The British occupation of Manila and Havana (1762–1764) was a singularly important and well-known catalyst for Spanish imperial reform. Eva Maria Mehl recasts this familiar narrative by focusing on the 4,000 or so military recruits who departed Acapulco for the Philippines to defend the crown's possessions between 1765 and 1811. Her book outlines the recruitment campaign; its place within the broader Bourbon reform impulse; its effects on the men, their families, and Mexican society; and its limited achievements and resounding failures. In so doing, Mehl decenters imperial history by highlighting the primacy of New Spain and how demands emanating from Manila shaped policy decisions reached in Mexico City.

Chapter 1 sets the stage by synthesizing scholarship on the interconnected history of the two colonies. Mexico played an integral role in the establishment of Spain's toehold in the Philippines. From the novohispano perspective,...

You do not currently have access to this content.