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Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas : ¿ historia global, historia universal, historia ‎general ?‎

The Transatlantic Mediation of Historical Knowledge across the Iberian Empire (c1580-c1640)*

Fabien Montcher

Résumés

À l’époque du Political Turn des pratiques historiographiques dans l’Empire Ibérique (1580-1640), la mise en parallèle des carrières d’Antonio de Herrera et de l’autoproclamé expert en histoire Francisco Caro de Torres, permet d’étudier les relations entre les intermédiaires mondialisés de l’Empire avec les historiographes du roi résidant à Madrid. Cet article examine comment les discours liés à la défaite du corsaire Francis Drake à Panama (1596) furent négociés, censurés et réélaborés suivant les intérêts des groupes politiques en place à la cour à cette époque. L’allusion récurrente à la dernière expédition de Drake dans les histoires espagnoles de la première moitié du XVIIe siècle invite à penser les enjeux historiques et politiques de l’écriture de l’histoire récente de l’Empire Ibérique. Les trajectoires politiques de ces deux médiateurs politiques de la connaissance historique soulignent aussi la complémentarité des pratiques historiographiques des historiens royaux sous les règnes de Philippe II et Philippe III avec celles des mercenaires de l’histoire qui sous le règne de Philippe IV (1621-1665) contribuèrent à la mise en œuvre des grandes politiques d’histoire visant à optimiser les prises de décision politique au sein de l’Empire Ibérique.

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Introduction

  • *  This article forms part of work being carried out with the support of the Investigation Project of (...)
  • 1 ARCHIVO DE LOS DUQUES DE ALBA (ADA), caja 68187, Título de coronista mayor de las Indias para Anton (...)

1The fifteenth of May 1596, Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas (1549-1625) received the confirmation of his title of historiógrafo mayor de Indias1. In the midst of his nomination, the Council of the Indies at the Spanish Court in Madrid was dealing with news of Sir Francis Drake's recent sack of Nombre de Dios and his subsequent death in Panama. The political anxiety inspired by the memory of Drake's incursion in the Indies during the 70’s, on Cadiz in 1587, and his role in the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 made the news of the English privateer's death in January 1596 all the more welcome when it arrived in Madrid. However, Spanish celebrations were short lived, and the English looting of the city of Cádiz in June 1596 strengthened the feeling of desengaño (disillusionment) that affected all attempts to write a complete account of Philip’s II reign at the Spanish Court.

  • 2 Fernando Jesús BOUZA ÁLVAREZ, Imagen y propaganda. Capítulos de la historia cultural del reinado de (...)
  • 3 R. KAGAN, « Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas and the Political Turn in the Official History of Seve (...)

2In the face of the desengaño inspired by the victories of English privateers like Drake, the Hispanic Monarchy also confronted a series of plagues, bankruptcy, tax revolts, and inglorious campaigns that inspired political criticism2. These challenges motivated a reorientation of royal historiography toward the historical analysis of recent political issues, what Richard Kagan has termed the Political Turn3. This paper will demonstrate how an episode from the recent past, like Drake's expedition to Panama, was revised and reused by royal historiographers or would-be historians throughout the rule of the Philips. In fact, for several decades, the narrative of Drake's last expedition became a lens through which court rivalries not only were enacted, but also through which new forms of historiographical discourse were tested.

  • 4 Félix Arturo LOPE DE VEGA Y CARPIO, La Dragontea, ed. A. SÁNCHEZ JIMÉNEZ, Madrid : Cátedra, 2007, p (...)
  • 5 These reports were also printed in foreign languages and circulated in other European courts, for e (...)

3During the brief interval of time between the news of Drake's death in January 1596 and the death of Philip II in September 1598, an informal group of diplomatic agents, cultural intermediaries, writers and royal historians, like Antonio de Herrera, transformed the ambivalent news about Drake's sack of Nombre de Dios and his subsequent death by illness into a triumph for the monarchy. Different versions of the event then tried to attribute that triumph to the intervention of one good servant of the king. Lope de Vega's contribution to this transatlantic discussion, the epic novel La Dragontea, positioned one Diego Suárez de Amaya, the mayor (alcalde) of Nombre de Dios, as the hero of the Spanish triumph over Drake4. However, other agents also contributed to the narrative of those recent events in Panama as it was told and re-told in Madrid and across the Hispanic Monarchy in the form of relaciones de servicios, avisos, and other eyewitness reports which were transmitted to the court by soldiers and other agents who had been present at the events5. These agents and their relaciones infused official and unofficial histories with new information, which was also used to make arguments on behalf of different political factions at court and throughout the empire.

4Francisco Caro de Torres was the agent sent to Madrid to defend reputation of the Capitan General of Tierrafirme, Alonso de Sotomayor y Valmediano's (1545-1610) The parallel analysis of his version of Drake's defeat in Panama, and that of Antonio de Herrera as part of the elaboration of a global narrative of recent deeds, is fundamental to understanding the nature of the politics of history at the end of the reign of Philip II and the projection of that politics of history during the first part of the seventeenth century. At the end of the sixteenth century political action and prudence relied in a substantive part on historical analysis. Monarchs and their councilors were well aware that history was a necessity for politics, and the convergences of the information provided by agents like Caro de Torres with the work of historiographers like Herrera became indispensable for illustrating the good administration and prudence of the Monarchy.

  • 6 Concerning the Hispanic Monarchy as a spatial and temporal continuum see Fernando Jesús BOUZA ÁLVAR (...)
  • 7 R. KAGAN, Clio and the Crown…, p. 223-244.
  • 8 For Herrera’s version of the episode, in which the historiographer recognized the protagonism of So (...)

5Agents like Caro de Torres, who were used to moving across the Iberian Empire and within the court as if it were a spatial and temporal continuum, acted as historical and political experts and helped redefine the relations between political administration and the writing of history6. Caro de Torres, who was sent in Madrid in order to vindicate the « true historical account of Drake’s defeat » against Lope de Vega's version in La Dragontea (Valencia, 1598), had a career that would come to be considered paradigmatic for the « hired pens » who fueled the politics of history during Philip IV's reign (r. 1621-1665)7. Both Caro de Torres and Herrera maintained a conflict with Lope and his supporters from 1596 until at least 1620, and the competition between them shows how royal historiography overlapped with the information systems in place across the Atlantic. The parallel history of Herrera and Caro de Torres concerning the Drake episode demonstrates how official historiographers were able to negotiate information from the agents who would become the hired pens of the next generation of political historiography, and how those same hired pens were deeply influenced by the model of political royal historiographer embodied by Herrera8.

Official Historiography and the Fight for the Present: The Need for Political Information

  • 9 Among the many studies that Richard Kagan has dedicated to the life and career of Antonio de Herrer (...)
  • 10 R. KAGAN, art. cit., in : Chantal GRELL (dir.), Les historiographes en Europe…, p. 277-296.
  • 11 Herrera’s histories and translations were a direct motive for his appointment as royal historiograp (...)
  • 12 For more information about the political context that surrounded this polemic see the most recent s (...)

6The nomination of Antonio de Herrera as the royal historiographer of Indies in 1596 and subsequently of Castile in 1600, and his long career, took place in the midst of a climate of disillusionment (desengaño) that fostered the process of converting history, as a discourse and as a discipline, from an instrument of moral and political education of the Prince to a tool of State politics9. Herrera's appointment, as an historian of the present time, was motivated by a politics of history that intended to counterattack the critiques that Philip II had suffered since the 1580s on the international stage but also from his own territories10. Even before his appointment, Herrera made himself indispensable to the King's service by writing and translating contemporary histories. He offered a critical method for analyzing historical texts in order to unveil contemporary political claims and support political action11. Newly appointed in 1596, one of his first acts was to censor Lope de Vega's epic poem about Francis Drake's life and in particular the passages where Lope had attributed the glory of Drake's defeat to the alcalde of Nombre de Dios, Diego Suárez de Amaya, rather than to the military leader of the expeditions against Drake, the Capitan General of Tierrafirme, Alonso de Sotomayor, the very man Caro de Torres had journeyed to Madrid to defend12.

