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Guns for a Global Empire: Deployment of Artillery Technology in the Iberian Colonial Space (1580-1640)

Guns for a Global Empire: Deployment of Artillery Technology in the Iberian Colonial Space (1580-1640)

Objective

This project studies the historical relationship between military technology, globalization and the rise of European overseas empires by focusing on the provisioning system of cannons in the first political entity which ever connected the four parts of the world: the Iberian Union (1580-1640). If cannons have become a symbol of early modern European expansion, no study has tackled their contribution in sustaining overseas conquests. In defence of dozens of sea-fortresses and on board of hundreds of ships spread around the globe, cannons played a crucial role in the first globalization as key infrastructures of the Iberian empires. The project aims to shed light on this world-wide deployment of artillery technology by revealing the emergence of a system combining gun-manufactures in Europe, America and Asia, all connected through circulations of weapons, raw material and technical experts. The special attention granted to the actors of the system intends to highlight the importance of human capital in the imperial state-building and globalizing processes. The project implements a twofold interdisciplinary methodology: while computer software is used in order to quantify and map the system, archival sources are crossed with material evidence coming from the wide collections of cannons hold in museums so as to reveal circulations and hybridizations of knowledge. Complemented by thorough archival work on case studies about the gun-foundries in Mexico, Cuba, Manila and Macau, this research addresses the issue of technological asymmetries between centres and peripheries inside the Iberian empires and questions the role of European colonial spaces in the globalization of the military revolution. By doing so, this project contributes to two EU priorities as it provides a reflection, from a historical perspective, on Europe’s place in a global context and generates knowledge on the cultural heritage of European coastal areas regarding their proto-industrial developments.
Leaflet | Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors, Credit: EC-GISCO, © EuroGeographics for the administrative boundaries

Coordinator

UNIVERSIDAD PABLO DE OLAVIDE

Address

Carretera De Utrera Km 1
41013 Sevilla

Spain

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 259 398,72

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 845675

Status

Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    1 September 2019

  • End date

    31 August 2022

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.3.2.

  • Overall budget:

    € 259 398,72

  • EU contribution

    € 259 398,72

Coordinated by:

UNIVERSIDAD PABLO DE OLAVIDE

Spain