Event—Public Programming

Captives and Cannibals: How History Gets Told in the Browning Manuscript


Domingo Chimalpahin, an indigenous chronicler from Amecameca, Mexico, wrote annals of his hometown in his native language of Nahuatl. But he also transcribed part of Francisco López de Gómara’s best-selling History of the conquest of Mexico (1552), complete with his own commentary. This annotated manuscript, preserved in the Ayer Collection, provides fascinating insight into how conquest history was received and transmitted in sixteenth-century New Spain. In this talk, I argue that Chimalpahin revises official history by ridiculing European fears of cannibalism and emphasizing a translator’s role, in order to highlight shared cultural values between Europeans and indigenous peoples