British historian John Elliott, one of the world’s most famous Hispanists, who stood out for his studies of the Spanish Empire, has died this Thursday at the age of 91, sources close to the family confirmed to Efe.
Elliott received the Prince of Asturias Award in 1996 and, among other recognitions, was awarded honorary doctorates at universities such as Alcalá de Henares, Complutense and Carlos III.
The Hispanist is the author of what is considered the definitive biography of the Count-Duke of Olivares and other important books on Hispanism such as “Imperial Spain” or “Language and empire in Spain Felipe IV”.
Elliott died in an Oxford hospital after being recently treated, in the same city as his prestigious university as professor emeritus.
The scholar is one of the last links in the legendary English Hispanic saga of which names like Paul Preston, Hugh Thomas, Ian Gibson and Raymond Carr are also a part or part.
As he will repeatedly recall throughout his life, his career was associated with Spanish historiography for more than seven decades, when, as a student, he saw for the first time in the Prado Museum a painting of the Duke of Olivares signed by Velazquez.
On a six-week tour of the peninsula, Elliott was “impressed” by Spain, and especially by the Prado Museum, which made him turn his attention to the country even though he had previously studied French and German.
Despite investigating, above all, Modern Spain and the roots of the current conflict, he was always an intellectual very close to his day, concerned with the crisis plaguing Spain, Britain and the European Union as a whole.
In an interview with EFE in 2018, Elliott stated he was deeply concerned about the “polarization” of Catalan society as a result of the pro-independence “process” and recalled that a significant part of the Catalan population defended “dual patriotism”.
He also warned in his last public appearance against populism, both left and right, for being “an ideology closer to fantasy than reality.”
And although he is considered one of the greatest teachers of Hispanic English, he has always made sure that he does not think of himself as the “inventor” of the school, as he prefers to focus on each historian as an individual and not as a group.
Doctorate in History from Cambridge University, he won many awards for his work, such as Nebrija in 1993, and left behind key titles such as “The Catalan Rebellion”, “Europe in the time of Philip II, 1559-1598” or the biography of the Count Duke of Olivares mentioned in on.
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