A Spanish MEP, Teresa Giménez Barbat, elected for the now-defunct UPyD party, has started a media campaign to award one of Spain's prestigious Princess of Asturias Awards to the writer and scholar María Elvira Roca, for her book Imperiofobia y leyenda negra (Empire-phobia and Black Legend), a work that tries to whitewash the so-called 'black legend' surrounding the Spanish empire, most frequently quoted with reference to events such as the Inquisition and Spain's treatment of indigenous Americans during its colonial era.
Roca's work places the Spanish Empire in the context of other colonial empires, and also tries to dismount the legend around the Spanish Empire in Europe during the religious wars of the 16th and 17th centuries. Indeed, the book claims that Spain's black legend was created by Germans, Flemish and English.
Since its publication in 2016, the book has gone through 25 editions. It has not been published in English. Chicago University professor of Spanish culture Miguel Martínez commented that, while the book is likely to make "minimal impact" academically, it does deserve discussion, but for other motives: "It is urgent to dismantle its pseudo-historical arguments in the field of public discourse, because the book has been providing ideological ammunition for the most self-serving and reactionary nationalism," said Martínez in a review in the magazine ctxt (link in Spanish).
Spain's Princess of Asturias prizes are awarded annually for achievements in the sciences, humanities, and public affairs, and the politician Giménez has created a text base to send to the Princess of Asturias foundation to support the nomination of Roca's work.
According to the MEP's website, among those who have signed the proposal are former Spanish prime minister Felipe González, his deputy Alfonso Guerra, philosopher Fernando Savater and MEPs Javier Nart (Cs) and Esteban González Pons (PP), among others.