University of Minnesota
Department of History

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Carla Rahn Phillips

Department Affiliations


Ph.D. New York University, 1972. History. Early Modern and Modern Europe. Thesis adviser Nicolás Sánchez-Albornoz. M.A. New York University, 1966. History. Early Modern and Modern Europe. Adviser Leo Gershoy B.A. Pomona College (Claremont, CA), 1965. History, cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa; Cecil Short Prize in Music.


  • Spanish maritime and naval history
  • Spain 1492-1800
  • History of Europe, 1300-1800
  • European Exploration, 1492-1800
  • European economy and society 1350-1750

Educational Background

  • B.A.: History, Pomona College, Claremont, California, 1965.
  • M.A.: Early Modern and Modern European History, New York University, New York City, 1966.
  • Ph.D.: Early Modern European History, New York University, New York City, 1972.


  • A Concise History of Spain. Phillips, Carla Rahn, William D. Phillips, Jr., Cambridge University Press, Co-Author, 2010.
  • "Twenty Million People United by an Ocean: Spain and the Atlantic World Beyond the Renaissance,” part of a thematic survey of “Spain and Spanish America in the Early Modern Atlantic World: Current Trends in Scholarship,” by Gauvin Alexander Bailey, Carla Rahn Phillips, and Lisa Voigt.: Phillips, Carla Rahn, Renaissance Quarterly, 62, No. 1 1-60, 2009.
  • The Treasure of the San José: Death at Sea in the War of the Spanish Succession. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, May 2007; "Award for Excellence in World History and Biography/Autobiography,” American Association of Publishers, 2007; Paperback edition 2011; Spanish translation, Madrid: Marcial Pons, 2010.
  • “Visualizing Imperium: The ‘Virgin of the Seafarers’ and Spain’s Self-Image in the Early Sixteenth Century.” : Phillips, Carla Rahn, Renaissance Quarterly, 58, No 3 815-856, 2005.
  • (translation into English) - Spain's Men of the Sea: The Daily Life of Crews on the Indies Fleets in the Sixteenth Century, by Pablo E. Pérez-Mallaí­na. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998; Paperback edition, 2005.
  • Spain's Golden Fleece: Wool Production and the Wool Trade from the Middle Ages to the Nineteenth Century, with William D. Phillips, Jr. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997; "Leo Gershoy Prize," American Historical Association, 1998; Spanish translation, Valladolid: Junta de Castilla y León, 2005.
  • The Worlds of Christopher Columbus, with William D. Phillips. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992; "Spain in America" 2nd Prize, 1993; Paperback edition, 1993.
  • Six Galleons for the King of Spain: Imperial Defense in the Early Seventeenth Century. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986; "Leo Gershoy" Prize, American Historical Association, 1987; "Spain in America" First Prize, 1987; Paperback edition, 1992; Spanish translation, Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 1991
  • "The Life Blood of the Navy: Recruiting Sailors in Eighteenth-Century Spain", The Mariner's Mirror, 87, No. 4 (2001): 420-445.

Research Activities

  • The Struggle for the South Atlantic in the Late Sixteenth Century: scheduled for completion in 2014.

Professional Activities

  • Vice-President for the Professional Division, American Historical Association: responsible for oversight of professional and ethical concerns for the 15,000 member organization , 1996 - 1999
  • President, Forum on European Expansion and Global Interaction: Chief executive officer , 1996 - 1998
  • General Secretary, Society for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies: Chief elected executive officer of this 400 member organization , 1984 - 1988
  • Executive Council: North American Society for Oceanic History , 1995 - 2000


  • American Historical Association Leo Gershoy Award, 1987
  • American Historical Association Leo Gershoy Award, 1998
  • College of Liberal Arts Scholar of the College, University of Minnesota, 1987
  • Sabbatical Supplement Grant, Bush Foundation, 2000 - 2001
  • Spain in America" book prize, awarded by the Spanish government, 1993
  • Research Award, McKnight Foundation, 1997 - 2000
  • Post-doctoral Fellowship, Guggenheim Foundation, 1987 - 1988
  • Andrew W. Mellon Senior Fellow, John Carter Brown Library, Brown University, July, 2003 - December 2003
  • "Spain in America" book prize, awarded by the Spanish government, 1987

Courses Taught

  • Spanish Paleography, 15th-18th centuries
  • Hist 3703 - European Cities, 1300-1800
  • Hist 3704W - Daily Life in Europe: 1300-1800
  • Hist 3715 - Spain, 1450-Present
  • Hist 5617 - Spain in the Early Modern Period: 1492-1814
  • Hist 5900 - Topics in European/Medieval History: Atlantic World
  • Hist 5962 - European Expansion
  • Hist 3626 - France, from Henry IV through Napoleon
  • Hist 4961 - Senior Paper
Alternative Output Formats Alternative Output Formats

Featured Faculty

  • Prof. Ruggles Chosen to Lead Population Association of America (PAA)

    Prof. Steve Ruggles has been chosen president-elect of the Population Association of America (PAA) He will be the first historian ever to lead that organization (more typically its presidents have been sociologists or economists). Steve will serve as PAA president-elect in 2014 and president in 2015.

    This honor is recognition of the great work that Steve has done both in his own research and in supporting the work of other scholars through his work with the Minnesota Population Center. Congratulations, Prof. Ruggles!

    Learn more about the Population Association of America (PAA)

    March 15th, 2014
  • Digital Research Projects by HIST 3959 Students

    In Fall 2013, HIST 3959 - How to Do History was taught by Prof. Donna Gabaccia with a focus on digital history research projects. One additional feature of HIST 3959 this fall was that six graduate students earned graduate credit by working with the undergraduate groups as "project managers."

    Here is a sample of innovative projects from class:

    The Pacific Railroad Surveyors
    Jewish Life in 1930s/40s Minneapolis
    Why Public Education?
    Rustication in the Chinese Cultural Revolution
    Early Scandinavian Cartography
    Korea, Forgotten War?
    Political Leadership and Masculinity

    December 13th, 2013
  • Major Awards for History Profs. Kevin Murphy, Barbara Welke, Donna Gabaccia (2), Kay Reyerson, Elaine Tyler May

    It has been a season for great honors and accomplishments for our faculty. Congratulations to all!

    Donna Gabaccia is one of the recipients of the 2013 University Outstanding Community Service Award
    Donna Gabaccia has been awarded the Theodore Saloutos Memorial Book Award of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society for Foreign Relations: American Immigration in Global Perspective.
    Elaine Tyler May has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for 2013 by The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.
    Kevin Murphy is a 2013 recipient of the UofM's Award for Outstanding Contributions to Postbaccalaureate, Graduate, and Professional Education.
    Kay Reyerson has been awarded the Robert L. Kindrick-CARA Award for Outstanding Service to Medieval Studies by the Medieval Academy.
    Barbara Welke has been named one of the new Distinguished McKnight University Professors.

    April 3rd, 2013

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