Ohio State nav bar

Geoffrey Parker

Geoffrey Parker

Geoffrey Parker

Distinguished University Professor and Andreas Dorpalen Professor of European History


173 Dulles Hall
230 Annie & John Glenn Avenue
Columbus, OH

Google Map

Areas of Expertise

  • Early Modern European History
  • Military History
  • Environment, Health, Technology, and Science
  • Human Conflict, Peace, and Diplomacy


  • 1981 - Litt.D., Cambridge University for publications in early modern European history
  • 1968 - M.A. and Ph.D. in History, Cambridge University
  • 1965 - BA in History, Cambridge University

(The image is a cartoon of me by Osvaldo Pérez d’Elías published in the "Cultura" section of the Spanish newspaper ABC.)

(Professor Parker's Curriculum Vitae)

Geoffrey Parker, Distinguished University Professor, Andreas Dorpalen Professor of European History, and Senior Fellow of the Mershon Center for International Security

I was born in Nottingham, England, in 1943 and studied history at Christ’s College Cambridge (BA 1965; Ph.D. 1968; Litt.D. 1981). I have four children and three grandchildren.

After teaching at the Universities of Cambridge, St Andrews (Scotland) and British Columbia (Canada), in 1986 I moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as Charles E. Nowell Distinguished Professor of History and in 1993 to Yale University as Robert A. Lovett Professor of Military and Naval History before joining the faculty of the OSU History Department and the Mershon Center in January 1997.  I teach courses on the history of Reformation Europe and on military history at both undergraduate and graduate levels. I have directed or co-directed 6 Senior Honors essays and 35 Doctoral Dissertations to completion. I won an OSU Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award in 2006; the Harlan Hatcher Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research, and Service in 2007; and the Rodica C. Botoman Prize for distinguished undergraduate teaching and mentoring in 2022. 

I study the social, political and military history of Europe between 1500 and 1650, with special reference to Spain and its empire. My first book was The Army of Flanders and the Spanish Road. The logistics of Spanish victory and defeat in the Low Countries Wars, 1567-1659 (1972; revised edition 2004; Dutch, Polish and Spanish translations), which sought to explain why Spain – the only western superpower of its day – failed to suppress the Dutch Revolt. I then published a biography of Philip II (1978, third edition 2002; translated into  Czech, Dutch, Italian, Polish and Spanish), with an expanded version, Felipe II: la biografía definitiva (Barcelona, 2010), now in its tenth printing. In 2014 Yale University Press published Imprudent King: a new life of Philip II (with Dutch, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish translations). The book includes much previously unknown material from a cache of 3,000 documents written by or to Philip that I found  at the Hispanic Society of America in 2012, and cataloged together with two of my former advisees. 

With Colin Martin (another former graduate advisee) I published The Spanish Armada  in 1988 (the 400th anniversary), with a revised edition in 1999. In 2022 we published an extensively revised and expanded edition: Armada. The Spanish Enterprise and England’s Deliverance in 1588 , with a Spanish translation in 2023.

My other books on early modern Europe include The Dutch Revolt (1977; revised edition, 1984; Dutch, German and Spanish translations); Europe in Crisis, 1598-1648 (1979; revised edition, 2000; Italian and Spanish translations); The Thirty Years’ War (1984; revised edition, 1997; French, German, Italian and Spanish translations); and The Grand Strategy of Philip II (1998; Chinese, Spanish and Turkish translations).

The Military Revolution. Military innovation and the rise of the West, 1500-1800, first published by Cambridge University Press in 1988, won two book prizes. An expanded edition came out in 1996, now in its 20th printing, with Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and Turkish translations. I plan to publish a third, thoroughly revised edition in 2025.

I edited and co-authored  both The Cambridge Illustrated History of Warfare (1995) and The Cambridge History of Warfare (2005, with Chinese, Korean, Polish and Spanish translations). New editions of both works appeared in 2020, extending the narrative and analysis down to 2018.

