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4437 - "All is Borderlands: Eighteenth-Century Iberian Cartography and the Acknowledgment of Sovereign Indian Nations"

Maps are privileged sources to study the evolution of European legal categories regarding indigenous sovereignty. Eighteenth-century Spanish and Portuguese America witnessed the rise of maps that openly recognized that most of the territories allegedly under imperial control were in fact in hands of myriad Indian "nations." These maps document the obvious: Spain and Portugal had actual control only over a loose network of urban centers and their hinterlands. Cartography thus became the art of mapping out territories held by indigenous sovereign groups. Cartography reflected changes in ways of acknowledging the nature of sovereignty and territorial control on spaces contested by rival imperial powers (either European or indigenous).

Author: canizares-esguerra, jorge (university of texas-austin, Ud States of Am / USA)

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