Born between 1568 and 1580, Alva Ixtlilxochitl was a direct descendant of Ixtlilxochitl I and Ixtlilxochitl II, who had been rulers of Texcoco, one of the major city-states in pre-Conquest Mesoamerica. After a distinguished education and introduction into the life of the empire of New Spain in Mexico, Ixtlilxochitl was employed by the viceroy to write histories of the indigenous peoples in Mexico. Engaging with this history and delving deep into the resultant archives of this life's work, Amber Brian addresses the question of how knowledge and history came to be crafted in this era.
Brian takes the reader through not only the history of the archives itself, but explores how its inheritors played as crucial a role in shaping this indigenous history as the author. The archive helped inspire an emerging nationalism at a crucial juncture in Latin American history, as Creoles and indigenous peoples appropriated the history to give rise to a belief in Mexican exceptionalism. This belief, ultimately, shaped the modern state and impacted the course of history in the Americas. Without the work of Ixtlilxochitl, that history would look very different today.