Open main menu

Nigel Davies (historian)

Dr. Claude Nigel Byam Davies (2 September 1920 – 25 September 2004), known as Nigel Davies, was a British anthropologist and historian who specialised in the study of the cultures of pre-Columbian America, publishing 12 academic works on the Aztec, Inca and Toltec societies. In addition to his academic work, Davies also served with the Grenadier Guards during the Second World War, briefly sat as an MP for Epping and as the managing director of Windowlite Ltd.

Nigel Davies
Born2 September 1920
Died25 September 2004(2004-09-25) (aged 84)
Occupationanthropologist, historian, MP and soldier


Born in September 1920 to Claude and Nellie Davies,[1] Nigel was educated at Eton College and subsequently at the University of Provence and briefly at the University of Potsdam in Berlin before the outbreak of the Second World War.[2] In 1939 Davies attended the Royal Military College, Sandhurst and graduated the following year, taking a commission as a lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards.[3] During the war, Davies served in the Middle East, Italy and the Balkans, leaving the services after the end of the war in 1946. In the general election of 1950, Davies stood for and won the seat of Epping as a Member of Parliament for the Conservative Party. A year later he gave up the seat, refusing to stand in the general election of 1951 at which the constituency was won by Conservative candidate Graeme Bell Finlay.

Davies subsequently entered academia, achieving a ph.D. in archaeology and studying at University College London and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. He made a lifelong study of the ancient civilisations of the Americas, concurrently with his role as the managing director of Windowlite Ltd.[2] Among Davies works are books on the Aztec civilisation, the Incas of South America and in particular the Toltecs, the pre-Aztec people of Central Mexico. His works were well received and are now standard references.[1] Davies never married and later retired to live in Tijuana, dying in September 2004.[2]


  • Los Señoríos Independientes del Imperio Azteca, 1968
  • Los Mexicas: primeras pasos hacia el imperio, 1973
  • The Aztecs, 1973
  • The Toltecs, 1976
  • Voyagers to the New World, fact and fantasy, 1979
  • The Toltec Heritage, 1980
  • Human Sacrifice, 1981
  • The Ancient Kingdoms of Mexico, 1983
  • The Rampant God, 1984
  • The Aztec Empire, 1987
  • The Incas, 1995
  • The Ancient Kingdoms of Peru, 1997


  1. ^ a b Nigel (Byam) Davies Archived 27 September 2003 at the Wayback Machine., Minnesota State University, Retrieved 8 November 2008
  2. ^ a b c Davies, (Claude) Nigel (Byam), Who Was Who, (subscription required), Retrieved 8 November 2008
  3. ^ "No. 34719". The London Gazette. 27 October 1939. p. 7250.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Leah Manning
Member of Parliament for Epping
Succeeded by
Graeme Bell Finlay