumnus

Department of History and Civilization

Cohort(s): 2006/2007

Ph.D. Institution

Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain


I gained my Ph.D. in History at the University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, in 2005, with a dissertation titled Un proyecto cultural desde La Habana para el estado español en construcción, 1824-1845, in which I explain how a group of farmers headed by Domingo del Monte built a cultural system, from Havana, which sought to become the axis around which the Spanish state revolved.
I have been a Fellow at the Ministry of Education and Science and of the Consejo Superior the Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), in Spain. I have also held a fellowship at the Instituto de Historia de Cuba and at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), and was visiting professor at the Florida International University, United States.
I would like to offer a general vision of the consequences of the colonialism for the development of the capitalist system in Europe during the last years of the Old Régime and the beginning of the bourgeois revolutions, in the XIX century. In this way, I have opted to center the study in relation to a colonial very concrete area, because of the complexity of the item, the Caribbean, where all the European big empires were represented.
Between the end of the XVIII century and our days politics, society and economies have undergone a great transformation in Europe and its colonies. It is in these moments that the capitalist system is developed and, closely bound to it, the liberal government system and the formation of nation states.
My study has centred on the investigation of the part played by the sugar groups of power of Havana and Cuba in the formation of the Spanish nation state during the XIX century. More specifically, I have focussed in my research on the study of the culture-building through literature, history and education, proposed in Havana by the group of ideologists gathered around Domingo del Monte and José Antonio Saco in the XIX century. I have reached the conclusion that they played a far more complex part in the formation of the liberal Spanish state than is currently thought by Spanish and Cuban historiographers.
I want to offer a general overview of the contribution of colonialism in the development of the capitalist system in Europe in the final years of the Old Régime and the beginning of the bourgeois revolutions in the XIX. An ever-increasing supply of raw materials became indispensable for the development of that capitalist industry, and colonialism became a cheap way of providing these products because it allowed the production of goods in an intensive way while still using non-liberal methods.
Because of the complexity of the subject, I have opted to concentrate the study on a very concrete colonial area, the Caribbean. There existed there a ‘micro-universe’ where all the main European empires were represented - in Jamaica, Saint Domingo, Martinique, Guadalupe, Cuba, Puerto Rico etc -, and where sugar became what oil is in modern times. The use of slave labour in intensive cultivation, mainly sugar cane, in the Caribbean colonies, contributed in a significant way to the development of European capitalist economics.

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