TAMIU Prof Awarded Mellon Foundation Fellowship

TAMIU History Professor Olivas
Awarded Mellon Foundation Fellowship

A Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) assistant professor will spend two months as a summer research fellow at the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif. Dr. Aaron Olivas, assistant professor of history, received an appointment as an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow at the Huntington to conduct research for his upcoming book.

“The summer research project consists of two months of data collection of British and Hispanic manuscripts at the Huntington Library for my current book manuscript, ‘Loyalty and Disloyalty in Spanish America During the War of the Spanish Succession (1700-1715).’ I will spend June and July reading and photographing documents,” explained Dr. Olivas.

The book aims to determine why Spanish colonial subjects either supported or resisted Bourbon dynastic rule a century before the Age of Revolutions. Olivas said scholars tend to overlook the fact that the War of the Spanish Succession—the first truly global war—was fought over commercial privileges and access to Spanish-American markets.

“My findings provide evidence that trans-imperial relations with French, English and Dutch merchants often determined loyalties of Spanish-American elites for and against Bourbon sovereignty,” said Olivas.

Using archival sources at Huntington, Olivas said he expects to expand his sections on the influence of the English Atlantic World on Spanish American under the Later Stuarts. He already has substantial data pertaining to the political implications of French transatlantic trade.

“This latter perspective is crucial to the book since the English were the true victors of the War of the Spanish Succession in the Americas, having ‘won’ the Asiento—Spanish slave monopoly—with the signing of the Peace of Utrecht in 1713. As a result, the South Sea Company, along with subcontractors from the Royal African Company, assumed operation of this highly privileged trade,” said Olivas.

He said he also plans to contribute any new findings on the slave trade to Voyages: The Transatlantic Slave Trade Database, a global online project which records nearly 35,000 slaving expeditions between 1514 and 1866.

The Huntington Library’s collection of rare books and manuscripts in the fields of British and American history and literature is one of the largest in the U.S.

The Huntington is a private, nonprofit institution founded in 1919 by Henry E. Huntington, an exceptional businessman who built a financial empire that included railroad companies, utilities and real estate holdings in Southern California.

For more information, contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu or 326.2180 or visit office in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 268.

University summer office hours are Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. – noon Friday.

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