The Conquest of History

Spanish Colonialism and National Histories in the Nineteenth Century

First-class, a pleasure to read. The Conquest of History openly challenges recent studies on memory and historiography in Spanish nation-building, which have managed to ignore the colonial dimensions of the nation; it contributes to current scholarship on nations as imagined communities and to the field of postcolonial studies; finally, it sheds light on the origins of the discourse on 'mestizaje.' Filled with fresh insights, this book is an important contribution to the fields of cultural history, nation-building studies, and Atlantic (and Filipino) history.
Jorge CaƱizares-Esguerra, University of Texas at Austin

As Spain rebuilt its colonial regime in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines after the Spanish American revolutions, it turned to history to justify continued dominance. The metropolitan vision of history, however, always met with opposition in the colonies.

The Conquest of History examines how historians, officials, and civic groups in Spain and its colonies forged national histories out of the ruins and relics of the imperial past. By exploring controversies over the veracity of the Black Legend, the location of Christopher Columbus’s mortal remains, and the survival of indigenous cultures, Christopher Schmidt-Nowara’s richly documented study shows how history became implicated in the struggles over empire. It also considers how these approaches to the past, whether intended to defend or to criticize colonial rule, called into being new postcolonial histories of empire and of nations.

about the author

Christopher Schmidt-Nowara

Christopher Schmidt-Nowara is associate professor of history at Fordham University. He is the author of Empire and Antislavery: Spain, Cuba, and Puerto Rico, 1833-1874 and coeditor, with John Nieto-Phillips, of Interpreting Spanish Colonialism: Empires, Nations, and Legends.

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Christopher Schmidt-Nowara