  • 13 As a soldier, ambassador, and man of letters, Vespasiano Gonzaga spent his life at the service of P (...)
  • 14 See Antonio de HERRERA Y TORDESILLAS, Los cinco primeros libros de los Annales de Cornelio Tacito [ (...)
  • 15 This idea was expressed in the letter that Gonzaga sent to the royal secretary of Philip II, Mateo (...)

7That Herrera's history, and his actions in his capacity as royal historiographer, aligned with the political factionalism of the court and of the empire was hardly surprising. Herrera had learned how to be both an historian and an advisor at the side of the condottieri Vespasiano Gonzaga (1531-1591), one of his early patrons13. As Vespasiano Gonzaga's secretary, Herrera became keenly aware that the writing of history was not a privilege limited to the monarchs or nobles who argued that they owned « their own history » by natural right, but that, in fact, history was a shared source of political pragmatism, open to whomsoever put it to the best use14. Herrera learned from Vespasiano Gonzaga that the experiences gained in the service of the King in his many territories could be complimented by a humanistic formation (such as Herrera's) that allowed the historian to articulate a critical discourse based on the many histories of these territories. For Vespasiano Gonzaga, the union between experience and the reading of history legitimated anyone who aspired to become a state counselor of the King15. As Vespasiano Gonzaga’s secretary, Herrera put this idea into practice and, beginning in the 1580s, started to write about the history of the world during Philip II’s reign. These early texts included the history of the Indies, and he also wrote about Milan, France, England and many other political subjects related to the Hispanic Monarchy. In Herrera’s mind, the writing of History was also deeply connected to the projects of political and socio-economic reforms that constituted the culture of reformist arbitrismo at the end of the sixteenth century. From the early stages of his career and then as a royal historiographer, Antonio de Herrera realized the importance of incorporating the many political statements about present times that were sent to the councils of the Monarchy in the forms of reports by agents across the empire.

  • 16 On the privilege that Lerma obtained to print specific books of history among other kinds see Alfre (...)
  • 17 Fabien MONTCHER, La historiografía real en el contexto de la interacción hispano-francesa (1598-163 (...)
  • 18 F. MONTCHER, « Acquérir, partager et contrôler l’information… ».
  • 19 R. KAGAN, Clio and the Crown…, p. 193.

8After the death of Philip II in 1598, the Duke of Lerma, the válido of the new King Philip III, expanded his control over the writing of history16. Family members of Lerma like fray Prudencio de Sandoval or other Lerma loyalists like the chronicler Atanasio de Lobera were appointed as royal historiographers during the first decade of Philip III’s reign in order to revive the project of writing the general history of Spain according to the traditional forms established by earlier historians like Ambrosio de Morales17. Lerma's historiographical policies were conservative, invoking the immemorial character of the peace he promoted, and none of his appointments was intended to occupy itself with the writing of present political history as Philip II's later historiographers had been tasked to do. Until 1608, Herrera was the only official historian whose expertise and experience with censorship was used by the councils of the monarchy to make decisions about what today would be considered current events18. In order to counter Herrera's presentist influence, in 1608 Lerma appointed the arbitrista, and a prestigious disciple of Arias Montano, Pedro de Valencia, as royal historiographer19.

  • 20 Concerning Herrera's involvement with historical polemics at court, see Antonio FEROS, El duque de (...)
  • 21 Herrera had just published in 1609 his Información en el hecho y relación de lo que passo en Milán (...)
  • 22 See F. MONTCHER, « Acquérir, partager et contrôler l’information… ».

9In the decade after Philip II's death, Herrera and Lerma often found themselves on opposite sides of historiographical discourse, and after Valencia’s appointment in 1608, Herrera became involved in the waves of criticism against Lerma’s valimiento which all converged around the affair of the Pasquines that appeared on the doors of the Madrid Alcazar20. Herrera finally went into exile, due, as his fellow historian Luis Cabrera de Córdoba cryptically recalled, to some suspicious relationships with Milanese friends21. At the same time, another political historian, the Jesuit Juan de Mariana also suffered Lerma's wrath and was sent to prison22. The Political Turn that began under Philip II and which was embodied by Herrera was nearly undone during the first years of Lerma's valimiento.

  • 23 AGI, Indiferente General, leg. 788. Quoted by Antonio Domínguez Ortiz, « La censura de obras histór (...)

10During Herrera’s absence from court, Pedro de Valencia was commissioned by the Council of Indies to write the history of the wars of Chile from 1536 to the present. Valencia refused to write about such recent events in order to maintain the good reputation of certain influential people and their children and also in order to limit the critiques against the deeds of the conquistadores in the Indies by refusing to provide more negative arguments to « foreigners and heretics »23. Valencia's refusal to engage with topics concerning the history of the present paved the way for Herrera's comeback to the court in 1612 and his definitive reestablishment in 1614. An operation of administrative dissimulation was organized in the Council of Indies in order to cover up the exile that Herrera had endured so that he could return to the court without suffering damage to his reputation as a political expert fully devoted to the service of the king. The Council had realized that the government institutions needed Herrera's writings, but that the access that he would have to state information could be hampered by a damaged reputation. The president of the Council of Indies thus ordered Herrera to present himself in front of the royal secretary of the Chamber of Castile and of the Council of State:

The president ordered that Antonio de Herrera should say the following in front of Tomás de Angulo:

  • 24 ARCHIVO GENERAL DE SIMANCAS (AGS), Cámara de Castilla, leg. 1001, doc. 6. All translations my own.

That he did not leave this court under suspension or sentence, but simply on the order of his majesty24.

11By giving this statement and insisting on his willingness to follow the king's command, Herrera's exile was wiped clean from the official record.

  • 25 ARCHIVO HISTÓRICO NACIONAL (AHN), Consejos, Escribanías de Cámara, Ayala, leg. 36211, carpeta 5.
  • 26 See Antonio de HERRERA Y TORDESILLAS, Relación y discurso histórico de los movimientos de Aragon [… (...)

12Now reinstated, on the 18th of March 1612, Herrera sent a memorial to the Chamber of Castile, asking for economic support in order to prepare the edition of his histories25. Part of the success of his later career, which was based on his mastery of political information at the court, depended on the way Antonio de Herrera was able to depict himself as the memory keeper of state secrets and the only historian capable of writing about the last decades of Philip II’s reign. Taking advantage of his return to the court in order to reestablish himself as a key political councilor in the guise of royal historiographer, Herrera completed his General History of the World during Philip II’s Reign, his Histories of the Indies and published his Relation and Historical Discourse of the Revolts of Aragon26.

  • 27 AHN, Consejos, Cámara de Castilla, Consultas de Gracia, leg. 4420, exp. 177.
  • 28 A sign of political desafection, Pedro Mantuano a constant would be historian during the reign of P (...)

13After Herrera’s return to the court, Lerma's political influence started to decline. The waning of Lerma's power was the backdrop to the appearance of Herrera's name on the list that the Chamber of Castile submitted to the king for candidates who could act as a regent for the post of archivist in Simancas during the minority of the child of the regular archivist, Antonio de Ayala27. In Europe and in France in particular during this time, other historiographers with similar profiles to that of Herrera began to obtain different posts in the archives, libraries and councils of the Monarchy as secretaries, librarians, archivists and historiographers. Although Herrera was not ultimately elected to the head of the archive of Simancas, neither was Valencia or Pedro de Mantuano, Lerma’s followers28. Lerma was at this time the alcaide of the Simancas Castle, and the Chamber of Castile's proposal of Herrera for the post was indicative of how his influence over the networks of historical and political information at the Spanish Court had been restored.

