Whilst much scholarly work has been focused on Spain's American colonies, much less is known about Spanish colonization of the Pacific. As such, this book fills an important gap in our knowledge, directing attention both to Spain's wider imperial ambitions, and the specific situation within the Philippines. By structuring the book around the life of Hernando de los Ríos Coronel, many overlapping and complex threads are drawn out that cast light upon a diverse range of subjects.
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Soldier, priest, diplomat, explorer, naval pilot and scientist, de los Ríos was a fascinating figure who played a pivotal role in Spanish efforts to establish a thriving colony in the Philippines. In 1588, at the age of 29 he was sent to the Philippines as a soldier, and once there quickly established himself as a pillar of society, ultimately becoming a priest. Over 36 years, until his death sometime before the end of January 1624, he shuttled between the Philippines and Spain, in his role as Procurator General - the sole representative of the Philippines (both Spaniards and Indigenes) at the Spanish Court.
As well as telling the story of an extraordinary individual, this book provides a fascinating introduction to the early history of the Spanish Philippines. By touching upon a broad range of topics, it also opens up numerous avenues for further research.