William Hickling Prescott

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Prescott, William Hickling


Born May 4, 1796, in Salem, Mass.; died Jan. 28, 1859, in Boston, Mass. American historian and literary scholar.

Prescott’s first field of research was Western European literary history. He then studied Spanish history of the 15th and 16th centuries and the Spanish colonial conquests in America. His histories were written from a bourgeois liberal point of view. In his works Conquest of Mexico (1843; abridged Russian translation, vols. 1–2, 1885) and Conquest of Peru (1847; abridged Russian translation, 1886), Prescott drew on an abundance of original sources. Although he idealized certain conquistadors, he exposed the greed and cruelty of the Spanish colonizers. Prescott was a member or corresponding member of several academies and scientific societies in Western Europe and the USA.


The Works, vols. 1–22. Philadelphia-London, 1904.
The Correspondence: 1833–1847. Boston-New York, 1925.
The Literary Memoranda, vols. 1–2. Norman, 1961.
The Papers. Urbana, 1964.
In Russian translation:
Istoriia tsarstvovaniia Filippa II, parts 1–2. St. Petersburg, 1858.


Gardiner, C. H. W. H. Prescott. Washington, 1958. (Contains a bibliography.)