Travel back in time to the recent past and explore the OUPblog’s top 10 history blog posts of 2021. From dispelling Euro-centric myths of the Aztec empire to considering humanity’s future through the lens of environmental history, think outside the box with the latest research and expert insights from the Press’s history authors.
1. Native conquistadors: the role of Tlaxcala in the fall of the Aztec empire
The Spanish invasion of Mesoamerica, leading to the collapse of the Aztec empire, would have been impossible were it not for the assistance provided by various groups of Native allies who sensed the opportunity to upend the existing geopolitical order to something they thought would be to their advantage. No group was more critical to these alliances than the Tlaxcaltecs.
In this blog post, David M. Carballo, author of Collision of Worlds: A Deep History of the Fall of Aztec Mexico and the Forging of New Spain, explores the history of the Tlaxcaltecs to dispel long-held Eurocentric narratives of the “conquest of Mexico.”
2. Thirteen new French history books [reading list]
Bastille Day is a French national holiday, marking the storming of the Bastille—a military fortress and prison—on 14 July 1789, in an uprising that helped usher in the French Revolution. In the lead up to the anniversary of Bastille day, we shared some of the latest French history titles for you to explore, share, and enjoy.
3. Seven new books on environmental history [reading list]
The reciprocal relationship between humanity and nature may define the future of our life on this planet, but it is also an inescapable force in our history. To discover how the natural world has impacted the course of history, explore these seven new titles on environmental history.
4. The three greatest myths of the Fall of Tenochtitlán
13 August 2021 marks the moment, exactly five hundred years ago, when Spanish conquistadors won the battle for Tenochtitlán, completing their astonishing conquest of the Aztec Empire, initiating the three-century colonial era of New Spain. At least, that is the summary of the event that has since predominated.
In recent decades, scholars have developed increasingly informed and complex understandings of the so-called Conquest, and opinions in Mexico itself have become ever more varied and sophisticated.
Read more from Matthew Restall, author of Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest, as he seeks to dispel the three greatest myths of the Fall of Tenochtitlán.
5. Mapping the great battles [interactive map]
Certain battles acquire iconic status in history. The victors have been celebrated as heroes for centuries, the vanquished serve as a cautionary tale for all, and nations use these triumphs to establish their founding myths.
In this interactive map, you can explore the legacy of 10 key battles dating back to 480 BC through World War II. Each battle is featured in our Great Battles collection, a growing series telling the story of some of the world’s most iconic battles.
6. Mexican independence from Spain and the first Mexican emperor
Mexico had been battling its way towards independence from Spain for some years when, in 1820, the Mexican-born officer, Agustín de Iturbide y Arámburu, proclaimed a new rebellion on behalf of what he called the Plan of Iguala. This called for Mexican independence, a constitutional monarchy with the Spanish king or another member of the Bourbon dynasty at its head, the Catholic religion as the only religion of Mexico, and the unity of all inhabitants, no matter what their origin, ethnicity, or social class.
In this blog post, Professor Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly, author of Projecting Imperial Power, details the rise and fall of Agustín de Iturbide y Arámburu, the first Mexican emperor, and his part in Mexican independence from Spain.