The Rise of the Spanish Empire in the Old World and the New.
By Roger Bigelow Merriman. Volume I-The Middle
Ages. Volume II-The Catholic Monarchs. (New York:
The Macmillan Co. 1918.)
This is by far the most exhaustive and authoritative study of
Spanish history in the English language. It is a product, in every
sense, of modern historical scholarship, embodying all the method-
ology usually employed by careful scholars. The aim of this work
is to describe, in four volumes, the rise of the Spanish Empire
from its early background in the Middle Ages to the death of
Philip II, "under whose rule the Spanish Empire attained its
greatest territorial extent." The two volumes in question carry the
story through the reign of the Catholic Monarchs.
The student of Spanish and Latin-American history will turn
to these books for the satisfaction of a long-felt want,-the need
of a careful study on the basis of the best sources not generally
available of the historical and institutional background of the civ-
ilization that was brought to America by the Spaniards. In them
is to be found the essential facts of the rise of the Spanish Em-
pire, but the story is told from the angle of Spain, herself, and
not with America as the central thought and objective. This, in-
deed, to the American scholar, is a somewhat unusual, though
essential and accurate viewpoint. America's part, however, is ade-
quately set forth, for, "when all is said and done, it was the Indies
that account for her greatness during the brief period that it lasted.
If they were a principal cause of her subsequent decay, they were
also the primary source of her temporary preSminence. Without
them she would never have been able to retain the hegemony of
Europe as long as she did; without them the Spanish Empire would
scarcely have been worthy of the name. What seemed to contem-
poraries but a fortunate incident was really the great turning-point
in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. The day that Christopher
Columbus set sail from Palos was the most fateful in the history
of United Spain." This placing of America in its true perspec-
tive with regard to Spain in 1500 is one of the most valuable con-
tributions of the study.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117156/. Accessed January 30, 2015.