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Abstract

This article examines the institutional locations of global connections in Seville as the city became an important hub of Europe’s first global empire in the sixteenth century. It combines a micro-historical approach to institutions with the history of religious orders to explore the places and processes through which global connections were localized and mediated in sixteenth-century Seville. While the role of economic institutions, such as the Casa de Contratación (House of Trade), in processing long-range connections is well known, the role of religious institutions has often been overlooked. This article uses original archival research for the regional headquarters of the Franciscan Order, the Casa Grande, and its affiliated confraternity, the cofradía de la Vera Cruz, to examine the roles played by religious institution in the business of negotiating connections across the Mediterranean and Atlantic and within the city of Seville. This micro-historical study reveals these institutions as microcosms of the newly emerging global society of the Iberian world. This approach highlights the entanglement of religion and economics in the business of negotiating global connections and draws attention to the lives of people often left out of global histories.

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