Drake, Maroons, and the Predation of Spanish Imperial Connectivity in XVI C

Activity: Talk or presentationAcademic

Luis Lobo-Guerrero - Speaker

Between 1572 and 1573 Francis Drake, the famous pirate or privateer –depending on the imperial narrative followed-, made an alliance with a group of Maroons, renegade slaves, in the Isthmus of Panama. The purpose was to plunder Spanish treasures routed from Peru to Seville via the Caribbean. Whereas attention on this alliance has been on the economic benefit that resulted from it, it is taken in this paper as an event that helps understand three surfaces that made the connectivity on which the early Spanish Empire in America operated. The first is a racialised biopolitics tightly linked with a political economy of extraction. The second, a commercial route that linked the Spanish kingdoms in America with Seville. The third, a network of newly-created maritime ports in the Caribbean and the mainland. By engaging in analysis of the interaction of these three surfaces, the paper explores the historical epistemological characteristics of an order of governance, challenged by Drake’s predation on the Isthmus.

External organisation

NameUniv Cambridge, University of Cambridge

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