The Division of the World: On Archives, Empires and the Vanity of Borders (Paperback)

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A photographer and a historian explore a vast archive of Spanish colonial history.

At a time when Western nations are being urged to confront their colonial past, this book examines a major archive, revealing the scale of the Spanish colonial enterprise in South and Central America.
Established in 1785, the Archivo General de Indias in Seville holds roughly three hundred years of Spanish colonial history in the Americas. It houses 8,000 charts and around ninety million documents—among them Christopher Columbus’s logbook and the famous Treaty of Tordesillas which, mediated by the Pope and signed in 1494, entitled the Spanish and Portuguese kings to divide the world between them. With this treaty as a starting point, the historian Martin Zimmermann journeys into the age of discovery and recounts stories of dangerous passages, encounters with the unknown, colonial brutality, and the power of cartographers, illustrating the insatiable lust of colonialists to conquer, exploit, and own the world. Ursula Schulz-Dornburg’s photographs show the archive before its redevelopment in 2002, offering a unique view into one of Europe’s most significant archives.

About the Author

Martin Zimmermann is professor of ancient history at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.

Ursula Schulz-Dornburg is one of Germany’s most renowned photographers. Her photographs have been exhibited at the British Museum and Tate Modern.

Praise For…

“A fascinating, beautifully designed book based on Ursula Schulz-Dornburg’s magnificent photographs . . .  Zimmermann’s brilliant essay explores the insatiable lust to conquer the world, taking as a focal point the famous 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas through which Spain and Portugal carved up the planet, without ever being able to determine the exact position of the line of demarcation.”
— Hartwig Fischer, director of the British Museum

Product Details
ISBN: 9781913368111
ISBN-10: 1913368114
Publisher: Haus Publishing
Publication Date: August 4th, 2021
Pages: 160