JCB Fellow's Talk: Ernesto Bassi
Ernesto Bassi (Cornell University), Maury A. Bromsen Memorial Fellow
"Plantation Dreams: The Rise of Capitalism from New Granada's Shores"
During the late eighteenth century, the Spanish Empire tried to reinvent itself as a modern and vigorous empire. From Madrid, secretary of state Count of Floridablanca sought to launch "a happy revolution in the trade of Spain and the Indies." In the Americas, viceroys directed policy-making efforts and provincial governors and other local officers presented projects to exploit what they presented as the near infinite potential of their provinces. In New Granada, viceroy Antonio Caballero y Góngora and Santa Marta's governor, Antonio Narváez y la Torre, were at the forefront of the modernizing efforts. This presentation will analyze the schemes they projected and explain why, despite their failure, they deserve a place among the new narratives of the rise of capitalism. The unfortunate journey of a ship, the frigate San Antonio, with its cargo of brazilwood from Santa Marta offers a fruitful analytical window from which this presentation will take a sneak peek at these plantation dreams.
The Reading Room will close at 3:30 pm for event set-up.