  • 29 On the editorial privilege that was granted to Lerma see Alfredo ALVAR EZQUERRA, El Duque de Lerma…(...)
  • 30 For a new set of considerations of official history in Europe at this time as going beyond the limi (...)
  • 31 The Political Turn of history writing around 1580, as Nicholas Popper has recently argued, was a Eu (...)

14Despite the efforts of Philip II and then Lerma to monopolize the historical discourse about recent times by establishing a historiographical dispositif intended to control the many versions of recent past histories29, though undertaken with very different methods and ends Herrera was never reduced to being a mere artisan of glory30. Herrera's trajectory must be interpreted as the missing link of a Political Turn that conditioned the writing of history from the end of the reign of Philip II in 1598 to Olivares's much later projects for creating a structure able to control historical propaganda during the reign of Philip IV (r. 1621-1665). Herrera was, after all, part of the generation of royal historiographers who benefitted from the project of a Junta de historiadores, which was first formulated in the 1570s, and the idea of which fostered the organization and centralization of the conciliar archives which Herrera used to such great effect in his writing. He would also be the longest-lived of this generation, working well in to the midst of the Thirty Years War. Herrera's death in 1626 occurred during the reopening of the secular conflict and propaganda wars between France and Spain, and it was these tensions that led to the actual establishment by the Count Duke of Olivares of the Junta de historiadores around 163531. In his own life and practices, Herrera embodied the continuity between the royal historiographers Philip II and III and the hired pens of Olivares during the reign of Philip IV.

Unofficial Historians and the Need for Global Historical Expertise

  • 32 Serge GRUZINSKI, Les quatre parties du monde. Histoire d’une mondialisation, Paris : La Martinière, (...)
  • 33 By the twenty-fifth of April of 1596, Caro de Torres had been in the Iberian Peninsula for some tim (...)
  • 34 Guillaume GAUDIN, Penser et gouverner le Nouveau Monde au XVIIe siècle, Paris : L’Harmattan, 2013, (...)

15Antonio de Herrera may have embodied the political turn of history in the Spanish court, but other informants contributed significantly to the way that historical knowledge was generated and circulated at this time. Part of his success in reshaping the practices of the historian into those of an omnipresent political counselor was Herrera's ability to use the historical knowledge that arrived from the « four parts of the world »32. An important example of this kind of information agent was Francisco Caro de Torres, who crossed the Atlantic from Panama to Madrid in 1596 in order to spread the news of the defeat of Drake and to celebrate the victory of his employer, the Captain General of Tierrafirme, Alonso de Sotomayor33. His report of his 1596 mission, printed in Madrid in 1620, is a telling document both about the practices of receiving information at court in 1596, and the way that such information could be reused in later representations for professional and political gain even at the much later date of 1620. In the next decades, the revived desengaño produced by Drake's memory supported the projects of the Council of Indies to limit the circulation of information concerning the New World34.

  • 35 Francisco CARO DE TORRES, Relación de los servicios que hizo a su Magestad del Rey Don Felipe Segun (...)
  • 36 The absence of the Prince, the future Philip III, is notorious. Alfredo Alvar, by doing a close rea (...)

16Caro de Torres described meticulously how once he arrived in Madrid he directed himself to the President of the Council of Indies, Pablo de Lagunas35. The President wrote him a letter of recommendation with which he then obtained an interview with Philip II. Despite the illness of the king at that time, Cristóbal de Moura, one of the King’s favorites, granted Caro de Torres access to the monarch. Philip II invited Caro de Torres to synthetize his history orally in front of him and the Princess, Isabel Clara Eugenia. Then the King ordered that the ayo (tutor) of the Prince, the Marquis of Velada, should accompany Caro de Torres in order that he could repeat the exact same history to the King's son and the ministers in charge of the prince's education36. After these interviews, Caro de Torres described other meetings that happened separately with the masters of the Prince and the members of the Council of Indies. Caro de Torres gave them an account of the deeds of his master Alonso de Sotomayor, in order to claim the graces he and his patron deserved.

  • 37 The Relación of Caro de Torres could be characterized as an hybrid text situated between history, a (...)

17Caro de Torres's 1620 re-written Relación of his 1596 mission at the court gives a glimpse into the way that political informants could act in much the same role as official historiographers. For example, when Caro de Torres described in detail his interview with the king and his access to the prince's household, his account is strikingly similar to other testimonies from the reign of Philip II that staged on paper the direct access and despacho a boca that historians had with the king as political counselors. The similarities between Caro de Torres's account and that of the royal historiographer of Castile, Esteban de Garibay (1533-1600), demonstrate that history was clearly and fluently debated between the councils of the monarchy and the most private spaces of royal power throughout the period of the Political Turn. Both the autobiography of the royal historiographer of Castile and the later publication of the relation of Caro de Torres adapted their historical writing to the current political truth. As Anne Teisser-Ensminger has argued, these metadiscourses were indisociable from the contents of the histories which, as juridical-literary artifacts, offered documentary proof of the political fidelity of their authors or subjects towards the King37.

  • 38 R. KAGAN, Clio and the Crown…, p. 124.

18Just as Garibay had done in the account of his own life as an historian, Caro de Torres drew a verbal map of his connections at the Court by mentioning men like sumiller de corps of the king Cristóbal de Moura, the tutor of the young prince Philip, the marquis of Velada, and the archbishop of Toledo and councilor of State García de Loaysa y Girón, all of whom were in charge of the education of the Prince. Herrera's name is not on this list, and indeed, there is no explicit trace of a direct relationship between Herrera and Caro de Torres. However, the same men who helped Caro de Torres access the king were members of the most exclusive political committee of Philip II (Junta de noche), formed by Moura, the Count of Chinchón and the royal secretary, Juan de Idiáquez. They were the very ones who had ensured Herrera's appointment as royal historiographer38. These men also supported Herrera's involvement with the princely education. Since the 1580s Herrera had maintained a close relationship with the royal secretary Juan de Idiáquez who ordered him to translate recent histories and the Reason of State by Botero, which would then be used as part of the educational program of the Prince. Both Herrera and Caro de Torres proved to be useful informants for the educational program of the prince.

19Political experts like Caro de Torres, whether officially appointed or employed on an ad hoc basis, provided important political counsel and educational materials for the royal household. Historical information, including the history of the present, could also be used to fuel the rivalries between different political factions attached to the court, whose partisans tried to take advantage of the historical information which had a privileged place in the royal attention in order to communicate strategic versions of events. The studies of Elizabeth Wright and Antonio Sánchez Jiménez concerning La Dragontea of Lope have shown that Caro de Torres and Antonio de Herrera's accounts of Alonso de Sotomayor's conflict with Drake was directly linked to the personal and professional disagreements that had arisen between Sotomayor and the alcalde of the city of Nombre de Dios, Diego Suárez de Amaya. Both of these men, Sotomayor and Suárez de Amaya, tried to vindicate the defeat of Drake in Panama by sending the King their own account of the events in order to assure their promotion within the Indies cursus honorum. Ultimately it was Sotomayor who would win the coveted position as head of the Audiencia of Panama.

  • 39 A. SÁNCHEZ JIMÉNEZ, art. cit., p. 572, A. K. JAMESON, « Lope de Vega’s La Dragontea : Historical an (...)
  • 40 On the global impulse of the epic tradition within the Iberian Empire and its importance in the his (...)
  • 41 On the choice of epic novel as a chronicle of Indies by Lope cf. Alejandro GARCÍA REIDY, « En torno (...)
  • 42 Consulta del Consejo de Indias sobre la conveniencia de recoger la Dragontea de Lope de Vega y se m (...)

