The Invention of Colonialism: Myths of Slavery and Settlement in the Imaginary Genesis of Belize and Yucatan

Project: Research project

Project Details


Research and writing leading to a book on Belizean and Latin American history from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, focusing on competing experiences of British, Spanish, African, and indigenous Mayan residents.In this book project, I argue that the core concepts underpinning colonization in Belize and neighboring regions of Yucatan and Central America—conquest, settlement, and slavery—were 'mythistorical.' There, from the 16th to 19th centuries, Spaniards and Britons waged a protracted and multifaceted war against Indigenous and African-descended peoples. But they disguised that warfare within a mythology of colonial genesis, rewriting histories of conquest and settlement, codifying justificatory categories such as slavery and rebellion, even imagining foundational events. As a result of this multifaceted process, European colonizers invented, as much as they enacted, colonial settlement and rule. Built on fifteen years of archival research in seven countries, this book seeks to contrast colonialist mythistory with an evidence-based, comparative analysis of African, Maya, Miskitu, and European experiences. [Edited by staff.]
Effective start/end date7/1/236/30/24


  • National Endowment for the Humanities: $60,000.00


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