The emperor of Ixcateopan: Fraud, nationalism and memory in modern Mexico

Paul Gillingham*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This article analyses the forgery and discovery of the purported tomb of Cuauhtémoc, the last Mexica emperor. An eclectic collection of contemporary sources outlines a subtle interplay between elites, cultural managers and peasants, who alternately collaborated and competed in manipulating the would-be invention. Groups traditionally undervalued in studies of nationalism, namely villagers and petty bureaucrats, went far beyond the mimesis of elites to significantly reshape parts of the national narrative. Their entrepreneurial success in manipulating nationalist symbols demonstrates that the instrumentalist use of the past is a cross-class activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)561-584
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Latin American Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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