Introduction to research on the legal history of early modern Hispanoamerica

Completed Project

The history of law in early modern Hispanoamerica is a fascinating field of legal historical research. In the course of European expansion since the late 16th century, the Spanish monarchy established its rule over a vast territory in North, Central, and South America. Norms, institutions, and practices from Europe were translated into a world that was new to the Castilian invaders. They displaced, overlapped, and intermingled with the rights of indigenous peoples. For a long time, this history was interpreted as an extension of European legal history; by now, however, research is offering a more diverse picture in which colonial legal history is understood as the translation of knowledge of normativity under local conditions.

Since there has been no introduction to research on the legal history of early modern Hispanoamerica that presents both the research tradition and recent developments, this gap will be filled with a volume in the MPI's ‘methodica’. The volume, published November 2022,  introduces the history of research in this field, its achievements and problems. It gives an overview of important sources and literature and points out perspectives of research.

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