20At the court in Madrid, Caro de Torres and Herrera's historical claims in favor of Alonso de Sotomayor were supported by the men that surrounded Philip II at the end of his reign. However, as Sánchez Jiménez has indicated, Diego Suárez de Amaya was in touch with factions who opposed Caro de Torres at the court. At this same time, Lope de Vega was commissioned to write his epic and offered access to the Drake documents by one of the members of the Lerma faction so that he could write La Dragontea, a work which favored Amaya's reputation39. At that time, Lerma was closely connected with the household of the Prince (the future Philip III), where Caro de Torres's pro-Sotomayor account had already been received, and may well have seen an opportunity to use the same channels to present a different version of the event. Whoever commissioned Lope's work, which showed Suárez de Amaya in a positive light, thought that using the epic genre would be a more attractive alternative to Caro de Torres's and Herrera's versions of the events40. In any event, in 1598 La Dragontea was conceived as a mirror for princes, with Prince Philip as the principle audience41. Lope hoped to win his own appointment as Royal Historiographer with this work. However, in 1599 Herrera in his capacity as royal censor halted publication of Lope's La Dragontea in Castile and in the Indies, although it was published in 1598 in Valencia42. Although Lope enjoyed Lerma's support, he was not able to influence the Prince's educational program as Herrera and Caro de Torres had done. After Lope's version had been blocked by Herrera, Caro de Torres left Spain and went back to Panama with the feeling of having fulfilled his mission.

  • 43 Ibidem, p. 577.
  • 44 Concerning the correspondence between historiographers and the Count of Gondomar see Carmen MANSO P (...)

21As Philip III's reign began and Lerma's power increased, Lope's Dragontea was finally published in Madrid in 1602 and 1605 as the third part of the edition of La hermosura de Angélica43. Meanwhile, Herrera remained the most active royal chronicler based at the court and maintained his old support system, like his friendship with Juan de Idiáquez and even with members of Lerma's extended family like Diego Sarmiento de Acuña44. Part of what Herrera offered was his access to recent information and a willingness to write that history when other historians like Valencia refused. The relationship of dependence between royal historians and agents like Caro de Torres, who traveled back and forth across the worlds of the Hispanic Monarchy, conditioned the political orientation of historical discourse, gradually reshaping what it meant to be an historiographer and to curate the political history of the recent past of the Monarchy.

  • 45 R. KAGAN, Clio and the Crown…, p. 223.

22With more and more frequency, the royal administration began to rely on the services of non-official historiographers, since most of the official historiographers, with the exception of Herrera, had been relegated to transitional dynastic chronicles. During the first decade of the reign of Philip IV, Caro de Torres in fact became one of those new « hired pens » of the politics of history by undertaking historiographical projects like the History of the Military Orders of Spain45. Caro de Torres had learned to dissociate himself from the royal historiographers, including Herrera, despite the fact that he was inspired by them, as demonstrated when he applied to be Herrera's successor to the office of historiographer of Indies after the latter's death in 1626.

  • 46 Francisco CARO DE TORRES, Historia de las Órdenes Militares de Santiago, Calatrava y Alcántara : de (...)
  • 47 Antonio BARRERA-OSORIO, Experiencing Nature. The Spanish American Empire and the Early Scientific R (...)

23By the time he arrived in Madrid in 1596 to give his account of Drake's last expedition, the Sevillian-born Francisco Caro de Torres had already lived through a tremendous variety of experiences, from being a young law student in Salamanca to living a life of fortune as a soldier and then becoming an Augustinian clerk on both sides of the Mediterranean and in the Atlantic worlds in less than two decades46. In the midst of the Arauco war, and after the appointment of Alonso de Sotomayor as governor of Chile, Caro de Torres enlisted in his service. After 1592, Caro de Torres accompanied Sotomayor to defend the province of Panama against Drake and in 1604 he followed the captain to Madrid as the political expert in charge of defending Sotomayor's reputation. Caro de Torres's trajectory reflects how official historians had to negotiate with people who were used to moving across the many kingdoms of the Iberian Empire and who presented themselves as the new eyewitnesses of the global politics of the Monarchy47. By the end of the reign of Philip II, the influx of experienced agents with privileged first-hand information from across the globe and access to court and editorial networks meant that the status of historian as eyewitness was redefined or at least shared among many self-appointed political and historical experts.

24As he fashioned himself into a global political and historical expert, Caro de Torres's mission went far beyond his trip to Spain in 1596 and its consequences lasted at least until the middle of the reign of Philip IV. Caro de Torres's career reveals the scope of the Political Turn in historiography at this time and underlines the limits of the contributions of royal historiographers like Herrera or the would-be historiographer Lope to the writing of the global and political history of the Iberian Empire.

The Afterlife of History: The Legacy of Herrera

25The telling and re-telling of the Drake episode throughout the reigns of Philip II and Philip III demonstrates how the rivalries between royal officials in the Indies, the reports made by their agents across the Atlantic, the censorship of the historiographers who wanted to block access to new candidates, all converged at the court in Madrid. The networks of circulation of historical and political information were highly heterogeneous. The case of Drake in Panama is only one example of how the same historical material could be used as a traditional narrative dedicated to vindicate the deeds of the King and his subjects, as a mirror for Princes made for educational purpose, or as legal evidence to support the competing claims to jurisdiction of Sotomayor or Amaya in Panama which was then deployed as a political tool in the factionalism at court.

26The many ways in which history circulated at the Court reflected how official history was unable to monopolize the political dimension of the past. The multiplication of many historical accounts similar to that of Caro de Torres, proceeding from the four parts of the world, retained the attention of the monarch and his counselors and fostered the activity of Herrera as a specialist trained to sift through and select the accounts that would be incorporated to his historical works.

27The mission of Caro de Torres might have remained only an anecdote if it were limited to the polemics that occurred at the end of the reign of Philip II. However, after his return to Panama and his final trip to Madrid with Alonso de Sotomayor in 1604, Caro de Torres continued to vindicate the memory and the rights of Alonso de Sotomayor using the Drake episode. Alonso de Sotomayor was later appointed as one of the counselors of Indies, and from that position he was well placed to facilitate the work of Caro de Torres with official documents. After the death of his patron in 1610, Caro de Torres became the executor of Sotomayor's will (albacea) and pursued the vindication of his former master's deeds at court in Madrid in order to help Sotomayor's sons access the benefits of their father's services.

28As discussed above, in Madrid in 1620, Caro de Torres published the Relación of his 1596 mission in order to prove and make public the services of his patron for a new generation and new groups of power. The edition of such a Relación was not a novelty, but Caro de Torres made innovative use of all the typographical recourses that were available to him in order to sustain the claims of his text, including the publishing official documents with their official signature, assuring that even if they were copies they carried the record of their certification. These typographical strategies, though motivated by the personal interests of the Sotomayor family, helped establish Caro de Torres's printed Relación as the most authoritative account in Spanish historiography of Drake's final expedition.

29Between its initial oral delivery in 1596 and its printed publication in 1620, the Relación demonstrated the development of an alternative approach to official historiography, one which was produced outside official court circles by a series of people who had mastered techniques of publication in order to criticize official historians and use historical accounts for their own ends. Caro de Torres argued that:

  • 48 F. CARO DE TORRES, « Prólogo a los lectores », Relación de los servicios…

[…] Lope de Vega wrote a book called the Dragontea about that expedition, which among his works was based on primary information that attributed the glory of the event to one who did not deserve it, taking away from he who did deserve it [...], and many people mentioned in the work have read it and persuaded me to print the version that I gave to his majesty. In accordance with their wishes I had it printed so that the chroniclers of his majesty may commemorate the expedition and the services rendered by don Alonso de Sotomayor, who, being not very vain and even less in the habit of submitting reports on behalf of his own services to the historians of the time, has been relegated [by those historians] to oblivion, and treated so briefly that they practically do not mention his services at all48.

