Charles Gibson
Alma mater

Charles Gibson (12 August 1920 – 22 August 1985, Keeseville, N.Y.) was an American ethnohistorian who wrote foundational works on the Nahua peoples of colonial Mexico and was elected President of the American Historical Association in 1977.[1][2][3]

He studied history at Yale University with George Kubler, and he taught for a number of years at University of Iowa before moving to University of Michigan. His dissertation on the Nahua polity of Tlaxcala (published in 1952 as Tlaxcala in the Sixteenth Century), a key ally of the Spaniards in the conquest of Mexico, was the first major study of conquest and early colonial era Nahuas from the indigenous perspective. It remains a model for scholars working on Mesoamerican ethnohistory.[4]

He also contributed to the creation of important bibliographic guides to works in Mexican history, such as the Handbook of Latin American Studies and Mesoamerican ethnohistory as well as an index to the journal Hispanic American Historical Review. The culmination of his work on colonial-era Nahuas is The Aztecs Under Spanish Rule: A History of the Indians of the Valley of Mexico, 1519–1810 (1964), which "reordered the research priorities for a generation of colonial historians."[5]



  1. ^ Robert A. Potash [es], "Charles Gibson (August 12, 1920- August 22, 1985, Handbook of Latin American Studies, vol. 48, p. v.
  2. ^ Chevalier, François (May 1986). "Charles Gibson (1920–1985)". The Hispanic American Historical Review 66 (2): 349–351.
  3. ^ James Lockhart,"Charles Gibson and the Ethnohistory of Postconquest Central Mexico" in Nahuas and Spaniards Stanford: Stanford University Press 1993, pages=159–182
  4. ^ Lockhart,"Charles Gibson and the Ethnohistory of Postconquest Central Mexico."
  5. ^ Potash, "Charles Gibson," p. v.