By Saje Mathieu
Prof. Rahn Phillips and Spanish ambassador, His Excellency Jorge Dezcallar
The Department of History is very proud to report that Professor Carla Rahn Phillips was granted an encomienda, a commendation, in the Royal Order of Isabel the Catholic. The Order was created by King Fernando VII in 1815 with the name of the Royal and American Order of Isabel the Catholic. It remains the only noble order in Spain open to non-Spaniards. The order has always had an international vocation, and since 1847, it has been linked to Queen Isabel I, who sponsored Columbus' 1492 voyage to America. In modern times, the award's function has been "to reward extraordinary accomplishments of a civil character, realized by Spa-niards and foreigners, that redound to the benefit of the nation or that contribute, in a relevant manner, to fostering relations of friendship and cooperation between the nation of Spain and the rest of the international community."
Professor Phillips' outstanding scholarly work on Spain—especially her work on maritime history and the protection of Spain's maritime heritage—earned the distinct privilege of this award. Her books include The Treasure of San José: Death at Sea in the War of the Spanish Succession (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007) and Six Galleons for the King of Spain: Imperial Defense in the Early Seventeenth Century (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986). She has also earned praise for her Renaissance Quarterly articles "Twenty Million People United by an Ocean: Spain and the Atlantic World Beyond the Renaissance" (Spring 2009) and "Visualizing Imperium: The 'Virgin of the Seafarers' and Spain's Self-Image in the Early Sixteenth Century" (Fall 2005).
King Juan Carlos I personally selected Professor Phillips from a distinguished list of nominees. She was knighted in a formal ceremony at the residence of the Spanish ambassador in Washington, D.C. in November 2008. The Department of History congratulates Carla on this great accomplishment.