  • 49 F. CARO DE TORRES, Historia…, Prólogo.
  • 50 Cf. José GARCÍA ORO and María José PORTELA SILVA, « Felipe III y sus cronistas : candidaturas y mér (...)
  • 51 E. WRIGHT, « El enemigo en un espejo de príncipes… ».
  • 52 Félix Arturo LOPE DE VEGA Y CARPIO, Epistolario, Agustín GONZÁLEZ DE AMEZÚA Y MAYO (ed.), Madrid : (...)
  • 53 AGS, Escribanía Mayor de Rentas, Quitaciones de Corte, leg. 8-1 (primera parte), f. 374.

30Caro de Torres used the printed version of his Relación to bring up to date the polemics that more than twenty years before had set him against Lope de Vega. In 1617 and 1620-1621, Caro de Torres again insisted that Lope was an untruthful historian that followed the vulgo and deceived Christian readers49. These later attacks were motivated by Lope's renewed attempts to obtain a nomination as royal historiographer in 1620-162150. Lope reprinted La Dragontea as part of the 16th part of his Obras dramáticas, trying this time to obtain Olivares's attention by dedicating the edition to him51. During this campaign, Lope's patron, the Duke of Sessa, requested the support and mediation of Lerma but by that time the political situation was not in Lerma's favor, or of those he supported52. In 1621, Herrera benefited from the favor of the powerful men close to Philip IV, such as the Count Duke of Olivares and his uncle Baltasar de Zúñiga. Herrera was honored with the title of royal secretary, an appointment that was the crowning achievement of the career of an historian who conceived of his life as one of a political counselor53.

  • 54 On the project to confer the history of the military orders of Calatrava, Santiago and Alcántara to (...)
  • 55 Francisco CARO DE TORRES, Historia….
  • 56 It is significant that other members of Lerma’s clan, who supposedly supported Lope's historical ve (...)

31During the very first years of Philip IV’s reign, Caro de Torres was declared to be one of the heirs of the project of the history of military orders started by Francisco de Rades y Andrada. This project was commissioned at the beginning of the reign of Philip III by the Count of Gondomar, one of Herrera's friends and Lerma's relative54. Caro de Torres received the order to finish the history of the military orders and published the results of his works in 162955. As a Sevillian he may well have been close to the Sevillian faction that surrounded Olivares at the court56.

  • 57 Two years after the publication of his Relación, in 1622, another candidate to the office of royal (...)

32In his Relación and again in his Historia of the military orders, Caro de Torres presented himself as an eyewitness, invalidating the old conception that only royal historiographers were legitimate eyewitnesses57. In the Prologue of his Historia, referring to his move to Peru with the Count of Villar, Caro de Torres mentioned that:

  • 58 F. CARO DE TORRES, Historia…, Prólogo.

For his [the Count of Villar] enjoyment we read the histories written in our language about the wars in Italy and Flanders as well as those of the Indies. I read about many things which had happened in my presence which were very different than what I had seen, heard, and observed. With that caution in mind, when I arrived in Peru, I informed myself about the [past deeds of] the Spaniards as well as those of the Indios, who conserve the memory of their ancestors and their histories with their knots58.

  • 59 Ibid.
  • 60 « [...] thus, for having stressed the fact that the « verdades » of the conquests of the Indies as (...)

33Although Caro de Torres does not seem to have developed a deep interest in early ethnographic methods to interpret the histories of the indios, despite his claim, he fashioned himself as a conscientious history reader who fully integrated his considerations of American history into other histories from other parts of the Hispanic Monarchy. Even if he did not have access to the benefits which went along with the title of royal historiographer, Caro de Torres recalled how he gained access to documents and dealt with the royal councils which were the institutions that authenticated the political truth of the recent histories at this time59. As a descendent of Spanish Conquistadores and the heir of an oral tradition, Caro de Torres advocated for the inclusion of the forgotten memories of masters, captains and knights of the military orders in the general narratives of the history of the Monarchy, and it was this position which ultimately led him to be commissioned to write his history of the military orders in 162960. His text interpreted the history of those orders as a pact between the King, perceived as the perpetual and good administrator of the three military orders of Santiago, Alcántara and Calatrava, and its captains.

  • 61 R. KAGAN, « Imágenes y política en la corte de Felipe IV de España : nuevas perspectivas sobre el S (...)
  • 62 See Santiago Martínez Hernández, « Aristocracia y anti-olivarismo : El proceso al marqués de Castel (...)
  • 63 José Antonio Guillén Berrendero, « Valores nobiliarios, libros y linajes : Rodrigo Méndez de Silva, (...)

34Caro de Torres's historical reading of the relationship between the King and the military orders presaged the later project that Olivares started with the iconographic program of the Salon of the Realms at the Retiro Palace in Madrid, in which the services of the great captains were celebrated as the foundation of the Spanish empire61. Caro de Torres's 1620 Relación and 1629 Historia were complementary works in which the individual memory of the services of Alonso de Sotomayor, knight of Santiago, and the collective memory of all the knights of all the military orders, were offered to the King. Both the history and the pictorial project of the Salon of the Realms appeared in the midst of the disaffections of many nobles with the court and against Olivares's politics62. Additionally, as a genealogist and a censor, Caro de Torres participated, along with the tacitist historian and Olivares's « hired pen » the marquis of Malvezzi, in what José Antonio Guillén Barrendero has recently analyzed as the process of constitution and representation of the Olivares and Olivarist nobility63.

Conclusion

  • 64 Sanjay Subrahmanyam, « On World Historians in the Sixteenth Century », Representations, 91, 2005, p (...)

35Herrera refused to commit himself to the traditional view of royal historiographers who were involved with the trans-generational project of writing a general history of Spain as Florian de Ocampo or Ambrosio de Morales did during the reign of Philip II. His interest in the experiences of men like Caro de Torres can help explain his professional longevity. Herrera decided early during his career as an historian to focus on the writing of political and global contemporary history64. His relationships with men like Caro de Torres allowed him to position himself as a royal councilor who, thanks to his translation and linguistic skills and position at court, was able to summarize the many historical accounts sent by the eyes of the king from across the four parts of the world and which were received by the councils of the Monarchy.

  • 65 See Bethany ARAM, Leyenda negra y leyendas doradas en la conquista de América: Pedrarías y Balboa, (...)
  • 66 About this practice at the Spanish court see F. MONTCHER, « La carta como taller historiográfico… » (...)

36Although there is no proof of any direct relationship between Herrera and Caro de Torres, in his Relación Caro de Torres mentioned the dispute that Herrera maintained during the first decade of the seventeenth century with the Count of Puñonrostro over Herrera's critical portrayal of the memory of his ancestors, Pedrarias de Ávila65. The Council of Indies was favorable to Herrera's claim and the version of the Count Puñonrostro was dismissed. Years later, Caro de Torres used this episode to argue about the necessary independence of historians to publish the deeds that official historiographers had not mentioned in their earlier histories. Caro de Torres criticized the limitations of the system that required agents to send memoriales to the official historiographers if they wanted their information to appear in the printed version of the histories supported by the King66. Nonetheless, by comparing his defense of Alonso de Sotomayor's memory against the pretensions of Diego Suárez de Amaya to Herrera's defense of his history against Puñonrostro, Caro de Torres distinguished Herrera from the other royal historiographers that he attacked in his Relación.

  • 67 For a further discussion of Herrera's later career, see F. MONTCHER, « Acquérir, partager et contrô (...)

37Herrera's skills as a censor and his contacts with men like Caro de Torres contributed to reducing the influence of men like Lope who were in direct competition for Herrera's post. It was a time of crisis for the institution of the royal historiographer. Philip III was not even aware of who his chroniclers were and had to request from the Chamber of Castile a list of the people who held the office. The retirement of Pedro de Valencia, who in the end thought of himself as a humanist rather than a political historian, and his and Prudencio de Sandoval's deaths around 1621, meant that Herrera, was for a long time the only political historian at the court. In fact, Herrera was never granted a license to retire from the court. His connections with the new group that obtained power at the end of Philip III's reign pushed him to publish several works about recent historical polemics. He also acted as a counselor to the Cortes of Castile at this time. Close to the end of his life, after many years of defending himself as a political historian of the present, one of his last acts was to serve as a witness in beatification process of the medieval king Alfonso VIII, victor at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa67.

