Felipe Fernández-Armesto

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Felipe Fernández-Armesto (born 1950) is a British professor of history and author of several popular works, notably on cultural and environmental history.

Life and career[edit]

He was born in London; his father was the Spanish journalist Felipe Fernández Armesto and his mother was Betty Millan de Fernandez-Armesto, a British-born journalist and co-founder and editor of The Diplomatist, the in-house journal of the diplomatic corps in London.

Felipe Fernandez-Armesto joined the history department at the University of Notre Dame in 2009, after occupying chairs at Tufts University and at Queen Mary College, University of London. He had spent most of his career teaching at Oxford, where he was an undergraduate and doctoral student. He has had visiting appointments at many universities and research institutes in Europe and the Americas and has honorary doctorates from La Trobe University and the University of the Andes, Colombia. He began his teaching career at Charterhouse School in Godalming, Surrey.

In 1982 he published The Canary Islands after the Conquest: The Making of a Colonial Society in the Early Sixteenth Century, an archival study of the Canary Islands during the period of their original settlement. In 1987 he published Before Columbus: Exploration and Colonization from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic 1229–1492, a study of the earliest phase of European imperialism when Europeans left the Mediterranean and colonized the islands along the northwest coast of Africa.

Fernández-Armesto gained media attention in 2007 for his alleged brutalisation by five policemen in Atlanta, Georgia, following an incident of jaywalking.[1][2]

Awards and honours[edit]

Among other distinctions, Fernández-Armesto has won the John Carter Brown Medal, the Caird Medal of the National Maritime Museum (UK), the Premio Nacional an Investigacion of the Sociedad Geográfica Española, Spain's Premio Nacional de Gastronomia for his history of food, and the Tercentenary Medal of the Society of Antiquaries of London.

Selected works[edit]

  • Ferdinand and Isabella (1975)
  • The Canary Islands after the Conquest (1982)
  • Before Columbus: Exploration and Colonization from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic 1229–1492 (1987)
  • The Spanish Armada (1990)
  • Columbus (1991)
  • Barcelona (1991)
  • Millennium: A History of Our Last Thousand Years (1995)
  • Reformation: Christianity & the World 1500 – 2000 (1996) (co-authored with Derek Wilson)
  • Truth: A History and a Guide for the Perplexed (1997)
  • Civilizations (2000).
  • Food: A History (published as "Near a Thousand Tables" in US/Can) (2001).
  • The Americas: A Hemispheric History (2003) ISBN 0-375-50476-1
  • Ideas That Changed the World (2003).
  • Humankind: A Brief History (2004).
  • Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration (2006) ISBN 0-19-929590-5
  • The World: A Brief History (2007)
  • Amerigo: The Man Who Gave His Name to America (2007)
  • 1492. The Year the World Began (2009)
  • Our America: A Hispanic History of the United States (2014)
  • A Foot in the River: Why Our Lives Change–and the Limits of Evolution (2015), Oxford University Press.
  • The Oxford Illustrated History of the World (2019), Oxford University Press.
  • Out of Our Minds: What We Think and How We Came to Think It (2019), Oneworld.
  • Straits: Beyond the Myth of Magellan (2022), Bloomsbury.

As editor[edit]


  1. ^ History News Network video interview with Professor Fernández-Armesto describing his arrest for jaywalking at the American Historical Association in Atlanta in January 2007.
  2. ^ Clout, Laura (11 January 2007). "Historian 'pinned to ground by US police and beaten for jaywalking'". The Daily Telegraph.
  3. ^ Buznea, Rina (28 April 2017). "History professor Felipe Fernández-Armesto awarded Civil Order of Alfonso X the Wise". Notre Dame International.

External links[edit]