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Abstract

Our understanding and perceptions of the conquest period in Latin American history have been profoundly altered by the scholarship of the past twenty years. The traditional triumphalist narrative of the Spanish Conquest focused heavily on the conquistadors in Mexico and Peru, and emphasized the inevitability and rapidity of military victory, religious conversion (the Spiritual Conquest), and colonization. The revisionist New Conquest History – which emerged in part from a renewed emphasis on archival and paleographic work and in part from the New Philology, a school of scholarship based on the analysis of colonial-period primary sources in Mesoamerican languages – complicates that narrative by emphasizing multiple protagonists and accounts, new source materials, the roles and interpretations of indigenous and black men and women, and the examination of understudied regions of the Americas.