Pre-Columbian Society of Washington DC

The Pre-Columbian Society of Washington, D.C. (PCSWDC), is an educational organization dedicated to furthering knowledge and understanding of the peoples of the Americas before the time of Columbus. Founded in 1993, the Society provides a forum for the exchange of information regarding these pre-Columbian cultures between academic professionals and interested members of the public.

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The Fall of the Aztecs: Uncovering the True Story by Matthew Restall, PhD, Pennsylvania State University.

This meeting will be held at the Charles Sumner School, 17th & M Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C.

The meeting starts with refreshments at 6:45 pm and the lecture begins at 7:15 pm.

For an empire that existed half a millennium ago, and whose written records were almost entirely destroyed, we have a remarkably clear sense of what brought the Aztecs down.  We assume the Aztec Empire was doomed from the start, because theirs was a doom-and-gloom culture.  But what if we have it all wrong?  What if Aztec civilization was not defined by a fatalistic obsession with human sacrifice?  What if we have been misled by conquistador propaganda for five centuries — lulled by the narcotic of a ripping good yarn?  Drawing from his forthcoming new book, When Montezuma Met Cortés, Professor Matthew Restall argues that to better understand the fall of the Aztecs and Spain’s conquistadors, we must view Aztec culture, the empire, and the emperor, very differently.

Matthew Restall was born and educated in England, but lived in Spain and Latin America as a child, developing a lasting fascination with Pre-Columbian and Spanish American history.  He is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Latin American History and Anthroplogy, and Director of Latin American Studies, at the Pennsylvania State University, and the author of some twenty books on topics such as Maya Conquistador and Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest.  This summer and fall he is a Kislak Fellow at the Library of Congress’s Kluge Center and a Capitol Fellow at the U.S. Capitol Historical Society.

Earlier Event: July 7
Later Event: September 16

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