John Schwaller

Historian examines impact of Catholic Church on colonial Latin America

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John Schwaller

College of Arts and Sciences
Department: History

Catholic Church; Colonial Latin America; Aztec culture; Aztec language (Nahauti)

Campus phone: (518) 442-5300
Campus email: [email protected]


John Schwaller is conducting research on two broad topics in colonial Latin American History. He is working on a biography of a colonial figure, don Luis de Velasco, the Younger (1539-1617), who served as Viceroy of Mexico and of Peru and as President of the Council of the Indies. Linked to this research is a major study of service and reward in the colonial state.

This research looks at requests from citizens of the Spanish empire for privileges and grants from the Spanish crown in recognition of specific services which these individuals and their families had provided to the state.

He continues to study the Catholic Church in colonial Latin America and also works on several topics related to the Aztecs and the Aztec language, Nahuatl.

Schwaller, the president of SUNY Potsdam from 2006 to 2013, is the author of The First Letter from New Spain: The Lost Petition of Cort├ęs and His Company, June 20, 1519, with Helen Nader (University of Texas Press, 2014); The History of the Catholic Church in Latin America (New York University Press, 2011); and Francis in the Americas: Essays on the Franciscan Family in North and South America (Berkeley: Academy of American Franciscan History, 2005).