Introduction: A New World and Spanish Cosmography

in Secret Science

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780226675343
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226675374 | DOI:
Introduction: A New World and Spanish Cosmography

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This introductory chapter begins with a discussion of how Europeans tried to come to terms with the reality of the vast, newly discovered lands of what they so aptly named the New World. Nowhere was the determination to create a new framework to explain the reality of the New World more steadfast than in sixteenth-century Spain. Spanish cosmographers brought to their discipline alternative epistemologies and new methodologies that eventually changed how Europeans understood the natural world. The chapter shows how the very process of answering the challenging questions posed by the discovery of the New World obligated Spanish cosmographers to develop new knowledge-making practices that eventually redrew the intellectual boundaries of the cosmographical discipline. It also addresses some issues concerning the historiography of science that to this day taint historical perceptions about science in Spain. An overview of the subsequent chapters is then presented.

Keywords: Spain; New World; Spanish cosmographers; science; historiography

Chapter.  7930 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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