38Meanwhile, the publication of the Relación of Caro de Torres in 1620 helped situate its author in the list of candidates who hoped to gain a title as royal historiographer. Lope de Vega was also running for the same post and Caro de Torres’ Relación was meant to renew the attacks against Lope as an unfaithful historian, by highlighting the differences between the two representations of the Drake episode and asserting that Caro de Torres's version was the more politically reliable. In any case, neither Caro de Torres nor Lope was appointed as royal historiographer of the Indies despite the fact that Caro de Torres continued to compete for the title of Herrera after his death in 1626.

39Herrera learned to deal with information agents like Caro de Torres, many of whom were moving on the edge of the political legality as defined by the most powerful groups at this time like the factions of Lerma or Olivares. Caro de Torres was well read and became one of the most active historians and historical censors, alongside Olivares’s famous « hired pens » at the court of Philip IV, like Virgilio Malvezzi or the French Jesuit Librarian of the Escorial, Claudio Clemente. More than a reaction against royal historiography, the apparition of « hired pens » that is linked with the politics of history of Philip IV’s reign was the result, on the one hand, of the political orientation of royal historiography at the court that had been incarnated by Antonio de Herrera, and, on the other hand, of the dynamics of information transmitted by men like Caro de Torres, used to crossing from the furthest reaches of the empire into the heart of the court's historiographical debates.

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Notes

*  This article forms part of work being carried out with the support of the Investigation Project of the National Plan of I+D+i, financed by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, housed by the state agency, Spanish Council of Scientific Research (CSIC), under the direction of Dr. Alfredo Alvar Ezquerra, the title of which is « La escritura del recuerdo en primera persona : Diarios, memorias, y correspondencia de reyes, embajadores y cronistas (siglos XVI-XVII) » (reference number HAR2011-30251).

1 ARCHIVO DE LOS DUQUES DE ALBA (ADA), caja 68187, Título de coronista mayor de las Indias para Antonio de Herrera and Archivo General de Indias (AGI), Indiferente General, legajo 743, nº209.

2 Fernando Jesús BOUZA ÁLVAREZ, Imagen y propaganda. Capítulos de la historia cultural del reinado de Felipe II, Madrid : Akal, 1998, chap. 5 and Richard L. KAGAN, Lucrecia’s Dreams : Politics and Prophecy in Sixteenth-Century Spain, Berkeley : University of California Press, 1990.

3 R. KAGAN, « Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas and the Political Turn in the Official History of Seventeenth-Century Spain », in : Chantal GRELL (dir.), Les historiographes en Europe. De la fin du Moyen Âge à la Révolution, Paris : Presses de l’Université Paris-Sorbonne, 2006, p. 277-296. Philip II has been reluctant to authorize publication of the history of the reign of his father Charles V and his own during most of his reign. See R. KAGAN, El rey recatado: Felipe II, la historia y los cronistas del rey, Valladolid: Universidad de Valladolid, 2004.

4 Félix Arturo LOPE DE VEGA Y CARPIO, La Dragontea, ed. A. SÁNCHEZ JIMÉNEZ, Madrid : Cátedra, 2007, p. 46-80.

5 These reports were also printed in foreign languages and circulated in other European courts, for example, in Rome. See Bernardino BECCARI, Avviso della morte di Francesco Drac e del mal successo dell’armata inglese piche partí dal Nome di Dio, dove s’intende como e in qual luoco detta armata fu giunta dall’armata del Re Catolico e il combattimento che fecero alli 11 del mese di marzo 1596, Roma : Nicolò Mutii, 1596. See also María del Carmen SIMÓN PALMER, « Panamá en la literatura española del Siglo de Oro », Revista Iberoamericana, 67 (196), 2001, p. 475-496.

6 Concerning the Hispanic Monarchy as a spatial and temporal continuum see Fernando Jesús BOUZA ÁLVAREZ, « Entre vidas atlánticas y letras medievales. Por una historia de los usos de la memoria de lo medieval en el Siglo de Oro », in : José Ramón DÍAZ DE DURANA ORTIZ DE URBINA, José Antonio MUNITA LOINAZ (coords.), La apertura de Europa al mundo atlántico. Espacios de poder, economía marítima y circulación cultural, Bilbao : Universidad del País Vasco, 2011, p. 203-223, p. 209.

7 R. KAGAN, Clio and the Crown…, p. 223-244.

8 For Herrera’s version of the episode, in which the historiographer recognized the protagonism of Sotomayor but also the importance, albeit lesser, of the deeds of Suárez de Amaya, see Antonio de HERRERA Y TORDESILLAS, Tercera parte de la historia general del mundo […], Madrid : Alonso Martin de Balboa, 1612, liv. XVII, cap. I, p. 596-599.

9 Among the many studies that Richard Kagan has dedicated to the life and career of Antonio de Herrera see R. KAGAN, Los cronistas y la Corona : la política de la historia en España en las edades media y moderna, Madrid: Marcial Pons and Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica, 2010, p. 181-282. See also Mariano CUESTA DOMINGO, Antonio de Herrera y su obra, Segovia: Colegio Universitario de Segovia, 1998 and Fabien MONTCHER, « Acquérir, partager et contrôler l’information sous le règne de Philippe III d’Espagne. Le cas de l’historiographe royal Antonio de Herrera (1549-1626) », Circé. Histoires, Cultures & Sociétés [Online], 1, 2012, URL : http://www.revue-circe.uvsq.fr/spip.php?article7.

10 R. KAGAN, art. cit., in : Chantal GRELL (dir.), Les historiographes en Europe…, p. 277-296.

11 Herrera’s histories and translations were a direct motive for his appointment as royal historiographer of the Indies. His work was part of the effort in the 1590s of creating a corpus of political theory. Herrera's translation of Botero's Reason of State (1592) was part of a general movement influenced by Tacitist political theories such as Bernardino de Mendoza's translation of Lipsius (1604), Juan de Mariana's De rege et regis institutione (1599), Añastro Ysunza's translation of the Republic of Bodin (1590), among others. See AGI, Indiferente General 426, L. 28, f. 249-51.

12 For more information about the political context that surrounded this polemic see the most recent studies of Antonio SÁNCHEZ JIMÉNEZ, « Lope, historiador de Indias : las fuentes documentales de la « La Dragontea », Anuario Lope de Vega, 13, 2007, p. 133-152; id., « Muy contrario a la verdad » Los documentos del Archivo General de Indias sobre « La Dragontea » y la polémica entre Lope y Antonio de Herrera », Bulletin of Spanish Studies : Hispanic Studies and Research on Spain, Portugal and Latin America, 85 (5), 2008, p. 569-580, Elizabeth R. WRIGHT, « Epic and Archive : Lope de Vega, Francis Drake and the Council of Indies », Calíope :Journal of the Society for Renaissance and Baroque Hispanic Society, 3 (2), 1997, p. 37-55, id., Pilgrimage to Patronage : Lope de Vega and the Court of Philip III, 1598-1621, Lewisburg : Bucknell University Press, 2001, p. 24-51 and id., « El enemigo en un espejo de príncipes : Lope de Vega y la creación del Francis Drake español », Cuadernos de Historia Moderna, 26, 2001, p. 115-130.

13 As a soldier, ambassador, and man of letters, Vespasiano Gonzaga spent his life at the service of Philip II in Italy and as the solicitor general of Navarre (1572) and as the Vice-Roy of Valencia (1575-1578). Gonzaga’s passion for military architecture and reading history influenced Herrera in the early stages of his career as his secretary. See Gian Claudio CIVALES, « La formazione e l’ascesa di Vespasiano Gonzaga Colonna, un principe italiano al servizio degli Asburgo », in : José MARTÍNEZ MILLÁN and Manuel RIVERO RODRÍGUEZ (coords.), Centros de poder italianos en la Monarquía Hispánica (siglos XV-XVIII), Madrid : Polifemo, 2008, 1, p. 163-206.

