100 books like Captives of Conquest

By Erin Woodruff Stone,

Here are 100 books that Captives of Conquest fans have personally recommended if you like Captives of Conquest. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570-1640

Juan José Ponce Vázquez Author Of Islanders and Empire: Smuggling and Political Defiance in Hispaniola, 1580–1690

From my list on the Spanish Caribbean in the early colonial period.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised in Sevilla, Spain, a city with profound ties to Spain’s colonial past in the Americas. Since college I've been fascinated by colonial history. Being a little contrarian, while most Latin American colonial scholars I knew focused on Mexico and Peru (the richest Spanish colonies in the so-called “New World”) I decided to focus my attention on their polar opposite: less prosperous colonies (from the perspective of the crown anyway), island societies, and places that were relegated to the margins. I love learning about the men and women in these colonial societies and trying to tell their stories to the best of my abilities.

Juan's book list on the Spanish Caribbean in the early colonial period

Juan José Ponce Vázquez Why did Juan love this book?

A multiple award-winning book that has given new wings to the field of early Caribbean history. Wheat’s insightful book forces to reckon with the extraordinarily close links between the Spanish Caribbean and the African slave trade in which Portuguese merchants played a crucial role. Even though local and peninsular Spaniards ruled, Afrodescendant men and women did most of the labor, cultivated most of the land, defended the colonies against other European powers, and constituted an overwhelming majority of the population, both enslaved and free. The early Spanish colonization of the region started a pattern of profound African cultural influence in the Caribbean that endures until today.

By David Wheat,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570-1640 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work resituates the Spanish Caribbean as an extension of the Luso-African Atlantic world from the late sixteenth to the mid-seventeenth century, when the union of the Spanish and Portuguese crowns facilitated a surge in the transatlantic slave trade. After the catastrophic decline of Amerindian populations on the islands, two major African provenance zones, first Upper Guinea and then Angola, contributed forced migrant populations with distinct experiences to the Caribbean. They played a dynamic role in the social formation of early Spanish colonial society in the fortified port cities of Cartagena de Indias, Havana, Santo Domingo, and Panama City and…


Book cover of Cannibal Encounters: Europeans and Island Caribs, 1492-1763

Tessa Murphy Author Of The Creole Archipelago: Race and Borders in the Colonial Caribbean

From my list on the Early Indigenous Caribbean.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of the early Americas, and while I often teach courses such as “The U.S. to 1865,” my real passion lies in the Caribbean. As the first site of encounter between the Indigenous inhabitants of the place we came to call the "Americas," Africans, and Europeans, this, to me, is where "American" history began, yet the history of the Caribbean—particularly in the era surrounding European arrival—remains relatively little known. As a Canadian teaching American history at a university in the U.S., I try to disrupt familiar historical narratives by showing my students that American history also unfolded beyond the borders of the modern nation-state.

Tessa's book list on the Early Indigenous Caribbean

Tessa Murphy Why did Tessa love this book?

Boucher’s book was one of the first to look beyond initial Indigenous-European contact in the Greater Antilles to focus on interactions between colonizers and the people they called “Caribs”: the mobile, multiethnic inhabitants of the smaller islands of the Lesser Antilles.

Boucher convincingly shows that far from being reduced to slavery or extinction, the Lesser Antilles’ Indigenous inhabitants remained important military and political players, particularly during the seventeenth century, on which much of the book focuses.

He further explores how Indigenous actions influenced European stereotypes of the region’s inhabitants, giving rise to exaggerated depictions of fierce cannibals.  

By Philip P. Boucher,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Cannibal Encounters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Philip Boucher analyzes the images-and the realities-of European relations with the people known as Island Caribs during the first three centuries after Columbus. Based on literary sources, travelers' observations, and missionary accounts, as well as on French and English colonial archives and administrative correspondence, Cannibal Encounters offers a vivid portrait of a troubled chapter in the history of European-Amerindian relations.


Book cover of Life and Society in the Early Spanish Caribbean: The Greater Antilles, 1493-1550

Juan José Ponce Vázquez Author Of Islanders and Empire: Smuggling and Political Defiance in Hispaniola, 1580–1690

From my list on the Spanish Caribbean in the early colonial period.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised in Sevilla, Spain, a city with profound ties to Spain’s colonial past in the Americas. Since college I've been fascinated by colonial history. Being a little contrarian, while most Latin American colonial scholars I knew focused on Mexico and Peru (the richest Spanish colonies in the so-called “New World”) I decided to focus my attention on their polar opposite: less prosperous colonies (from the perspective of the crown anyway), island societies, and places that were relegated to the margins. I love learning about the men and women in these colonial societies and trying to tell their stories to the best of my abilities.

