Américo Castro

Américo Castro y Quesada (May 4, 1885 – July 25, 1972) was a Spanish cultural historian, philologist, and literary critic who challenged some of the prevailing notions of Spanish identity, raising controversy with his conclusions that (1) Spaniards didn't become the distinct group they are today until after the Islamic conquest of Hispania of 711, an event that turned them into an Iberian caste coexisting among Moors and Jews; and (2) the history of Spain and Portugal was adversely affected with the success in the eleventh to fifteenth centuries of the "Reconquista" or Christian reconquest of the Iberian peninsula and with the Spanish expulsion of the Jews (1492).


Castro was born to Spanish parents on May 4, 1885, in Cantagalo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 1890 his parents returned with him to Spain. In 1904 he graduated from the University of Granada, going on to study at the Sorbonne in Paris from 1905 to 1907. After returning to Spain he organized the Center for Historical Studies in Madrid in 1910 and headed its department of lexicography. In 1915 he became a professor at the University of Madrid.

Later, when the Spanish Republic was declared, Castro became its first ambassador to Germany in 1931. But when the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936 he moved to the United States, teaching literature at the University of Wisconsin–Madison from 1937 to 1939, at the University of Texas from 1939 to 1940, and at Princeton University from 1940 to 1953.

Among Castro's most notable scholarly works are The Life of Lope de Vega (1919); Language, Teaching, and Literature (1924); The Thought of Cervantes (1925); Ibero-America, Its Present and Its Past (1941); The Spaniards: an Introduction to their History (1948); The Structure of Spanish History (1954); and Out of the State of Conflict (1961).


  • Castro, Americo. Edmund L. King, Tr. (1954). The Structure of Spanish History. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
  • "Castro, Americo." (2005). The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Retrieved January 21, 2006, from Info Please
  • "Castro, Américo." (2006). Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved January 21, 2006, from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service
  • José Luis Gómez Martínez, "Américo Castro y Sánchez-Albornoz: Dos posiciones ante el origen de los españoles." Nueva Revista de Filología Hispánica 2l (l972): 30l-320.
  • Martin, Marina. (2006). "J. Goytisolo's Vindication of Muslim Spain: Count Julian's Revenge" (description of scholarly paper). The Fourth International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities. Retrieved January 19, 2006, from The Humanities Conference 06 website
  • Sicroff, Albert A. "Américo Castro and His Critics: Eugenio Asensio." Hispanic Review, Vol. 40, No, 1, 1972, pp. 1–30.