Sunday, 27 February 2011

'Irredeemably corrupt'?

There have been several review of Hugh Thomas' The Golden Age: The Spanish Empire of Charles V. This one in the Telegraph picks up some of the points we have discussed in class.  This quotation sums up much of the reviewer's argument:

'As Thomas makes clear, conquest opened up divisions within Charles’s empire. Men such as Cort├ęs and Pizarro were good at winning empires; they could not be trusted to administer them.
Charles’s officials and churchmen had visions of an empire run on Christian ideals, but new rules governing relations with native peoples were fiercely resisted by those who relied on harshness and slavery.
When humane principles collided with the demand for cash, colonisers were often left to do things their own cruel way. Golden ages are never what they promise and this one, for all its romance, was irredeemably corrupt.'