14 See Antonio de HERRERA Y TORDESILLAS, Los cinco primeros libros de los Annales de Cornelio Tacito […], Madrid: Juan de la Cuesta, 1615.

15 This idea was expressed in the letter that Gonzaga sent to the royal secretary of Philip II, Mateo Vázquez de Leca, on the 16th of May 1577. See INSTITUTO VALENCIA DE DON JUAN (IVDJ), envío 10, carpeta 18, f. 460.

16 On the privilege that Lerma obtained to print specific books of history among other kinds see Alfredo Alvar Ezquerra, El Duque de Lerma: corrupción y desmoralización en la España del siglo XVII, Madrid : La Esfera de los libros, 2010 and Luis Cervera Vera, « La imprenta ducal de Lerma. El Duque de Lerma y las fundaciones en su villa antes de su cardenalato », Boletín de la Institución Fernán González, 48, 1970, p. 76-96.

17 Fabien MONTCHER, La historiografía real en el contexto de la interacción hispano-francesa (1598-1635), Ph.d dissertation [Online], Madrid : Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 2013.

18 F. MONTCHER, « Acquérir, partager et contrôler l’information… ».

19 R. KAGAN, Clio and the Crown…, p. 193.

20 Concerning Herrera's involvement with historical polemics at court, see Antonio FEROS, El duque de Lerma: realeza y privanza en la España de Felipe III, Madrid : Marcial Pons, 2002, p. 21 and R. KAGAN, Clio and the Crown..., p. 189. Fernando Bouza has signaled that after the appearance of the pasquines against Lerma on the doors of Alcazar Palace in Madrid, the vigilance over writing at the court increased notably between 1608 and 1610. See Fernando Jesús BOUZA ÁLVAREZ, « Quién escribe dónde. Autoría y lucha política : los pasquines del Alcázar (1608) », in : Fernando Jesús BOUZA ÁLVAREZ, Papeles y opinión. Políticas de publicación en el Siglo de Oro, Madrid : CSIC, 2008, p. 95-110, p. 198.

21 Herrera had just published in 1609 his Información en el hecho y relación de lo que passo en Milán en las competencias, entre las jurisdicciones eclesiástica y seglar, desde el año de 1595 hasta el de 1598, Madrid: Luis Sánchez, 1609.

22 See F. MONTCHER, « Acquérir, partager et contrôler l’information… ».

23 AGI, Indiferente General, leg. 788. Quoted by Antonio Domínguez Ortiz, « La censura de obras históricas en el siglo XVII español », Chronica Nova, 19, 1991, p. 113-121.

24 ARCHIVO GENERAL DE SIMANCAS (AGS), Cámara de Castilla, leg. 1001, doc. 6. All translations my own.

25 ARCHIVO HISTÓRICO NACIONAL (AHN), Consejos, Escribanías de Cámara, Ayala, leg. 36211, carpeta 5.

26 See Antonio de HERRERA Y TORDESILLAS, Relación y discurso histórico de los movimientos de Aragon […], Madrid : Imprenta Real, 1612.

27 AHN, Consejos, Cámara de Castilla, Consultas de Gracia, leg. 4420, exp. 177.

28 A sign of political desafection, Pedro Mantuano a constant would be historian during the reign of Philip III, give his censure of Caro de Torres relation in 1617 and became one of his support by criticizing with a huge sense of opportunity the fact that Caro de Torres historical account of Sotomayor deeds complete the unachieved and incomplete histories of royal historiographers.

29 On the editorial privilege that was granted to Lerma see Alfredo ALVAR EZQUERRA, El Duque de Lerma… and Luis CERVERA VERA, art. cit..

30 For a new set of considerations of official history in Europe at this time as going beyond the limits of propagandistic practices and uses see the seminal collective work directed by Ch. GRELL, op. cit.

31 The Political Turn of history writing around 1580, as Nicholas Popper has recently argued, was a European phenomenon whose origins can be traced to the civil politics arising out of religious conflict. A new frame of interpretation of the recent past was needed and many historians across Europe attempted to spread a political interpretation of this history offering a reflection inspired by the raised of the theory of Reason of State, Tacitism that tried to create a compromise between confessions, converting politics into the key of religious conversion. See Nicholas POPPER, Walter Raleigh’s History of the World and the Historical Culture of the Late Renaissance, Chicago–London : The University of Chicago Press, 2012.

32 Serge GRUZINSKI, Les quatre parties du monde. Histoire d’une mondialisation, Paris : La Martinière, 2004.

33 By the twenty-fifth of April of 1596, Caro de Torres had been in the Iberian Peninsula for some time. At this time, he already received an economic compensation of five hundred ducats for the good news he brought to the Court. The twelfth of May, a royal cédula was released which confirmed these mercedes. The information that he communicated was judged to be as good as that which had been brought in a few months before about the defeat of Drake that occurred in the port of San Juan in September 1595. AGI, Panamá, 1, nº86.

34 Guillaume GAUDIN, Penser et gouverner le Nouveau Monde au XVIIe siècle, Paris : L’Harmattan, 2013, p. 234.

35 Francisco CARO DE TORRES, Relación de los servicios que hizo a su Magestad del Rey Don Felipe Segundo y Tercero, don Alonso de Sotomayor del abito de Santiago, y comendador de Villamayor, del Consejo de Guerra de Castilla en los Estados de Flandes, y en las Provincias de Chile, y Tierrafirme, donde fue Capitan General, e&c, Madrid : Por la viuda de Cosme Delgado, 1620.

36 The absence of the Prince, the future Philip III, is notorious. Alfredo Alvar, by doing a close reading of the « memories » of Esteban de Garibay, has noticed that the allusion to the absence of the Prince during public lecture of history in the King’s room was maybe a manner to signify the lack of concentration and dedication of the Prince to political prudence. It could be also interpreted that at this time, around 1596, after being introduced by his father to the daily meeting of the Councils, the Prince's education was separated from that of the Princess Isabel Clara Eugenia. At this time a new political faction, focused on influencing the Prince, was growing around the figure of the future Duke of Lerma. See Esteban de GARIBAY Y ZAMALLOA, Discurso de mi vida, ed. Jesús MOYA, Bilbao: Universidad del Pais Vasco, 1999 and Alfredo Alvar Ezquerra, « Esteban de Garibay (1533-1599) », in : http://www.proyectos.cchs.csic.es/humanismoyhumanistas/esteban-de-garibay-biografia.

37 The Relación of Caro de Torres could be characterized as an hybrid text situated between history, autobiography, relación de servicios y/o avisos (news). On the importance of autobiographies of historians at the end of the sixteenth century in Europe see Jacques-Auguste de THOU, La vie de Jacques-Auguste de Thou. I. Aug. Thuani vita, Anne TEISSIER-ENSMINGER (ed.), Paris : Honoré Champion, 2007.

38 R. KAGAN, Clio and the Crown…, p. 124.

39 A. SÁNCHEZ JIMÉNEZ, art. cit., p. 572, A. K. JAMESON, « Lope de Vega’s La Dragontea : Historical and Literary Sources », Hispanic Review, 6, 1968, p. 104-119 and Jean-Louis Flecniakoska, « Lope de Vega propagandiste nationaliste : La Dragontea, 1598 », in : Hommage des hispanistes français à Noël Salomon, Barcelona : Laia, 1979, p. 321-333.

