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The Troubles of Global Civitas: Immigration, Segregation, and Convivencia in Colonial Manila, 1580-1700

Dates:
  • Wed 13 Nov 2019 17.00 - 19.00
  Add to Calendar 2019-11-13 17:00 2019-11-13 19:00 Europe/Paris The Troubles of Global Civitas: Immigration, Segregation, and Convivencia in Colonial Manila, 1580-1700

Seventeenth-century Manila embodied Spain’s global ambitions – but it also epitomized the social consequences of early globalization that these ambitions unleashed. Positioned strategically ‘at the very door of China,’ between the vast silver supplies of colonial Spanish America and Asian markets for luxury goods, Spanish Manila quickly drew traders and immigrants from across the globe after its founding in 1571. In the history of early globalization, the city has come to be recognized as a site –and in the opinion of some, the site– where truly worldwide exchanges commenced. Yet beneath this narrative of interconnecting trade lies a more complex story of immigration and ethnic conflict. For Spanish elites, Manila was to be a theatre of salvation, a global emporium whose ethnic and cultural diversity, like that of the world itself, was to be subsumed under one faith. At the same time, however, Manila depended upon the circuits and modalities of maritime Asia, in which religious tolerance and immigration underwrote commercial prosperity. Manila was thus caught in a great tug of war between two contradicting urban traditions: between the official exclusivism of the Spanish imperial city and the everyday cosmopolitanism of the Asian port. These tensions are visible in the efforts of colonial authorities to create a segregated urbs, the quotidian patterns of mestizaje of diverse peoples and beliefs that flaunted official proscriptions, and cataclysmic episodes of interethnic violence that nearly destroyed the city on four occasions over the course of the century. Ultimately, a fragile balance of power compelled manileños to resort to convivencia – a coexistence born of interdependence, not a cosmopolitan utopia. Early modern Manila therefore presents us with a sobering portrait of a multicultural social order in which mutual dependence was inextricable from the violence of ethno-religious exclusion. Manila was a living contradiction: a global baroque city whose creation, and near-extinction, stemmed from a begrudging but profitable coexistence.

Sala del Torrino , Villa Salviati DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala del Torrino , Villa Salviati

Seventeenth-century Manila embodied Spain’s global ambitions – but it also epitomized the social consequences of early globalization that these ambitions unleashed. Positioned strategically ‘at the very door of China,’ between the vast silver supplies of colonial Spanish America and Asian markets for luxury goods, Spanish Manila quickly drew traders and immigrants from across the globe after its founding in 1571. In the history of early globalization, the city has come to be recognized as a site –and in the opinion of some, the site– where truly worldwide exchanges commenced. Yet beneath this narrative of interconnecting trade lies a more complex story of immigration and ethnic conflict. For Spanish elites, Manila was to be a theatre of salvation, a global emporium whose ethnic and cultural diversity, like that of the world itself, was to be subsumed under one faith. At the same time, however, Manila depended upon the circuits and modalities of maritime Asia, in which religious tolerance and immigration underwrote commercial prosperity. Manila was thus caught in a great tug of war between two contradicting urban traditions: between the official exclusivism of the Spanish imperial city and the everyday cosmopolitanism of the Asian port. These tensions are visible in the efforts of colonial authorities to create a segregated urbs, the quotidian patterns of mestizaje of diverse peoples and beliefs that flaunted official proscriptions, and cataclysmic episodes of interethnic violence that nearly destroyed the city on four occasions over the course of the century. Ultimately, a fragile balance of power compelled manileños to resort to convivencia – a coexistence born of interdependence, not a cosmopolitan utopia. Early modern Manila therefore presents us with a sobering portrait of a multicultural social order in which mutual dependence was inextricable from the violence of ethno-religious exclusion. Manila was a living contradiction: a global baroque city whose creation, and near-extinction, stemmed from a begrudging but profitable coexistence.


Location:
Sala del Torrino , Villa Salviati

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Lecture

Contact:
Francesca Parenti - Send a mail

Organiser:
Prof. Federico Romero (EUI - HEC)
Giorgio Riello

Speaker:
Ryan Crewe (Fernand Braudel Fellow/University of Colorado)
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