The Oxford History of Mexico

The Oxford History of Mexico

The Oxford History of Mexico

The Oxford History of Mexico

Synopsis

Mexico is a country of fascinating contrasts--glorious history and tumultuous politics, extraordinary culture and desperate poverty, ancient traditions and rapid modernization. Yet despite the growing curiosity about Mexico due to increased trade and commerce, mostly resulting from NAFTA, as well as increased tourism and immigration, there is presently no up-to-date, accessible history of Mexico for general readers.
The Oxford History of Mexico, edited by Michael Meyer and William Beezley is a comprehensive, lucidly written, and fully current narrative history by twenty of the most esteemed historians of Mexico writing today. Drawing on radical changes in scholarship on Mexico over the past 15 years,TheOxford History of Mexicocovers all aspects of the rich history of Mexico from precolonial times to the present. Exploring politics, religion, technology, modernization, ethnicity, colonialism, ecology, the arts, mass media, and popular culture, The Oxford History of Mexico provides a wealth of information for all readers interested in this remarkable country.
Fully illustrated, with black-and-white photos throughout and a sixteen page color insert, suggestions for future reading, an index, and a glossary, this is the fullest and most engaging history of Mexico available today.

Excerpt

The distinct races of the world tend to mix more and more until they
form a new human type.… Even the most contradictory mixtures can
always be beneficially resolved because the spiritual factor in each serves
to elevate the whole.

JOSÉ VASCONCELOS (1882–1959)

La raza cósmica

Mexico is the product of a collision between, and ultimately a fusion of, two vastly different worlds. In the early 16th century, a generation after Christopher Columbus bumped into Watling Island in the Bahamas, Spain encountered a bewildering kaleidoscope of Mesoamerican cultures in what later became southern and central Mexico. And more would be found in the decades ahead as a series of frontiers were pushed farther and farther to the north. Although the Spaniards were not strangers to the notion that racial and ethnic confrontations could be followed by accommodation, reconciliation, and the blending of ideas, they were not prepared for the remarkable civilizations they encountered. The Native American community found itself surprised and unprepared as well. Neither party to this epic rendezvous would again be the same. Mexican historian Enrique Krauze captured the essence of this historical moment perfectly in a recent description of the first meeting of Hernán (Fernando) Cortés and Moctezuma (Moteuczoma, or Montezuma): “They created a new nationality at the instant they met.”

Once the physical conquest played itself out, shattering the status quo and defining history’s latest victors and vanquished, both the conquerors and the conquered set out to test each other’s tolerance levels and devise strategies of acceptance and rejection. This process itself was of such a magnitude that it has already taken more than four full centuries and is not yet completed. In their appraisal of the Native American civilizations, the Spanish philosophers, theologians, and bureaucrats had to decide what could be warmly embraced, what might be indifferently allowed, and what was so noxious to Spanish notions of polity and Christian ethic that it had to be brazenly suffocated. Where persuasion failed, coercion followed.

Similar choices confronted the Native American communities, whether they were found in the southern rain forests or the northern deserts of what came to be . . .

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