40 On the global impulse of the epic tradition within the Iberian Empire and its importance in the historical culture during the reign of Philip II see Elizabeth WRIGHT, « Enredos historiográficos: Lope ante Lepanto », Anuario Lope de Vega. Texto, literatura, cultura, 18, 2012, p. 146-174, p. 152 and Mercedes BLANCO, « Cantaste, Rufo, tan heroicamente. La batalla de Lepanto y la cuestión del poema heroico », in : Francisco BAUTISTA PÉREZ and Jimena GAMBA CORRADINE (eds.), Estudios sobre la Edad Media, el Renacimiento y la temprana Edad Moderna, San Millán de la Cogolla : SEMYR, 2010, p. 477-512. The many historical plays that Lope was commissioned to write throughout his career did not bring him more support for his goal of obtaining the title of royal historiographer. See Teresa FERRER VALLS, « Lope de Vega y la dramatización de la materia genealógica », Cuadernos de Teatro Clásico : Teatro Cortesano en la España de los Austrias, 10, 1998, p. 215-231.

41 On the choice of epic novel as a chronicle of Indies by Lope cf. Alejandro GARCÍA REIDY, « En torno a La Dragontea : Lope de Vega y su primer asalto a la poesía culta », in: Verónica ARENAS LOZANO et al. (eds.), Líneas actuales de investigación literaria. Estudios de literatura hispánica, Valencia : Universidad de Valencia, 2002, p. 231-240 and E. WRIGHT, Pilgrimage to Patronage...

42 Consulta del Consejo de Indias sobre la conveniencia de recoger la Dragontea de Lope de Vega y se mande que no sé de licencia para imprimir libro de indias sin que se vea primero en el Consejo de Indias, AGI, Indiferente 745, r. 6, n. 227. Published by José TORRE REVELLO, El libro, la imprenta y el periodismo en América durante la dominación española, Buenos Aires : Jacobo Peuser, 1945, p. 45. Quoted by A. SÁNCHEZ JIMÉNEZ, art. cit., p. 576.

43 Ibidem, p. 577.

44 Concerning the correspondence between historiographers and the Count of Gondomar see Carmen MANSO PORTO, Don Diego Sarmiento de Acuña, conde de Gondomar (1567-1626). Erudito, mecenas y bibliófilo, Santiago de Compostela: Xunta de Galicia, 1996 and Fabien MONTCHER, « La carta como taller historiográfico. Elaboración y circulación de materia genealógica entre Alonso López de Haro y Diego Sarmiento de Acuña (1608-1620) », in : Manuel Joaquín SALAMANCA LÓPEZ (dir.), La materialidad histórica : nuevos enfoques para su interpretación, Oviedo : Instituto de Estudios para la Paz y la Cooperación, 2011, p. 88-162.

45 R. KAGAN, Clio and the Crown…, p. 223.

46 Francisco CARO DE TORRES, Historia de las Órdenes Militares de Santiago, Calatrava y Alcántara : desde su fundación hasta el rey don Filipe Segundo […], Madrid : Juan Gonçalez, 1629, Prólogo.

47 Antonio BARRERA-OSORIO, Experiencing Nature. The Spanish American Empire and the Early Scientific Revolution, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2006 and Arndt Brendecke, Imperio e información: funciones del saber en el dominio colonial español, Madrid & Frankfurt am Main : Iberoamericana & Vervuert, 2012.

48 F. CARO DE TORRES, « Prólogo a los lectores », Relación de los servicios…

49 F. CARO DE TORRES, Historia…, Prólogo.

50 Cf. José GARCÍA ORO and María José PORTELA SILVA, « Felipe III y sus cronistas : candidaturas y méritos », in : Camilo FERNÁNDEZ CORTIZO et al. (eds.), Universitas. Homenaje a A. Eiras Roel, Santiago de Compostela: Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, 2002, 1, p. 255-279.

51 E. WRIGHT, « El enemigo en un espejo de príncipes… ».

52 Félix Arturo LOPE DE VEGA Y CARPIO, Epistolario, Agustín GONZÁLEZ DE AMEZÚA Y MAYO (ed.), Madrid : Aldus, 1943, 4, p. 288.

53 AGS, Escribanía Mayor de Rentas, Quitaciones de Corte, leg. 8-1 (primera parte), f. 374.

54 On the project to confer the history of the military orders of Calatrava, Santiago and Alcántara to the future count of Gondomar see ACTAS DE LAS CORTES DE CASTILLA, junio 1603, 21, p. 426-433 and F. MONTCHER, « La carta como taller… », p. 97.

55 Francisco CARO DE TORRES, Historia….

56 It is significant that other members of Lerma’s clan, who supposedly supported Lope's historical version of the defeat of Drake in Panama in 1598, like Pedro Mantuano,, decided in 1617 to support Caro de Torres claims with is aprobación for his Relación by saying that Relación contained « things relative to the State never told by anybody ». Political experts like Mantuano were above all historiographical mercenaries, the precursors to the « hired pens » of Olivares.

57 Two years after the publication of his Relación, in 1622, another candidate to the office of royal historiographer, Alonso López de Haro mentioned the mission of Francisco Caro de Torres in his Nobiliario. Both works contributed to support the reputation of the next generation of historiographers at the court. See Alonso LÓPEZ DE HARO, Nobiliario genealógico de los reyes y títulos de España […], Madrid : Luis Sánchez, p. 218.

58 F. CARO DE TORRES, Historia…, Prólogo.

59 Ibid.

60 « [...] thus, for having stressed the fact that the « verdades » of the conquests of the Indies as written by Spanish historians were so different from what really happened, and as I am the son of one of the first conquistadores, from whom I heard tell in my first years there about what had happened and what he had seen, and that the histories of Italy and Flanders that I have consulted suffered from the same defect [...] », ibid., Prólogo.

61 R. KAGAN, « Imágenes y política en la corte de Felipe IV de España : nuevas perspectivas sobre el Salón de Reinos », in : Joan Lluís PALOS I PEÑARROYA and Diana CARRIÓ INVERNIZZI (coords), La historia imaginada : construcciones visuales del pasado en la Época Moderna, Madrid : Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica, 2008, p. 101-120.

62 See Santiago Martínez Hernández, « Aristocracia y anti-olivarismo : El proceso al marqués de Castelo Rodrigo, embajador en Roma, por sodomía y traición (1634-1635) »in José Martínez Millán, Manuel RIVERO RODRÍGUEZ and G. VERSTEEGEN (coords.), La Corte en Europa: Política y Religión (siglos XVI-XVIII), Madrid : Polifemo, 2012, 2:1147-1196.

63 José Antonio Guillén Berrendero, « Valores nobiliarios, libros y linajes : Rodrigo Méndez de Silva, un nobilista portugués en la corte de Felipe IV », Mediterranea-ricerche storiche, 30, 2014, p. 35-60, p. 58. For example, see Caro de Torres's aprobación of the manuscript work of Juan Alonso Martínez Calderón, Epitome de las Historias de la gran Casa de Guzman, y de las progenies reales, que la procrean y las que procrea, donde se da noticia de esta antigua familia y de otras muchas de Europa, BIBLIOTECA NACIONAL DE ESPAÑA (BNE), ms. 2256/58, 3 vols.

64 Sanjay Subrahmanyam, « On World Historians in the Sixteenth Century », Representations, 91, 2005, p. 26-57.

65 See Bethany ARAM, Leyenda negra y leyendas doradas en la conquista de América: Pedrarías y Balboa, Madrid: Marcial Pons, 2008, p. 34 and R. KAGAN, Clio and the Crown…, p. 82-183.

66 About this practice at the Spanish court see F. MONTCHER, « La carta como taller historiográfico… », p. 121.

67 For a further discussion of Herrera's later career, see F. MONTCHER, « Acquérir, partager et contrôler l’information… ».

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Fabien Montcher, « The Transatlantic Mediation of Historical Knowledge across the Iberian Empire (c1580-c1640) », e-Spania [En ligne], 18 | juin 2014, mis en ligne le 01 juin 2014, consulté le 20 septembre 2017. URL : http://e-spania.revues.org/23697 ; DOI : 10.4000/e-spania.23697

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Fabien Montcher

UCLA, Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies

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