Rome and America.
New analytical and methodological approaches
The relations between the Apostolic See and America have been analyzed by historical-legal historiography mainly within the narrow margins of the Patronato Regio and the Padroado, which linked the Papacy with the Spanish and Portuguese Crowns throughout the Modern Age and whose agreements were again of great importance in the period of the American independences. This interpretation is mainly due to a partial and uncritical use of the sources. Indeed, research has focused almost exclusively on Spanish and Portuguese sources, which were produced by secular government institutions and which, by their very nature, express a strongly monarchist, nationalist and sometimes anti-Roman view of relations with the Papacy. Roman sources have so far remained on the margins of historical research and few researchers have ventured into the Vatican archives to reconstruct the Roman perspective of these complex relations. The Roman archives, however, are rich in documentation relating to the Americas and it is now clear that the Apostolic See has always been a fundamental point of reference for the American world, not only during the first decades after the Spanish and Portuguese conquests, but throughout the colonial period and beyond for various religious, political, social and economic issues. However, the few works that have used Roman documentation have often been limited to describing a few documents, abstracting them from the context in which they were written and adapting them to the needs of an instigation on a local scale. For this reason, it is still difficult today to give a unified and coherent idea of the rich and complex relations between the Holy See and the Americas in modern times.
The research projects of this joint project address this issue mainly through two perspectives. The first concerns the analysis of the figure of patronage itself in the light of new sources and a new methodological approach. The second focuses on the figures of the procurators, actors who, often outside the official routes traced by the Patronage, moved between Rome and the American worlds performing important social, religious, economic and intellectual functions.