Geschichte der Frühen Neuzeit




Fidel Tavárez (Berlin/Princeton): Empirical Statecraft: The Emergence of an Information Empire in the Eighteenth-Century Spanish Atlantic

Vortrag im Rahmen des Oberseminars Frühe Neuzeit


tavarez_120x171In the eighteenth century, Spain sponsored numerous research expeditions in order to collect scientific, administrative, cartographic, and economic information about its overseas territories. This talk will explore how and why information gathering became a central focus of Spanish imperial governance. While Spain had long engaged in colonial information gathering, it was during the eighteenth century that Spanish officials began to use colonial information deliberately to design imperial policy. Convinced that political and economic success in the modern age required making informed policy decisions, bureaucrats from both sides of the Atlantic decried the lack of accurate information as the main source of imperial misgovernment and ultimately assembled a large colonial depository in the court with empirical reports about the colonies. By weaving the histories of science, imperial governance, colonial information gathering, and the court’s political culture, this talk will demonstrate that the Spanish Atlantic became a vast and dynamic laboratory of the modern information age, a development that brought to the fore both the promise of knowledge-based governance and the perils of misinformation and distortion.

  • Zeit: 16-18 Uhr c.t.
  • Ort: Historicum, Raum K 026