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The Aztecs Under Spanish Rule: A History of…

The Aztecs Under Spanish Rule: A History of the Indians of the Valley of… (original 1964; edition 1964)

by Charles Gibson (Author)

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511371,256 (5)None
Here is the complete history of the Indians of the Valley of Mexico, one of the two most important religious groups in the Spanish empire in America, from the Conquest to Independence in the early nineteenth century. Based upon ten years of research, this study focuses on the effect if Spanish institutions on Indian life at the local level.… (more)
Title:The Aztecs Under Spanish Rule: A History of the Indians of the Valley of Mexico, 1519-1810
Authors:Charles Gibson (Author)
Info:Stanford University Press (1964), 672 pages
Collections:Your library, Boring books
Tags:american history 1600-1900, colonialism

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The Aztecs Under Spanish Rule: A History of the Indians of the Valley of Mexico, 1519-1810 by Charles Gibson (1964)


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The author worked on this book from the 1950's to the 1960's and it seems safe to say that it is a product of it's time. He discusses how the Spanish organized economic production, religion, land usage, tribute, and a host of other things in the Aztec lands after the conquest and all the way up to Mexican independence. The emphasis is on weighing the relative importance of different Spanish institutions and practices against each other through the colonial era, utilizing statistics when they are available and roundabout estimates when they are not. The research is so meticulous that even the endnotes and the bibliography are almost 200 pages long. I would imagine that this book can serve as a great bibliographical resource for later generations of researchers.

However, general readers will not be well served by an analysis which forces them to draw their own conclusions. The author does not feel the need to provide any kind of evaluative commentary in his narrative. To a modern reader this seems absurd, particularly in light of the fact that the Aztec population declined precipitously after the conquest and was clearly exploited by its conquerors. In the 400 pages of text which constitute the main part of this book, the author spends perhaps two or three pages on discussing these two the reasons for Aztec decline and refrains from any moral condemnation. It must have been an ideal of historical scholarship in the 1960's not to pass judgment on bygone ages. This attitude is no longer satisfactory in the 21st century, especially in a book which claims to be discussing the Aztec people. I would for this reason not recommend this book to modern readers even though the scholarship itself is of high quality.
  thcson | Jun 7, 2020 |
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