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About MAtthew Restall


Matthew Restall was born in London, England, in 1964. He grew up in Spain, Venezuela, and East Asia, but was schooled in England, primarily at Wellington College, before going on to receive a BA degree in Modern History from Oxford University in 1986. He earned a PhD in Latin American History from UCLA in 1992, studying under James Lockhart, and has since held teaching positions at various universities in the United States. Restall has published over twenty books and eighty essays and articles since 1995. His best-known book is Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest (2003), which has also been published in Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian. His other books include The Maya World: Yucatec Culture and Society, 1550-1850 (1997), Maya Conquistador (1998), Invading Guatemala (with Florine Asselbergs, 2007), 2012 and the End of the World: The Western Roots of the Maya Apocalypse (with Amara Solari, 2011), Latin America in Colonial Times (with Kris Lane, 2011), and The Conquistadors (with Felipe Fernández-Armesto, 2012). His book The Black Middle: Africans, Mayas, and Spaniards in Colonial Yucatan won the Conference on Latin American History’s 2009 prize for best book on Mexican history; it was published in Spanish in 2020.

Restall's latest book on conquest history, When Montezuma Met Cortés, was published by Ecco/HarperCollins in 2018.  It is now available in multiple formats and languages.

He has since published two collaborative books on Maya history: Return to Ixil (with Mark Christensen) came out in 2019; and The Maya (with Amara Solari) was published in Oxford's Very Short Introductions series in 2020.

Also in 2020, he published a book for the 33 1/3 series on the album Blue Moves (see the separate section on Music).

He is currently writing books on early Belize, on world history, and on the history of post-pop.


Restall is a member of the New Philology school of colonial Mexican history, and a founder of a related school, the New Conquest History. He has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, the John Carter Brown Library, the Library of Congress, and the Capitol Historical Society. He was President of the American Society for Ethnohistory (2017-18) and Greenleaf Distinguished Professor of Latin American Studies at Tulane University (2020). He is editor of book series for Cambridge and Penn State university presses, and of the Hispanic American Historical Review.

Latest Projects

1949 Brit Hond stamp cover.jpg



The Caye, a history of Belize, compliments Restall's work on Yucatan and Mexico, exploring a new world of entangled empires.

Old World Map

Writing World History:

In a new project, Restall explores the history of humankind during the past five centuries.


Image by Adrian Korte

More on music:

Following his first foray into the world of music history with Blue Moves, Restall is currently writing a book on post-pop music.

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