Morals and monuments
in Conquering nature in Spain and its empire, 1750–1850
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This chapter explores what occasioned the change in attitude towards the natural sciences. It considers what prompted Spaniards, and particularly the Spanish Crown to embrace the study of nature. The book examines how eighteenth-century Spaniards construed the resurgence of natural history in the Spanish Empire as a continuation of an existing scientific tradition that had flourished with particular brilliance in the sixteenth century. It also explores some of the obstacles that would-be naturalists had to surmount in order to accrue respect and recognition. By the end of the eighteenth century, however, the naturalist could hope for a more dignified legacy, perhaps being honoured with a suitable monument, or, at the very least, lending Jose Cadalso's name to a new species of plant. The remarkable thing about the Pineda monument was less its grandeur than its novelty.

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