Juan's book list on the Spanish Caribbean in the early colonial period

Juan José Ponce Vázquez Why did Juan love this book?

The historical evidence for the first 50 years of Spanish colonization (and beyond) is fragmentary and difficult, but Altman’s book is a feat of readability and thoroughness. If you want to learn the contours of early Spanish colonial society, this is probably the most comprehensive look at the topic we have had for many years.

By Ida Altman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Life and Society in the Early Spanish Caribbean as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The half century of European activity in the Caribbean that followed Columbus's first voyages brought enormous demographic, economic, and social change to the region as Europeans, Indigenous people, and Africans whom Spaniards imported to provide skilled and unskilled labor came into extended contact for the first time. In Life and Society in the Early Spanish Caribbean, Ida Altman examines the interactions of these diverse groups and individuals and the transformation of the islands of the Greater Antilles (Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Jamaica). She addresses the impact of disease and ongoing conflict; the Spanish monarchy's efforts to establish a functioning…


Book cover of Hispaniola: Caribbean Chiefdoms in the Age of Columbus

Juan José Ponce Vázquez Author Of Islanders and Empire: Smuggling and Political Defiance in Hispaniola, 1580–1690

From my list on the Spanish Caribbean in the early colonial period.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised in Sevilla, Spain, a city with profound ties to Spain’s colonial past in the Americas. Since college I've been fascinated by colonial history. Being a little contrarian, while most Latin American colonial scholars I knew focused on Mexico and Peru (the richest Spanish colonies in the so-called “New World”) I decided to focus my attention on their polar opposite: less prosperous colonies (from the perspective of the crown anyway), island societies, and places that were relegated to the margins. I love learning about the men and women in these colonial societies and trying to tell their stories to the best of my abilities.

Juan's book list on the Spanish Caribbean in the early colonial period

Juan José Ponce Vázquez Why did Juan love this book?

This is an oldie but a goodie. There are not many accessible books about the earliest years of Spanish colonization, but this is probably one of the best. With a terrific narrative style, Wilson showcases the years of Columbus's leadership at the head of the earliest colonizing efforts, and the increasing dissatisfaction of Spanish colonists towards Columbus, who was seen by many as a tyrant. In addition to this, Wilson reads between the lines of Spanish documents, and with the help of archaeological evidence, provides the reader with insightful interpretations of indigenous life, actions, and motivations.

By Samuel M. Wilson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Hispaniola as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1492 Hispaniola was inhabited by the Taino, an Indian group whose ancestors had moved into the Caribbean archipelago from lowland South America. This book examines the early years of the contact period in the Caribbean and reconstructs the social and political organization of the Taino.


Book cover of Havana and the Atlantic in the Sixteenth Century

Juan José Ponce Vázquez Author Of Islanders and Empire: Smuggling and Political Defiance in Hispaniola, 1580–1690

From my list on the Spanish Caribbean in the early colonial period.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised in Sevilla, Spain, a city with profound ties to Spain’s colonial past in the Americas. Since college I've been fascinated by colonial history. Being a little contrarian, while most Latin American colonial scholars I knew focused on Mexico and Peru (the richest Spanish colonies in the so-called “New World”) I decided to focus my attention on their polar opposite: less prosperous colonies (from the perspective of the crown anyway), island societies, and places that were relegated to the margins. I love learning about the men and women in these colonial societies and trying to tell their stories to the best of my abilities.

Juan's book list on the Spanish Caribbean in the early colonial period

Juan José Ponce Vázquez Why did Juan love this book?

Just like the United States has been fixated in Cuba since its creation as a nation, American historians have obsessed with the history of Cuba for decades, but most have focused on the 20th century, or gone back as far as the 18th century. Alejandro de la Fuente and his collaborators take the reader back to the first century of the Spanish colonization of the island and describes the transformation of Havana from a sleepy port town in the northwest of the island into one of the most important ports in the Spanish empire and the Atlantic world. The book combines great narrative history with abundant tables and graphs about trade, naval traffic, and urban expansion.

By Alejandro de la Fuente,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Havana and the Atlantic in the Sixteenth Century as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Havana in the 1550s was a small coastal village with a very limited population that was vulnerable to attack. By 1610, however, under Spanish rule it had become one of the best-fortified port cities in the world and an Atlantic center of shipping, commerce, and shipbuilding. Using all available local Cuban sources, including parish registries and notary, town council, and treasury records, Alejandro de la Fuente provides the first examination of the transformation of Havana into a vibrant Atlantic port city and the fastest-growing urban center in the Americas in the late sixteenth century.De la Fuente argues that Havana was…


Book cover of Surviving Spanish Conquest: Indian Fight, Flight, and Cultural Transformation in Hispaniola and Puerto Rico

Tessa Murphy Author Of The Creole Archipelago: Race and Borders in the Colonial Caribbean

From my list on the Early Indigenous Caribbean.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of the early Americas, and while I often teach courses such as “The U.S. to 1865,” my real passion lies in the Caribbean. As the first site of encounter between the Indigenous inhabitants of the place we came to call the "Americas," Africans, and Europeans, this, to me, is where "American" history began, yet the history of the Caribbean—particularly in the era surrounding European arrival—remains relatively little known. As a Canadian teaching American history at a university in the U.S., I try to disrupt familiar historical narratives by showing my students that American history also unfolded beyond the borders of the modern nation-state.

Tessa's book list on the Early Indigenous Caribbean

Tessa Murphy Why did Tessa love this book?

Anderson-Córdova asks readers to question many things they may have been told about the Indigenous Caribbean, including the very labels used to describe the region’s inhabitants.

The supposed dichotomy between the Taínos of the Greater Antilles and the Caribs of the Lesser Antilles obscures significant exchange and movement between islands both before and after European arrival, she argues, while the very term “Taíno” is an ahistorical one, popularized by scholars in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Drawing on archeological and historical sources, Anderson-Córdova provides a wealth of information about the multiethnic nature of the Indigenous Caribbean before and long after colonization.

By Karen F. Anderson-Cordova,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Surviving Spanish Conquest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Surviving Spanish Conquest reveals the transformation that occurred in Indian communities during the Spanish conquest of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico from 1492 to 1550.

In Surviving Spanish Conquest: Indian Fight, Flight, and Cultural Transformation in Hispaniola and Puerto Rico, Karen F. Anderson-Cordova draws on archaeological, historical, and ethnohistorical sources to elucidate the impacts of sixteenth-century Spanish conquest and colonization on indigenous peoples in the Greater Antilles. Moving beyond the conventional narratives of the quick demise of the native populations because of forced labor and the spread of Old World diseases, this book shows the complexity of the initial exchange between…


Book cover of Taino

Tessa Murphy Author Of The Creole Archipelago: Race and Borders in the Colonial Caribbean

From my list on the Early Indigenous Caribbean.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of the early Americas, and while I often teach courses such as “The U.S. to 1865,” my real passion lies in the Caribbean. As the first site of encounter between the Indigenous inhabitants of the place we came to call the "Americas," Africans, and Europeans, this, to me, is where "American" history began, yet the history of the Caribbean—particularly in the era surrounding European arrival—remains relatively little known. As a Canadian teaching American history at a university in the U.S., I try to disrupt familiar historical narratives by showing my students that American history also unfolded beyond the borders of the modern nation-state.

Tessa's book list on the Early Indigenous Caribbean

Tessa Murphy Why did Tessa love this book?

Taíno scholar José Barreiro uses fiction to illuminate what historical sources cannot: how Indigenous people reacted and adapted to Spanish colonization of the Caribbean.

Barreiro spent years researching the life of Guaikán, alias Diego Colón, a Loku Taíno youth briefly mentioned in several Spanish accounts.

By telling Guaikán’s story in the form of a journal written decades after Spanish arrival in the Caribbean, Barreiro vividly narrates the young man’s varied experiences, from his life in Guanahaní before Spanish arrival, to being taken captive by Columbus, to living in the Spanish colonial city of Santo Domingo.

Most importantly, Barreiro movingly conveys how such an individual may have felt about the cataclysmic changes that accompanied European conquest. 

By Jose Barreiro,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Taino as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written" by Guaikan, the elderly Taino man who, in his youth, was adopted by Christopher Columbus and saw history unfold, Taino is the Indian chronicle of the American encounter, the Native view on Columbus and what happened in the Caribbean. This novel, based on a true story, penetrates the historical veil that still enshrines the "discovery.


Book cover of General History of the Caribbean: Autochthonous Societies

Tessa Murphy Author Of The Creole Archipelago: Race and Borders in the Colonial Caribbean

From my list on the Early Indigenous Caribbean.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of the early Americas, and while I often teach courses such as “The U.S. to 1865,” my real passion lies in the Caribbean. As the first site of encounter between the Indigenous inhabitants of the place we came to call the "Americas," Africans, and Europeans, this, to me, is where "American" history began, yet the history of the Caribbean—particularly in the era surrounding European arrival—remains relatively little known. As a Canadian teaching American history at a university in the U.S., I try to disrupt familiar historical narratives by showing my students that American history also unfolded beyond the borders of the modern nation-state.

Tessa's book list on the Early Indigenous Caribbean

Tessa Murphy Why did Tessa love this book?

I realize that few readers will be eager to pick up a textbook. But Sued-Badillo, a Puerto Rican ethnohistorian who is a leading expert on the Indigenous Caribbean, assembled archaeologists and historians from throughout the Caribbean to each offer an essay about the region’s past, from the period preceding human habitation to the era of European colonization.

The resulting volume is a great starting point for anyone interested in the earliest history of the Caribbean, as well as how that history shapes the region’s cultural patrimony to the present day.

By J. Sued-Badillo (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked General History of the Caribbean as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Volume 1 of the General History of the Caribbean relates to the history of the origins of the earliest Caribbean people, and analyses their various political, social, cultural and economic organizations over time. This volume investigates the movement of Paleoindians into the islands, and looks at the agricultural societies which developed. It then explores the indigenous societies at the time of the Spanish Conquest, the hierarchy of the chiefdoms, and the development of slavery.


Book cover of American Baroque: Pearls and the Nature of Empire, 1492-1700

Carla Gardina Pestana Author Of English Conquest of Jamaica: Oliver Cromwell's Bid for Empire

From my list on the early modern global Caribbean.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of the early English Atlantic who began studying New England but soon turned to the Atlantic more generally and the Caribbean in particular. All the aspects of 17th century Atlantic history that most intrigue me played out in the Caribbean. A fascinating and complicated place, the West Indies—although claimed by the Spanish as their exclusive purview—became diverse, witness to a variety of interactions. I’m particularly interested in works that allow us to see these changes in the period when the region was a global meeting place undergoing vast shifts. Much excellent scholarship explores the later era of sugar and slaves, of major imperial wars, of movements for independence and emancipation. What interests me most is the period before that, when the region was being transformed into a crucible of global transformation.

Carla's book list on the early modern global Caribbean

Carla Gardina Pestana Why did Carla love this book?

Molly Warsh’s American Baroque perhaps best captures my point about the Caribbean as a global space. The book follows pearls harvested off the coast of Venezuela from the beds that produced them, through the enslaved divers who harvested them, the imperial officials who taxed them, the merchants who traded them, all the way to the consumers who valued them. It is a commodity history—a sort of history that often features the Caribbean region prominently—while at the same time offering a rich evocation of the many cultural aspects of the pearl’s role. Laborers who secreted pearls on their person to gain some of the wealth they produced and artisans who created lavish objects featuring pearls are as important to this account as the wealthy and powerful who displayed them in portraits of this era. 

By Molly A. Warsh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked American Baroque as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pearls have enthralled global consumers since antiquity, and the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella explicitly charged Columbus with finding pearls, as well as gold and silver, when he sailed westward in 1492. American Baroque charts Spain's exploitation of Caribbean pearl fisheries to trace the genesis of its maritime empire. In the 1500s, licit and illicit trade in the jewel gave rise to global networks, connecting the Caribbean to the Indian Ocean to the pearl-producing regions of the Chesapeake and northern Europe.

Pearls-a unique source of wealth because of their renewable, fungible, and portable nature-defied easy categorization. Their value was highly…


Book cover of Empires of the Atlantic World: Britain and Spain in America 1492-1830

Matteo Binasco Author Of Making, Breaking and Remaking the Irish Missionary Network: Ireland, Rome and the West Indies in the Seventeenth Century

From my list on to understand early-modern period Atlantic world.

Why am I passionate about this?

This is and will remain the example of historical research made by one of the leading authorities in the field of Atlantic history. Elliott’s book set the agenda by investigating and assessing the complex array of causes and consequences which brought England and Spain to have an ever-lasting cultural, economic, political, and religious influence on the history of North America and Latin America.  

Matteo's book list on to understand early-modern period Atlantic world

Matteo Binasco Why did Matteo love this book?

This is and will remain the example of historical research made by one of the leading authorities in the field of Atlantic history. Elliott’s book set the agenda by investigating and assessing the complex array of causes and consequences which brought England and Spain to have an ever-lasting cultural, economic, political, and religious influence on the history of North America and Latin America. 

By J.H. Elliott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Empires of the Atlantic World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This epic history compares the empires built by Spain and Britain in the Americas, from Columbus's arrival in the New World to the end of Spanish colonial rule in the early nineteenth century. J. H. Elliott, one of the most distinguished and versatile historians working today, offers us history on a grand scale, contrasting the worlds built by Britain and by Spain on the ruins of the civilizations they encountered and destroyed in North and South America.
Elliott identifies and explains both the similarities and differences in the two empires' processes of colonization, the character of their colonial societies, their…


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