Animal Empires: The Perfection of Nature Between Europe and the Americas, 1492-1615 demonstrates how Renaissance patrons, naturalists, and husbandmen developed useful but dangerous ideas to make sense of natural diversity -- nobility, race, and species -- during the consolidation of the sixteenth-century Spanish Empire. Using the three major techniques at their disposal-relocation, cultivation and training, and selective breeding-elites began a colossal experiment. They sought to create an improved version of Christian nature both in European courts and then, on a larger scale than ever before imagined, in the Americas. Case studies focus on breeding theories and practices in Mantua, Naples, Madrid, Peru, and the Valley of Mexico. Starting in the heart of Renaissance Italy and ending high in the Andes, this project integrates disparate fields of investigation -- ranging from Renaissance aesthetics and animal studies to the histories of the Spanish Empire and of biology -- to reveal an ideal of nature grandly envisioned and prosaically enacted through imperial conquest.