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September 27, 2006

Felipe Fernández-Armesto To Present Annual Kislak Lecture Nov. 9

British historian Felipe Fernández-Armesto will deliver the second annual Jay I. Kislak lecture titled “Re-Thinking Conquest: Spanish and Native Experiences in the Americas” at the Library of Congress at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9, in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C.

Sponsored by the Library’s John W. Kluge Center, the lecture is free and open to the public. No tickets or reservations are required.
In his lecture, Fernández-Armesto will argue that Spanish empire building in the Americas was, by most standards, more dynamic and big-scale than any comparable event at the time. His recent research, especially in native-language archives and neglected Spanish sources, will open new perspectives and make it possible to understand for the first time what the conquests really meant to those who experienced them.

Fernández-Armesto is the author of “Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration” (Norton), which will be released Nov. 27. He is also the Prince of Asturias Professor at Tufts University and a professorial fellow of Queen Mary and visiting professor of global environmental history at the University of London.

In addition to “Pathfinders,” Fernández-Armesto has written many books, including “The World: A History, Volume II, Since 1300” (2006); “Ideas That Changed the World” (2003); “The Americas” (2003); “Food: A History” (2001); “Civilizations” (2000); and “Millennium: A History of our Last Thousand Years” (1995).

Fernández-Armesto is a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, the Royal Historical Society, the Royal Society of Arts, the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences and a life member of the American Historical Association.

He has received the following honors: the Caird Medal and the John Carter Brown Medal for his work on colonial and maritime history, the Premio Nacional de Investigación of the Sociedad Geográfica Española for his work on environmental history, the Premio Nacional de Gastronomía for his book on the history of food and the Commendation of the Library Association of the United Kingdom for his contribution to works of reference.

The second Kislak lecture is a component of the Kislak American Studies Program established at the Library of Congress in 2004 by the Jay I. Kislak Foundation. The first Kislak lecture, titled “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed,” was given by Jared Diamond. In addition to the annual lecture series, the Kislak gift includes an important collection of books, manuscripts, historic documents, maps and art of the Americas. It contains some of the earliest records of indigenous peoples in North America, as well as superb objects from the discovery, contact and colonial periods, especially for the areas of Florida, the Caribbean and Mesoamerica.

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate, energize and distill wisdom from the library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For more information about the fellowships, grants and programs offered by the Kluge Center, visit

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PR 06-177
ISSN 0731-3527

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