In Los mantuanos en la corte española: Una relación cisatlántica (1783–1825), Alejandro Cardozo Uzcátegui offers a complex portrait of elite Caracas society at home and abroad. These elites, known as mantuanos for their sumptuary privileges, and a new group of wealthy Venezuelans whom Cardozo Uzcátegui labels the neo-mantuanos created transoceanic networks of court patronage. During a time of growth in Caracas and great uncertainty in the empire, elites established “mapas humanos” in Caracas and Madrid that furthered their interests (p. 66). Employing the concept of “cis-Atlantic history” coined by David Armitage, Cardozo Uzcátegui investigates the mantuano search for a “patria común del Imperio” (p. 207) and reveals the tremendous difficulties in reconciling their aspirational identity with the apathetic reception that greeted them at the unstable, turn-of-the-century Spanish court.

After a brief introduction and an extensive literature review, the book's nine chapters...

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