John Elliott

1999 Balzan Prize for History, 1500-1800

For his outstanding contributions to the history of Spain and the Spanish Empire in the early modern period. He has transformed our understanding of the problems confronting Spain and its leaders in the age of its incipient decline; his scholarly and elegant writings have brought the history of the Iberian peninsula back into the mainstream of European and world history.

Sir John Elliott, born on 23 June 1930, in Reading, is a British citizen.

Regius Professor Emeritus in the University of Oxford, and Honorary Fellow of Oriel College.

He obtained his BA (1952) and PhD (1955) at Cambridge University, where he was appointed Assistant Lecturer (1957) and then Lecturer (1962) in History. He was Trevelyan Lecturer at Cambridge in 1983, and became an Honorary Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1991.

From 1968 to 1973 he was Professor of History and Head of the History Department at King’s College, University of London, and then moved to the United States, where he was a Professor in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton from 1973 to 1990. He was King Juan Carlos Visiting Professor at New York University in 1988.

From 1990 to 1997 he was Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford University.

He was awarded a Knighthood in 1994, and is a holder of the Grand Cross of Alfonso X el Sabio (1988) and of Isabel la Católica (1996). He won the Príncipe de Asturias Prize for the Social Sciences in 1996.

Fellow of the British Academy and of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Member of the American Philosophical Society. Member of other learned societies including La Real Academia de la Historia (Madrid), and honorary doctor of a number of universities, including Barcelona, Madrid (Autónoma), Genoa, Warwick, and Brown.

The bibliography of Sir John Elliott includes the following books, many of which have been also translated into Catalan, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish:

  • The Revolt of the Catalans: A Study in the Decline of Spain 1598-1640, 1963;
  • Imperial Spain, 1469-1716, 1963;
  • Europe Divided, 1559-1598, 1969;
  • The Old World and the New, 1492-1650, 1970; 
  • Memoriales y cartas del Conde Duque de Olivares, 2 vols., with J. F. de la Peña, 1978-1981;
  • A Palace for a King: The Buen Retiro and the Court of Philip IV, with J. Brown, 1980;
  • Richelieu and Olivares, 1984;
  • The Count-Duke of Olivares: The Statesman in an Age of Decline, 1986;
  • Spain and Its World, 1500-1700, 1989.
  • “Festschrift” in his honour: Spain, Europe and the Atlantic World: essays in honour of John H. Elliott, 1995.

(October 1999)

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