Parution : Annals of Native America : how the Nahuas of colonial Mexico kept their history alive

Annals of Native America
Annals of Native America


  • Townsend, Camilla (1965-….). Auteur

Camilla Townsend, a Guggenheim Fellow, is Professor of Native American History at Rutgers University. She is the author of four books, including Malintzin’s Choices: An Indian Woman in the Conquest of Mexico and Here in This Year: Seventeenth-Century Nahuatl Annals of the Tlaxcala-Puebla Valley.

Résumé de l’éditeur

For many generations, the Nahuas of Mexico maintained their tradition of the xiuhpohualli (SHOO-po-wa-lee), or “year counts,” telling and performing their history around communal firesides so that the memory of it would not be lost. When the Spaniards came, young Nahuas took the Roman letters taught them by the friars and used the new alphabet to record historical performances by elders. These written texts were carefully preserved and even expanded upon for over a century. The annals, as they have often been called, were written not only by Indians but also for Indians, without regard to European interests. As such they are rare and inordinately valuable texts. But they have also been difficult for recent generations to understand. They have often been assumed to be both largely anonymous and at least partially inscrutable to modern ears.

Now Nahuatl scholar Camilla Townsend, by dint of careful research, has been able to deduce authorship in the case of most of the texts, allowing her to restore them to their proper contexts and make sense of long misunderstood documents. She follows a remarkable chain of Nahua historians chronologically, generation by generation, telling of their lives and exploring what they wrote and why they wrote it. Sometimes they conceived of their work as a political act, reinstating bonds between communities, or between past, present, and future generations. Sometimes they conceived of it as art more than anything else, and delighted in offering language that was beautiful or startling or humorous. They were the writers of a literature that they hoped would be passed down to posterity. Their work did survive. Here for the first time, samples of their many creations have been brought together into one book, together with the stories of the writers’ lives, to produce a work accessible to the people of today even as it remains faithful to the ethos of the past.


  • Acknowledgments
  • Glossary
  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: Old Stories in New Letters (1520s-1550s)
  • Chapter Two: Becoming Conquered (the 1560s)
  • Chapter Three: Forging Friendship with Franciscans (1560s-1580s)
  • Chapter Four: The Riches of Twilight (c. 1600)
  • Chapter Five: Renaissance in the East (the 17th century)
  • Epilogue: Postscript from a Golden Age
  • Appendices
  • The Texts in Nahuatl
  • Historia Tolteca Chichimeca
  • Annals of Tlatelolco
  • Annals of Juan Bautista
  • Annals of Tecamachalco
  • Annals of Cuauhtitlan
  • Chimalpahin, Seventh Relation
  • Don Juan Bautista Buenaventura Zapata y Mendoza
  • Annals of Puebla
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Informations pratiques

  • Éditeur : New York, NY : Oxford University Press
  • Date de parution : 2017
  • Description matérielle : 1 vol. (XVIII-318 p.) : ill., couv. ill. en coul. ; 25 cm
  • Bibliogr. p. 301-312. Notes bibliogr. Index
  • ISBN 978-0-19-062899-4 (rel.). – EAN 9780190628994. – ISBN 978-0-19-005552-3 (br.)1


  • PARIS-BnF : Tolbiac – Rez-de-jardin – magasin : 2017-92298
  • PARIS-BIS, Fonds général
  • PARIS-Fondation MSH
  • DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190628994.001.0001
  1. La version brochée est parue le 18 juillet 2019. []

Olivier Jacquot

Chargé de collections : manuscrits des fonds américains, Service des manuscrits ORientaux (SOR), département des Manuscrits (MSS), Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF)

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