Juan de Ovando
Governing the Spanish Empire in the Reign of Philip II
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
304 Pages | 6 x 9
Juan de Ovando was an industrious, discerning, and loyal servant, yet, like all letrados, he owed his position to royal favor. Ovando began his career as an ecclesiastical judge and inquisitor in Seville. From there, at the king’s order, he undertook the reform of the University of Alcalá de Henares, one of his most enduring achievements. Appointed then to the supreme council of the Spanish Inquisition, Ovando was commissioned to investigate the Council of the Indies, over which he eventually presided. In this role, Ovando began codifying laws and collecting information about Spain’s overseas possessions through the famed Relaciones geográficas--wide-ranging surveys of daily life in the New World. He devised long-term and forward-looking colonial policies for New Spain while, also serving as president of the Council of Finance, he sought to bring order to Spain’s chaotic financial situation.
Poole’s biography of Juan de Ovando provides an intimate view of the day-to-day influence letrados wielded over the Spanish colonial machine.
“Clearly written and solidly based on extensive archival research . . . Poole’s study belongs in all college and university libraries. Highly recommended.”—Choice
“Poole’s book is impressive on several counts. Not only is his research exhaustive (using some sources for the first time), but his writing is clear and, above all, contextually illuminating and rich in detail . . . highly recommended.”—The Americas