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Making a New World Founding Capitalism in the Bajio and Spanish North America by John Tutino

Making a New World Founding Capitalism in the Bajio and Spanish North America


Making a New World Founding Capitalism in the Bajio and Spanish North America by John Tutino

Making a New World is a major rethinking of the role of the Americas in early world trade, the rise of capitalism, and the conflicts that reconfigured global power around 1800. At its center is the Bajio, a fertile basin extending across the modern-day Mexican states of Guanajuato and Queretaro, northwest of Mexico City. The Bajio became part of a new world in the 1530s, when Mesoamerican Otomis and Franciscan friars built Queretaro, a town that quickly thrived on agriculture and trade. Settlement accelerated as regional silver mines began to flourish in the 1550s. Silver tied the Bajio to Europe and China; it stimulated the development of an unprecedented commercial, patriarchal, Catholic society. A frontier extended north across vast expanses settled by people of European, Amerindian, and African ancestry. As mining, cloth making, and irrigated cultivation increased, inequities deepened and religious debates escalated. Analyzing the political economy, social relations, and cultural conflicts that animated the Bajio and Spanish North America from 1500 to 1800, John Tutino depicts an engine of global capitalism and the tensions that would lead to its collapse into revolution in 1810.


Tutino's broad rethinking of capitalist development from a Spanish North American perspective forces us to decenter not only the Atlantic world of European colonialism, but also the origins of U.S. hegemony. Very much like the work of Fernand Braudel whom he admires so much, Tutino deploys massive amounts of data and of conceptual reflection to help us rethink the nature of the world economy. -- Florencia E. Mallon * A Contracorriente * Tutino's book is indeed big history at its best. Compelling and provocative, thoughtful and well written, Making a New World is required reading for Mexicanists and world historians alike. Authors of world history textbooks will find themselves revising subsequent editions of their texts after reading Tutino's persuasive arguments... Tutino's big history should give us pause to appreciate both the forest and the trees....[his] book is that good. -- Michael M. Brescia * Catholic Historical Review * The author should be commended for engaging these conceptual issues.... [T]his is work of great imagination and exquisite detail that should shape the fields of Latin American history, world history, and Atlantic studies. -- Robert Alegre * Itinerario * [A] sprawling and fascinating new book.... [A] critical intervention in the historiographies of Mexico and the larger Atlantic World.... [R]eaders of this journal will be handsomely rewarded for engaging with the initial installment of Tutino's study, particularly those with interests in the histories of colonial North America, the region that became the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, and the advent of capitalism. -- Andrew R. Graybill * Western Historical Quarterly * John Tutino's book is a culminating achievement to more than thirty years of early New World social history. Yet it significantly improves on even the best of that work by framing New Spain in relation to North America and the wider world, showing how gender was crucial to the basic patterns of people's lives, and illuminating social formations that have remained largely unknown until now. -Peter Guardino, author of The Time of Liberty: Popular Political Culture in Oaxaca, 1750-1850 Making a New World is a fascinating, bold, and challenging study. It is destined to be an indispensable source, the book of first resort on Mexico's most dynamic region in the years leading up to Independence. Braudelian in ambition and range, it gives serious attention to power, patriarchy, capitalist production, labor, social relations, and culture; the powerful and the poor; and the rural and the urban. Provocative ideas and hypotheses abound. -William B. Taylor, author of Magistrates of the Sacred: Priests and Parishioners in Eighteenth-Century Mexico Making a New World creates a compelling new history of world capitalism in the early modern era, with Mexico at its center. It also provides a comprehensive history of the Bajio, the dynamic mining and agricultural region crucial to understanding the sociocultural, economic, and political history of Mexico. This exciting, well-researched book makes us reconsider what we thought we knew about the Atlantic world. -Steve J. Stern, Alberto Flores Galindo Professor of History, University of Wisconsin, Madison

About the Author

John Tutino teaches the history of Mexico and the Americas in the History Department and the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He is the author of From Insurrection to Revolution in Mexico: Social Bases of Agrarian Violence, 1750-1940, and a co-editor of Cycles of Conflict, Centuries of Change: Crisis, Reform, and Revolution in Mexico, also published by Duke University Press.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st August 2011


John Tutino

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Duke University Press


712 pages


History of the Americas
International trade
Economic history



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