Mexican writer Enrique Krauze, winner of the Spanish Orders History Prize | Culture

The Mexican writer Enrique Krauze, in June 2019 in a hotel in Madrid.
The Mexican writer Enrique Krauze, in June 2019 in a hotel in Madrid.Jaime Villanueva

The Mexican writer and historian Enrique Krauze has won the Spanish Orders History Prize in its III Edition. His candidacy has been presented by the National Autonomous University of Mexico for “his extensive career as a historian, essayist, editor and liberal thinker,” among other reasons. The jury of the award has especially valued that “his work covers the entire Mexican history as a nation, from a broad perspective that welcomes both its actors and institutions. Based on research, it offers an independent vision of Mexican history where indigenous elements are combined with the Christian culture received from Europe ”.

Krauze was born in Mexico City in 1947. Industrial Engineer and Doctor in History from the Colegio de México (1974), he joined the magazine in 1977 Return, directed by Nobel laureate Octavio Paz, as editor-in-chief. He is the founder of the publishing house Clio (1991) and the cultural magazine Free Letters. He has been a professor at the universities of Oxford (1983) and Princeton (2013). His production as a historian includes texts that have become classic and that cover practically the entire history of Mexico as an independent nation. Among these, they stand out Biography of power, Century of Caudillos, Of heroes and myths, Mexico: biography of power, Cultural leaders in the Mexican Revolution Y The birth of institutions.

His vast historiographical work is characterized by analyzing the actors and decisive processes in the history of Mexico from a broad perspective. These collected texts have been published by Tusquets in the collection Enrique Krauze Historical Library. The author has been a member of the Mexican Academy of History since 1989 and of the National College of Mexico, since 2005. Among other recognitions received, the 1993 Comillas Award for Biography, Grand Cross of the Civil Order of Alfonso X El Sabio 2003, Grand Cross Cruz de la Orden de Isabel La Católica 2009, the National History Award from the Mexican government (2010), and the doctorate Honoris causa from the University of Guadalajara in 2017.

Recognized as one of the most important Mexican historians of his generation, and one of the most relevant liberal intellectuals in Latin America, Krauze has stood out over four decades for his commitment to defending democracy and liberal values, and for the denunciation of dictatorships of all kinds, fanaticism of identity, populism, and authoritarianism. The Spanish Orders History Prize is endowed with 60,000 euros and was created with the aim of extolling the value of history and becoming an international benchmark in this science.

On his last visit to Madrid, in June 2019, Krauze gave a lecture at the Royal Academy of History on the conqueror Hernán Cortés, whom he perhaps perceives as a secular name whose image is subjected to constant deformations without being able to get out from a long quarantine. It would seem that an example of this came from the hand of the current president of his country, López Obrador, when in March 2019 he gave up for demanding forgiveness from Spain because of the conquest. That is why the author of The town is me (Debate), an essay on contemporary populism, without wanting to name the president, told EL PAÍS on that occasion that rigor must be given way: “To analyze his figure, the time has come for historians, not politicians” .

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