Plus ultra: Coloniality and the mapping of American natureculture in the empire of Philip II
Author(s): Wickberg, Adam
This article studies the mapping of American natureculture in early Spanish colonial history by focusing on the critical aspects of media and anthropogenic altering of natural habitats as a discursive practice. The case of Francisco Hernández, General Physician of The Indies and director of the first scientific expedition 1570-1577, provides the base for a critical discussion of the onto-epistemology of the mapping impulse in early modern media. Hernández was sent out by Philip II to produce a natural history of the new world which resulted in over 20 volumes of text and illustrations. He also sent back a large number of plants and animals across the Atlantic. Simultaneously, the cosmographers at the Casa de Contratación in Seville were working on the same mapping project from a distance, using surveys to gather quantified data known as Relaciones geográficas. The decade of 1570-1580 in particular saw an intense activity of media practices of mapping the new world under the rule of Philip II, who became known as the paper king. He adopted the motto ‘Plus ultra’, meaning ‘further still’ in Latin, as an emblem of his transatlantic empire that came to reach over to the Pacific and the Philippines. The article draws on recent developments of media theory and environmental humanities and discusses how the colonial enterprise processed the geobotanical intervention associated with resource exploitation. It analyses the process, storage, and transmission of information and its material underpinnings and also draws on discussions of coloniality.
Wickberg, Adam: Plus ultra: Coloniality and the mapping of American natureculture in the empire of Philip II. In: NECSUS. European Journal of Media Studies, Jg. 7 (2018), Nr. 2, S. 205–227. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25969/mediarep/3447.
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