Constructing Imperial Spaces: The Spanish and Mosquito Conquests of Eighteenth-Century Central America
Mendiola, Daniel M.
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The purpose of this dissertation is to compare the strategies of conquest of two competing imperial projects in eighteenth-century Central America: Spain’s overseas empire, and the indigenous Mosquito Kingdom. Significantly, this study looks beyond military campaigns, exploring as well how daily networks of communication, diplomacy, and trade shaped Spanish and Mosquito territories over time. Accordingly, this study asks: first, who were the principal actors facilitating these conquests? Second, what specific practices did these actors implement? Third, how did the practices of each conquest mutually influence the other? And finally, how can historians of today utilize new approaches to mapping in order to illustrate how these conquests were imagined and experienced by the actual people involved? The central argument of this dissertation is that routine commercial and diplomatic practices were just as important as warfare in shaping these conquests – even for the Mosquito. Furthermore, this research demonstrates that many of the agents facilitating these commercial and diplomatic practices were people of color, with people of African descent playing particularly vital roles for both the Spanish and Mosquito alike. Finally, this dissertation develops new cartographic representations based on tangible processes, demonstrating how these conquests shaped geopolitical landscapes, though at the same time highlighting the limits of their influence.