Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest

ISBN-10: 0195176111

ISBN-13: 9780195176117

Edition: 2004 (Reprint)

Authors: Matthew Restall

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Here is an intriguing exploration of the ways in which the history of the Spanish Conquest has been misread and passed down to become popular knowledge of these events. The book offers a fresh account of the activities of the best-known conquistadors and explorers, including Columbus, Corts, and Pizarro. Using a wide array of sources, historian Matthew Restall highlights seven key myths, uncovering the source of the inaccuracies and exploding the fallacies and misconceptions behind each myth. This vividly written and authoritative book shows, for instance, that native Americans did not take the conquistadors for gods and that small numbers of vastly outnumbered Spaniards did not bring down great empires with stunning rapidity. We discover that Columbus was correctly seen in his lifetime--and for decades after--as a briefly fortunate but unexceptional participant in efforts involving many southern Europeans. It was only much later that Columbus was portrayed as a great man who fought against the ignorance of his age to discover the new world. Restall also shows that the Spanish Conquest relied heavily on black and native allies, who provided many thousands of fighters, vastly outnumbering the conquistadors. In fact, the native perception of the Conquest differed sharply from the Spanish version--they saw it as a native civil war in which the Spaniards played an important but secondary role. The Conquest, Restall shows, was more complex--and more fascinating--than conventional histories have portrayed it. Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest offers a richer and more nuanced account of a key event in the history of the Americas.
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Book details

List price: $19.99
Copyright year: 2004
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 10/28/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 240
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.034
Language: English

Matthew Restall is the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Colonial Latin American History, Anthropology and Women's Studies at Penn State University at University Park. He is also the co-director of "LiLACS" and Director of Latin American Studies, a member of the Committee for Early Modern Studies, the editor of "Ethnohistory Journal", and the series editor for "Latin American Originals". Restall's area of specialization resides in colonial Yucatan, Mexico, Maya history, the Spanish Conquest, and Africans in Spanish America. During the 1990s, his research focused on studying the Mayas of Yucatan through sources written in the Yucatec Maya language between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries--this work culminated in THE MAYA WORLD (1997) and MAYA CONQUISTADOR (1998). His research on the Conquest has been published as SEVEN MYTHS OF THE SPANISH CONQUEST (2003), and Invading Guatemala (2007). More recently, he received NEH and Guggenheim fellowships to study people of African descent in Mexico and Yucatan, and his book, THE BLACK MIDDLE: AFRICANS, MAYAS, AND SPANIARDS IN COLONIAL YUCATAN published in June of 2009.

Introduction: The Lost Words of Bernal Diaz
A Handful of Adventurers: The Myth of Exceptional Men
Neither Paid Nor Forced: The Myth of the King's Army
Invisible Warriors: The Myth of the White Conquistador
Under the Lordship of the King: The Myth of Completion
The Lost Words of La Malinche: The Myth of (Mis) Communication
The Indians Are Coming to an End: The Myth of Native Desolation
Apes and Men: The Myth of Superiority
Epilogue: Cuauhtemoc's Betrayal
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