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Lisa Kuitert and Paul Dijstelberge

The Origins of Printing in Spanish in Antwerp

Political Propaganda, Erasmianism and Heterodoxy (1498-1558)

José Luis Gonzalo Sánchez-Molero


The city of Antwerp occupies a special place in the history of relations between Spain and the Netherlands during the centuries of the modern period. Hispano-Netherlandish relations in the centuries of the modern period have been studied from many different points of view. On this occasion we propose to delve into the origins of the very important links created around books and to deal, in particular, with the beginnings of the production of books in Spanish in Antwerp. Our intention here, therefore, is not to make a new listing of the editions printed at that time but a quite different one: to analyse the way in which this interesting publishing phenomenon developed in its origins and within a very specific period of time: the years prior to Christophe Plantin’s great publishing success.

Alexander S. Wilkinson


Exploiting the most recent bibliographical information available, this article surveys Spanish-language printing in the southern and northern Netherlands from its tentative beginnings in 1520 to 1700. The anni mirabiles (1543-1560) have done much to shape perceptions of the trade in Spanish books. Yet, these were relatively short-lived. Overall, production grew steadily before 1701 with Antwerp then Brussels and Amsterdam becoming market leaders. A staggering 350 printers and publishers are known to have been involved in producing these works, although for almost all of them, printing in Spanish was never the main part of their output. The character of these works changed over the two centuries, with religious texts growing in importance. While every book had its own history, and intended market, it seems clear that Spanish-language books were not being produced exclusively or even predominantly to target the market in Spain itself—at least not directly.

Renaud Adam


This paper is dedicated to the study of the dissemination of Spanish books—books written in Spanish—during the 16th century in Brussels. This study is based on an inventory of the bookseller-printer Michiel van Hamont made in 1569, at the request of the authorities searching for heretical books. This is the first survey conducted on this subject. Spanish books that have effectively circulated within the Southern Netherlands, have generally been neglected by scholars. They mainly focused their attention on local production (which books were printed by whom) and export to the Iberian World (Kingdom of Spain and Americas). They studied the rise of Antwerp as a major centre of Spanish vernacular editions and its role in the dissemination of Spanish books. The first findings in this paper show that the distribution of Spanish books in Brussels in the mid-sixteenth century is merely a marginal phenomenon.


Urs B. Leu and Sandra Weidmann