William Hickling Prescott (1796 – 1859) was an American historian and Hispanist, who is widely recognized by historiographers to have been the first American scientific historian. Despite suffering from serious visual impairment, Prescott became one of the most eminent historians of 19th century America. After an extensive period of study, during which he sporadically contributed to academic journals, Prescott specialized in late Renaissance Spain and the early Spanish Empire. His works on the subject, including this volume, The History of the Conquest of Mexico (1843), A History of the Conquest of Peru (1847) and the unfinished History of the Reign of Phillip II (1856–1858) have become classic works in the field.
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