Matthew Restall is one of the world's leading historians of Colonial Latin America. He is an ethnohistorian and a scholar of conquest, colonization, and the African diaspora in the Americas. He is currently Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Latin American History and Anthropology, and Director of Latin American Studies, at the Pennsylvania State University. He is co-editor of Ethnohistory journal, and editor of the book series Latin American Originals.
Restall was born in a suburb of London, England, in 1964. He grew up in Spain, Venezuela, and East Asia, but was schooled in England, primarily at Wellington College, before going on to receive a BA degree with first-class honours in Modern History from Oxford University in 1986. He earned a PhD in Latin American History from UCLA in 1992, studying under James Lockhart, and has since held teaching positions at various universities in the United States. A prolific scholar, Restall's twenty books and fifty articles and essays published since 1995 have earned him an international reputation as a leader in his field. His books include The Maya World: Yucatec Culture and Society, 1550-1850 (1997), Maya Conquistador (1998), Invading Guatemala (with Florine Asselbergs, 2007), 2012 and the End of the World: The Western Roots of the Maya Apocalypse (with Amara Solari, 2011), Latin America in Colonial Times (with Kris Lane, 2011), and The Conquistadors (with Felipe Fernández-Armesto, 2012). His book The Black Middle: Africans, Mayas, and Spaniards in Colonial Yucatan won the Conference on Latin American History’s 2009 prize for best book on Mexican history. His most widely read book is Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest (2003), also published in Spanish and in Portuguese.
He is a prominent member of the New Philology school of colonial Mexican history, and a founder of a related school, the New Conquest History. He has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and the John Carter Brown Library.
Restall's sister is Emma Restall Orr, the neo-Druid author. His father is the ornithologist and bird artist, Robin Restall. He is married to the art historian, Amara Solari.
This is a list of Restall’s twenty books, including edited volumes, co-authored works, and foreign-language editions.
- Conquista de Buenas Palabras y de Guerra: una visión indígena de la conquista (with Michel Oudijk). Mexico City: UNAM. Revised edition of La Conquista Indígena. (2013)
- Los Conquistadores (with Felipe Fernández-Armesto). Madrid: Alianza Editorial. Spanish edition of The Conquistadors. (2013)
- The Conquistadors: A Very Short Introduction (with Felipe Fernández-Armesto). Oxford: Oxford University Press. (2012)
- Latin America in Colonial Times (with Kris Lane). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (2011)
- The Riddle of Latin America (with Kris Lane). Boston: Cengage. (2011)
- 2012 and the End of the World: The Western Roots of the Maya Apocalypse (with Amara Solari). Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. (2011)
- The Black Middle: Africans, Mayas, and Spaniards in Colonial Yucatan. Stanford: Stanford University Press. (2009)
- Black Mexico: Race and Society from Colonial to Modern Times (editor, with Ben Vinson III). Diálogos series. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. (2009)
- La Conquista Indígena de Mesoamérica: El caso de Don Gonzalo Mazatzin Moctezuma (with Michel Oudijk). Puebla, Mexico: Secretaría de Cultura del Gobierno del Estado de Puebla. (2008)
- Invading Guatemala: Spanish, Nahua, and Maya Accounts of the Conquest Wars (with Florine Asselbergs). Latin American Originals #2. University Park: Penn State University Press. (2007)
- Sete mitos da conquista espanhola. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira. Portuguese edition of Seven Myths. (2006)
- Mesoamerican Voices: Native-Language Writings from Central Mexico, Oaxaca, Yucatan, and Guatemala (with Lisa Sousa and Kevin Terraciano). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (2005)
- Beyond Black and Red: African-Native Relations in Colonial Latin America (editor). Diálogos series. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. (2005)
- Los siete mitos de la conquista española. Barcelona: Paidós (Paidós Orígenes #46). Spanish edition of Seven Myths. (2005)
- Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest. New York: Oxford University Press. (2003)
- Maya Survivalism (editor, with Ueli Hostettler). Markt Schwaben, Germany: Verlag Anton Saurwein (Acta Mesoamericana No. 12). (2001)
- Maya Conquistador. Boston: Beacon Press. (1998)
- Dead Giveaways: Indigenous Testaments of Colonial Mesoamerica and the Andes (editor, with Susan Kellogg). Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. (1998)
- The Maya World: Yucatec Culture and Society, 1550-1850. Stanford: Stanford University Press. (1997)
- Life and Death in a Maya Community: The Ixil Testaments of the 1760s. Lancaster, CA: Labyrinthos. (1995)
- "Matthew Restall — Department of History". Pennsylvania State University, Directory. 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
- Matthew Restall, Faculty webpage at Penn. State U.
- Latin American Originals, Pennsylvania State University Press
- Ethnohistory Quarterly, American Society for Ethnohistory
- Works by or about Matthew Restall in libraries (WorldCat catalog)