Cover image for World without end : Spain, Philip II, and the first global empire
World without end : Spain, Philip II, and the first global empire
Thomas, Hugh, 1931-2017.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Random House, 2015.
Physical Description:
xviii, 463 pages: color illustrations, maps, genealogical charts ; 25 cm
"Following Rivers of Gold and The Golden Empire and building on five centuries of scholarship, World Without End is the epic conclusion of an unprecedented three-volume history of the Spanish Empire from 'one of the most productive and wide-ranging historians of modern times' (The New York Times Book Review). The legacy of imperial Spain was shaped by many hands. But the dramatic human story of the extraordinary projection of Spanish might in the second half of the sixteenth century has never been fully told--until now. In World Without End, Hugh Thomas chronicles the lives, loves, conflicts, and conquests of the complex men and women who carved up the Americas for the glory of Spain. Chief among them is the towering figure of King Philip II, the cultivated Spanish monarch whom a contemporary once called 'the arbiter of the world.' Cheerful and pious, he inherited vast authority from his father, Emperor Charles V, but nevertheless felt himself unworthy to wield it. His forty-two-year reign changed the face of the globe forever. Alongside Philip we find the entitled descendants of New Spain's original explorers--men who, like their king, came into possession of land they never conquered and wielded supremacy they never sought. Here too are the Roman Catholic religious leaders of the Americas, whose internecine struggles created possibilities that the emerging Jesuit order was well-positioned to fill. With the sublime stories of arms and armadas, kings and conquistadors come tales of the ridiculous: the opulent parties of New Spain's wealthy hedonists and the unexpected movement to encourage Philip II to conquer China. Finally, Hugh Thomas unearths the first indictments of imperial Spain's labor rights abuses in the Americas--and the early attempts by its more enlightened rulers and planters to address them. Written in the brisk, flowing narrative style that has come to define Hugh Thomas's work, the final volume of this acclaimed trilogy stands alone as a history of an empire making the transition from conquest to inheritance--a history that Thomas reveals through the fascinating lives of the people who made it. Praise for Hugh Thomas 'The great historian of the Spanish-speaking world.'--The Guardian. World Without End, 'Literary power is a vital part of a great historian's armoury. As in his earlier books, [Hugh] Thomas demonstrates here that he has this in abundance.'--Financial Times. 'A vivid climax to Hugh Thomas's three-volume history of imperial Spain.'--The Telegraph. The Golden Empire, 'Compelling. Thomas is acknowledged as one of the masters of grand narrative, and in this latest work he once again lights up a vivid tableau.'--The Wall Street Journal. '[A] gripping, old-fashioned narrative history, grand in scope and colorful in detail."--Publishers Weekly. Rivers of Gold, 'Magisterial. A grand and sweeping account of the world's transformation half a millennium ago.'--The New York Times Book Review. 'Big, bold, informative, and meticulously researched. It is the kind of "history in the grand manner" for which Thomas. is famous.'--The Washington Post"--

"World Without End is the climax of Hugh Thomas's great history of the Spanish Empire in the Americas. It describes the conquest of Paraguay and the River Plate, of the Yucatan in Mexico, the only partial conquest of Chile, and battles with the French over Florida, and then, in the 1580s, the extraordinary projection of Spanish power across the Pacific to conquer the Philippines. It also describes how the Spanish ran the greatest empire the world had seen since Rome -- as well as conquistadores, the book is peopled with viceroys, judges, nobles, bishops, inquisitors and administrators of many different kinds, often in conflict with one another, seeking to organize the native populations into towns, and to build cathedrals, hospitals and universities. Behind them -- sometimes ahead of them -- came the religious orders, the Franciscans, Dominicans, Augustinians, and finally the Jesuits, builders of convents and monasteries, many of them of astonishing beauty, and reminders of the pervasiveness of religion and the self-confidence of the age. Towering above them all, though moving rarely from his palace outside Madrid, is the figure of King Philip II, whom a contemporary called 'the arbiter of the world.' This is a supreme historical epic, full of valor and imagination, ambition and influence, ruthlessness and humanity"--
General Note:
Originally published: London, England : Allen Lane, 2014.
Prologue : A journey to Paris -- BOOK ONE: OLD SPAIN. -- King Philip II the enlightened despot -- King Philip the bureaucrat monarch -- King Philip and his empire -- An imperial theocracy -- The Jesuit challenge -- BOOK TWO: SPAIN IMPERIAL. -- Trouble in Mexico -- The sons of the conquistadors ask too much -- New Spain in peace -- Viceroy Toledo at work in Peru -- Convents and blessed ones -- Chile and its conquerors -- The conquest of Yucatan -- Conclusion in Yucatan -- A great conquistador from Asturias -- Franciscans in Yucatan -- The Rivers Plate and Paraguay -- The mad adventure of Lope de Aguirre -- Guiana and El Dorado -- BOOK THREE: THE IMPERIAL BACKCLOTH. -- Portugal joins Spain -- The money behind the conquests -- Piracy and buccaneering -- The galleon, a very narrow prison -- Populations discovered -- BOOK FOUR: THE EAST IN FEE. -- The conquest of the Philippine Islands -- Manila -- The temptation of China -- The conquest of China -- Epilogue : the age of administration.
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