Personal profile


Professor Will Fowler was born and grew up in Barcelona, Spain, and came to Britain in 1985 to study Drama and Spanish at the University of Bristol. He stayed on in Bristol to complete a PhD thesis on an aspect of nineteenth-century Mexican political history, spending a year carrying out archival research in Mexico City (1990-91). He worked as a lecturer in Spanish at Leicester Polytechnic (subsequently renamed De Montfort University) for four years before joining the University of St Andrews in 1995. Professor of Spanish since 2006, he is the author of:

Mexico in the Age of Proposals, 1821-1853 (Westport, CT: 1998); 

Tornel and Santa Anna, The Writer and the Caudillo (Westport, CT: 2000); 

Latin America since 1780 (London, 2002; 2nd edition, 2008; 3rd edition, 2016); 

Santa Anna of Mexico (Lincoln, NE: 2007) (translated into Spanish first as Santa Anna by the Universidad Veracruzana in 2010, and more recently by Planeta in 2018 with the title Santa Anna. ¿Héroe o traidor? La biografía que rompe el mito);

Independent Mexico. The Pronunciamiento in the Age of Santa Anna, 1821-1858 (Lincoln, NE: 2016);

La Guerra de Tres Años, 1857-1861. El conflicto del que nació el Estado laico mexicano (Mexico City: 2020);

and The Grammar of Civil War. A Mexican Case-Study (1857-61) (Lincoln, NE: 2022).

He has published numerous articles and edited fourteen volumes on Mexican and Latin American political history, including Diplomacia, negocios y política. Ensayos sobre la relación entre México y el Reino Unido en el siglo XIX, co-edited with Marcela Terrazas (Mexico City, 2018), and Mexico 1848-1853: Los Años Olvidados, co-edited with Pedro Santoni (New York, 2018). He also coordinated a three-year AHRC-funded project on the dynamics and culture of the Mexican pronunciamiento (1821-76) (2007-2010).

He is currently working on a new biography of Habsburg Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico (1864-67).

Professor Fowler is a member (corresponsal internacional) of the Academia Mexicana de la Historia.

His novel Patriotas (a family saga set in nineteenth-century Mexico) is due to come out with Planeta on the 20th of April 2024.

Research overview

Latin American political history, especially of nineteenth-century Mexico: political ideas, factions, and institutions; biography (generals Tornel and Santa Anna); insurrectionary politics (the pronunciamiento) and military interventionism; issues of national identity; post-war Mexico (1848-1853); British-Mexican relations since independence; the Civil War of Reforma (1857-1861); and, currently, the Mexican Reform Period from a transnational perspective.

Research interests

Having published since 2020, two books on the Mexican 1857-61 Civil War, his current research interests revolve around what happened in Mexico between the end of the U.S.-Mexican War in 1848 and the rise of Porfirio Diaz to power in 1876. This entails focusing on Europe and the Americas in the 1860s, using the French Intervention in Mexico (1862-67) as a means to attaining a new transnational understanding of Mexico's so-called Reform Period that "Mexicanises," in turn, our understanding of the Age of Capital (1848-75).


Future research

Fowler is currently writing a new biography of Emperor Maximilian (1864-67) as part of his broader and ongoing research into Mexico's Reform Period (1848-76) and what it tells us about the Age of Capital in global terms from a transnational albeit deeply Mexican perspective.

Academic/Professional Qualification

BA, University of Bristol; PhD, University of Bristol; Society for Latin American Studies (President 2001-2003; Past President 2003-2005)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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