Department of Social Anthropology

Dr Silvia Espelt Bombin

Honorary Research Fellow

Dr Silvia Espelt Bombin


Brazil, Guianas, Panama, Western Caribbean; early modern history; cultural exchanges; Amerindian polities; imperial frontiers; conflict and peace.


See also the PURE research profile.

Research interests

My research interests focus on the history of early modern and nineteenth century Latin America, with a regional focus on Western Caribbean, the Guianas and the Amazon. 

In my doctoral work, I focused on the Spanish Empire, African-descendants as imperial subjects and the Bourbon reforms (affecting trade, legislation and limpieza de sangre) through the study of early modern Panama and eighteenth century Panama City. 

Since then, I have focused on exchanges between different groups of people taking place at the frontiers of early modern empires in Latin America, mostly in Brazil (Lower Amazon), the Eastern Guianas (Suriname and French Guiana) and the Caribbean coast of Central America (Belize to Panama/Colombia). I am especially interested in: the mental and physical construction of the frontier by European empires in situ and back in Europe; changing alliances between people of European, African and Indigenous descent at the edges of the empires; the Amerindian polities living beyond European empires; and regional exchange networks that went beyond current nation-state frontiers and linguistic barriers. I am now developing a new research project on peace-making in the same area.

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