Department of History

Leonardo Moreno Alvarez

  • Visiting Lecturer

Dissertation working title: “The rise and fall of Cartagena de Indias: maritime economies, labor, and crisis in a Caribbean port city (1610-1700)”

This dissertation studies the economic and social impact of naval logistics in the early modern Iberian Atlantic. Using archives in Spain and Colombia, I investigate the lives of soldiers, sailors, craftsmen, and laborers of all races who kept the Iberian Atlantic ships afloat. Cartagena, the main port of entrance for enslaved Africans in South America until the 1640s, was also a place where different forms of labor (waged, coerced, convict, and enslaved) intersected and clashed with larger Spanish institutional designs.

My master’s thesis at Pitt, entitled Cartagena, 1641: Maritime economy and the logistics of global change, analyzed how naval warfare activities and the separation of the Portuguese and Castilian crowns affected one of the most important port cities of the early Spanish Caribbean. Before coming to Pittsburgh, I received a B.A. in History and an M.A. in Literary Studies from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Beginning as an undergrad, financial support from the ICANH (Colombian Institute for Anthropology and History) allowed me to do research in colonial archives in Colombia and Spain. These experiences gave me a strong background in the social, economic, and cultural history of Colonial Latin America.

Other academic interests of mine include social network data modeling, analysis and visualization; sociological approaches to institutions and organizations; and the history and politics of historical writing.

Advisor: Marcus Rediker
Additional Committee Members: George Reid Andrews, Molly A. Warsh, and David Wheat (Michigan State University).


Atlantic History (Transnational)
Latin America (Regional)
Early Modern Maritime Economies (Thematic)

Teaching Experience

University of Pittsburgh
2019   Teaching Fellow, “HIST 1060: The Global History of Piracy”
2018   Teaching Fellow, “HIST 600: US History to 1877”
            Led by Marcus Rediker
2017   Teaching Fellow, “HIST 501: Modern Latin America”
            Led by George Reid Andrews
2017   Teaching Assistant, “HIST 400: East Asian Civilization to 1800”
            Led by Vincent Leung
2016   Teaching Assistant, “HIST 101: Western Civilization 2”
            Led by Leslie Hammond

Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas, Bogotá (Colombia)
2013 – 2014 Adjunct Faculty, Social Science Teachers Qualification Program.

Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá (Colombia)
2011 & 2013 Adjunct Faculty, Department of Literature
2010             Graduate Teaching Assistant, Department of Literature.

Representative Publications

Manuscripts in preparation
“Cartagena, 1641: Maritime economy and the logistics of global change”

Refereed Journal Articles
2009   “Los caminos de la maldad universal en Gran Sertón: Veredas de João Guimarães Rosa.” Con-textos: revista de semiótica literaria (ISSN 0122-9184) 12:43.
2008   “La piratería americana y su incidencia en el Nuevo Reino de Granada, siglos XVI-XVIII: un ensayo bibliográfico.” Fronteras de la historia (ISSN 123-4676) 12.

Book Reviews
2009   Review of Pirate Novels: Fictions of Nation Building in Spanish America by Nina Gerassi-Navarro. Fronteras de la historia (ISSN 123-4676) N° 14-1.

Other Publications
2010   “Gógol y la historia” and “El camino y el espacio en Almas muertas.” Revista de Literatura Rusa Yasnaia Poliana (ISSN 2027-7024) 1.
2008   “Simulacros en la pantalla”. Revista Arcadia (ISSN 1900-589X) 36.
2008   “El novelista que prefería no inventar. Entrevista a William Ospina”. Revista Arcadia (ISSN 1900-589X) 38.

Conference Papers
2020   “From the bottom of the pit to the bottom of the ocean: Maritime labor, fraud, and the logistics of silver transportation in the mid-seventeenth century Spanish Caribbean.” American Historical Association Annual Meeting/Conference on Latin American History Annual Meeting. New York, NY.
2019   “Fraudsters, grifters, and divers: The logistics of labor and silver transportation in the Spanish Caribbean, late 1650s.” Hakluyt Society Symposium. Leiden (Netherlands).
2019   “War, Honor, and Contraband in the Spanish Caribbean: The social networks of Francisco Díaz Pimienta (1596-1653).” Latin American Studies Association Annual Meeting. Boston, MA.
2016   “Smugglers, bishops, scholars, and the evolution of a pirate story from the 17th century New Kingdom of Granada.” Latin American Studies Association Annual Meeting. New York, NY.
2016   “Economic linkages and naval logistics in 17th century Cartagena” Free and Unfree Labor in Indian and Atlantic Ocean Port Cities, c. 1700-1850. University of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, PA.
2014   “The Anglo-Spanish Conflict for Old Providence Island and the Territorialization of the Caribbean in the 17th Century.” 5th Ibero-American Symposium on the History of Cartography. Bogotá (Colombia).
2007   “Elaboration of a Catalog of Sources for the Study of Piracy.” Symposium on Maritime and Riverine Cultures/12th National Congress of Anthropology. Bogotá (Colombia).
2007   “The Political Economy of Piracy.” 15th Conference of the Association of Colombianists. Bogotá (Colombia).
2007   “Piracy and its Place in the Configuration of Caribbean Space.” Third International Symposium of the Colonial Americas Studies Organization. Quito (Ecuador).

Invited talks
2018   “Supply Networks and Naval Contractors in the Early Modern Caribbean: Cartagena de Indias and the Spanish-Portuguese Fleet of 1638-1642.” Seminario permanente sobre Historia de la Globalización. Área de Historia Moderna, Universidad Pablo de Olavide. Sevilla (Spain).
2013   “Early Colonization and Conflict in San Andrés and Providencia, 17th-18th centuries.” Panel: The Hague Ruling of 2012 and the Maritime and Territorial Dispute in the Caribbean, Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Bogotá (Colombia).

Research Grants

2019   Alexander O. Vietor Memorial Fellowship, John Carter Brown Library (Providence, RI). Project: “Oceans of paper: the flow of maritime information in the seventeenth-century Spanish Caribbean”
2018   European Studies Center Summer Pre-Dissertation Research Grant, University of Pittsburgh. Project: “Maritime economies, labor, and crisis in seventeenth-century Cartagena.”
2017   European Studies Center Summer Pre-Dissertation Research Grant, University of Pittsburgh. Project: “Trade, labor, and logistics in the seventeenth–century Spanish Caribbean.”
2016   European Studies Center Summer Pre-Dissertation Research Grant, University of Pittsburgh. Project: “Sailors and Merchants across the Spanish Caribbean, 1640-1650.”
2015   Colonial History Research Grant Program, Colombian Institute for Anthropology and History (ICANH). Project: “Colonial officials and imperial conflicts in the Caribbean Coast of the New Kingdom of Granada, 17th century.”
2014   Colonial History Research Grant Program, Colombian Institute for Anthropology and History (ICANH). Project: “Old Providence Island and the Anglo Spanish Conflict for the Western Caribbean, 1630-1670.”
2008 – 2010 Research Assistant, Department of Literature, Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Project: “Books, Readings and Readers in the Colonial Period” Joint project of the “History and Literature” and “Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature” research groups.
2006   Colonial History Research Grant Program, Colombian Institute for Anthropology and History (ICANH). Project: “Piracy in the Northern Coast of the New Kingdom of Granada, 1555-1713. Production of a Primary Source Catalog.”