This epic history compares the empires built by Spain and Britain
in the Americas, from Columbus' arrival in the New World to the
end of Spanish colonial rule in the early nineteenth century. J. H.
Elliott, one of the most distinguished and versatile historians
working today, offers us history on a grand scale, contrasting the
worlds built by Britain and by Spain on the ruins of the
civilizations they encountered and destroyed in North and South
America. Elliott identifies and explains both the similarities and
differences in the two empires' processes of colonization, the
character of their colonial societies, their distinctive styles of
imperial government, and the independence movements mounted against
them. Based on wide reading in the history of the two great
Atlantic civilizations, the book sets the Spanish and British
colonial empires in the context of their own times and offers us
insights into aspects of this dual history that still influence the
Sir John Elliott is Regius Professor Emeritus of Modern History, University of Oxford. His previous books include The Count-Duke of Olivares, A Palace for a King (with Jonathan Brown) and Spain and Its World, 1500-1700, all published by Yale University Press. Among the many honours he has received are the Wolfson Prize for History, the Prince of Asturias Prize for the Social Sciences and the Balzan Prize for History.