I am also interested in world history, and edited The Times History of the World (third edition, 1995, many foreign language editions), the third edition of The Times Atlas of World History (1993), and The Times Compact Atlas of World History (fifth edition, 2008, many foreign language editions.)

In 2013 Yale University Press published The Global Crisis: war, climate, and catastrophe in the 17th-century, concerning the climatically-induced crisis that created acute political, economic, intellectual and social upheaval all round the globe, causing the premature death of around one-third of the human population.  Although not the first such worldwide crisis, it is both the most recent and the only one for which plentiful records survive.  I hope this study will help inform the current debate on the consequences for human society of sudden climatic change. In 2014 the Society for Military History awarded The Global Crisis its “best book” prize, and the British Academy awarded the book one of its “medals” that recognize “a landmark academic achievement in any of the disciplines supported by the Academy, which has transformed understanding of a particular subject or field of study”.  Chinese, Dutch, Polish and Spanish translations have appeared, with a "Revised and abridged" version from Yale in 2017.

In 2019 Yale University Press published Emperor: A new life of Charles V. Dutch, German, Italian and Spanish translations have appeared, with  Chinese, Estonian, Polish and Turkish translations in preparation. It is also available as an audiobook, and it won the 2020 Ohio Academy of History award for “the outstanding publication of the previous year.”

So far I have authored, co-authored, edited or co-edited 40 books and over 140 articles, review articles and book chapters. 

In 2012 the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences awarded me the biennial Heineken Prize for History, open to scholars in any field, any period, and any country. You will find below the "video profile," shown when I received the prize in Amsterdam. 

In 2021 the OSU Board of Trustees awarded me the Sullivant Medal, given once every five years “to a member of the university whose achievements have been extraordinary and distinctive.”  I am the twentieth recipient, and the third historian, to receive this award since its creation in 1924. 

In 2024 the American Historical Association awarded me one of three annual lifetime achievements awards for my work. You will also find below  a video of my "acceptance speech" when I received the prize.

I am a Fellow of the British Academy (1984); of the Real Academia Hispano-Americana de Ciencias, Artes y Letras of Cádiz, Spain (2004); of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2017); and of the American Philosophical Society (2023). I hold honorary doctorates from the Vrije Universiteit, Brussels (1990), the Katholieke Universiteit, Brussels (2005); and the Universidad de Burgos (2010).  In 1992 the king of Spain made me a Caballero Gran Cruz de la Orden de Isabella la Católica.


I have published over 140 articles, review articles and book chapters, as well as some Op-Ed pieces, including:


In Conversation

In December 2022 Dr Fiona Hill of the Brookings Institution joined me for a small-group conversation at the Mershon Center. Dr Hill was one of my undergraduate students at St Andrews University, and I invited her to reflect on her personal history as a first-generation college student from County Durham - the coal country of northern England -- a journey she has called "From the coal house to the White House". It was simply fabulous to see her and speak with her again.

The 2023 AHA Award for Scholarly Distinction

In January 2024 Geoffrey Parker was presented with the American Historical Association's Award for Scholarly Distinction.  The award is given to senior historians of the highest distinction for lifetime achievement. Below is a video of his award acceptance speech.

Commencement Address

"The Greatest gift an education gives is perspective", Ohio State University Commencement Address for Winter 2003 - Transcript of Commencement address (pdf)



I have delivered over 300 invited lectures and conference papers around the world, some of which
were recorded:


Some of my newspaper, television, radio and podcast interviews in North America and Europe include:


  • Debate About Felipe II (in Spanish), 1998, Moderator:  José Luis Balbín, Participants:  I.A.A. Thompson (Keele University), Magdalena de Pazzis Pi Corrales (Univ. Complutense), Luis Miguel Enciso Recio (Univ. Complutense) and Geoffrey Parker (Ohio State University).

Media Links

People Filters: