Gonzalo Velasco Berenguer

Dr Gonzalo Velasco Berenguer

BA (Pontificia Comillas), MA (Lessius Hogeschool), MA(Bristol), PhD

  • BS2 8BW

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Personal profile

Research interests

Research profile

I am an historian of global medieval and early modern history with a particular focus on political, religious, social and racial processes across the Spanish Empire. I am especially interested in understanding how the legislation devised and enacted by the king’s government was received and applied both in Spain and in colonial settings and what this meant for the everyday lived experience of Spanish subjects across the Empire. I also study early modern Catholicism, identity and early modern Anglo-Iberian relations.

My current research looks at patterns of family formation and racial categorisations in the early modern Spanish Philippines. We have an increasingly clear historiographical picture of the different sets of ethnic categorisations used across Spanish America to distinguish between Indigenous peoples (Indios), Afrodescendants (who received many different names) and Spaniards (españoles), and how miscegenation shaped everyday life and dictated human experience in a colonial setting. The case of the Philippines is, however, grossly underexplored, even though the presence of a sizeable number of Chinese people and their descendants (Sangleyes) makes of this Southeast Asian territory a paradigmatic and unique case from which to explore race and society in a global early modern context. Through an exploration of marriage and other Church records, wills, taxation lists, and reports on limpieza de sangre (cleanliness of blood), I seek to understand patterns of family formation and what the expectations of colonial legislators translated into on the ground.

My past research has looked at the joint reign of Philip and Mary in England (1554-1558) and how the English kingdom became an integral part of the Spanish Monarchy, albeit for a short period. This research has now been published as a monograph, Habsburg England: Politics, Religion, and Society in the Reign of Philip I (1554-1558) by Brill (2023). I have also published on the excommunication of Queen Elizabeth I and conciliar history in early modern England and Spain.


I have taught a range of undergraduate units on a variety of topics and periods:

Year 3 Dissertation supervision

Year 3 Option: Global Empires (unit coordinator)

Year 2 Special Subject: The Norman Conquest

Year 2 Outline: Global History

Year 2 Outline: Rethinking History

Year 2 Option: Fear and Loathing (unit coordinator)

Year 2 Option: Outlaws

Year 1 Outline: The Early Modern World (unit coordinator)

Year 1 Outline: The Medieval World

Year 1 Outline: Approaching the Past

Linguistic profile

Spanish (native speaker)

English (bilingual)



Can read and translate Latin (early modern), Catalan and Portuguese


  • Spanish & Hispanic American History
  • Spanish Imperialism
  • Early Modern History
  • Medieval History
  • Race
  • Catholicism
  • identity
  • Global History
  • Social History
  • Southeast Asia
  • Philippines


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