National geographies (and narratives) have characterized the boundaries of the historiographies of the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spanish Empire, producing works that are too often limited to case studies of nation-states (Spain, Italy, Peru, Mexico, etc.). Atlantic studies proposed an alternative to national frameworks for the writing of history that created new (anachronistic) frontiers for the study of empire. The notion of colonial and understandings of the geopolitics of modernity as one of centers and peripheries further obscured the wider workings of the Spanish Empire. Through an analysis of the political culture in various locales of the Spanish Habsburg world, this article proposes new approaches for thinking and writing such histories of empire while reflecting on the limits that the analytical and conceptual frameworks of colonial Latin American and Atlantic history pose for the study of a vast empire with possessions well beyond these geographical locations that had yet to become colonial.

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