Acapulco-Manila: The Galleon, Asia, and Latin America, 1565–1815
Exhibition runs September 8, 2016, through March 15, 2017.
Through a rich display of rare maps, diaries, books, and royal decrees, this exhibition at the Benson Latin American Collection explores two-and-a-half centuries of trade between the Spanish Empire in the Americas, via Mexico, and Asia, via the Philippines. The age of the Manila Galleon, from 1565 to 1815, brought with it an exchange of goods and cultural practices, of global contact and disruption, on a new scale. It catalyzed the transformation of territories and cultures: populations confronted sudden change; religions met and often clashed; political calculations and struggles intensified; labor, transportation, technology, and language all changed in irrevocable ways. The world would never be the same.
The Benson Collection opened its trove of materials relating to the Manila Galleon in an exhibition that runs from September 8 through January 31, 2017. A historical lecture was delivered in conjunction with the opening reception on September 8. Fabio López Lázaro, associate professor of history, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, presented “Early Modern Law and the Invention of the World: Was the Pacific the Modern World’s Point of Greatest Divergence?”
About the Lecture
It has long been convincingly argued the the Spanish colonization of Manila marked the beginning of a truly global world. In this view, the sixteenth-century creation of an Acapulco-Manila maritime route incorporated the globe for the first time—and permanently—as an economic network in which all the continents, save Antarctica, were linked in a sustained way. In this presentation, Professor López Lázaro analyzes evidence that strongly suggests, however, that the economic impact of these Pacific connections was less momentous than the phenomenological, emotive, and cognitive consequences of the trans-Pacific Spanish monarchy's "worlding" of the world through law. The theories that our current globalization and the concurrent development of globally unequal distribution of wealth date to the industrial and economic shifts in the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries have to be revised to consider this earlier and greater divergence in world history.
For more information, contact Susanna Sharpe, communications coordinator for LLILAS Benson, at email@example.com or 512-232-2403.