Yucatan: before and after the conquest – diego de landa

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Yucatan: Before and After the Conquest – Diego de Landa

Reading Friar Diego de Landa’s book is quite a different experience from those of reading theother articles featured in this class. It is essentially commentary by de Landa on what he saw during his time with the Maya. While it is incrediblyinteresting to finally have a full description of what life was like and histories of Maya people from the Maya themselves, it is difficult to fully accept andrecognize, seeing as this is merely de Landa’s interpretation of what he saw. It is clear that he was mistaken on a few things, seeing as modern researchhas proven him wrong, however, his descriptions give a good base for understanding what we are dealing with.
Knowing what de Landa later did, such asburning all but a few of their books, it is interesting to see his seemingly appreciative and admiring descriptions of the Maya. He even seemed impressed bysome of their accomplishments, such as when he comments on the books, and how they “gave it a white finish excellent for writing upon” (de Landa 13). Heseemed to admire their society as well, saying of the lords, “they enjoined upon them good treatment of the common people, the peace of the community, and thatall should be diligent in their own support and that of the lords” (de Landa 12). It was obvious that the Spaniards were shocked and amazed at the Mayanculture, noting their advances in archaeology, art, science, and government. Still, they did not hesitate to attempt to change the Maya into something
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