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Maya Conquistador - Matthew Restall


Published: 30th August 1999
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The real story of the Mayan encounter with the Spanish, based on newly revealed eyewitness accounts

Our familiar images of Mexico's conquest are powerful and enduring: bold and bloodthirsty Spanish conquistadors; nobly savage Aztecs lamenting their broken bones and spears; the battles of Cortés and Montezuma; enormous pyramids and exquisite gold and jade ornaments unearthed in "the land of the sun."
But one story has not yet been told—and it is one that could reshape our entire vision of the conquest. It is the story of the Spanish creation of a colony in the Yucatán, home of the Maya since ancient times. Maya Conquistador tells this tale through a collection of unique firsthand accounts—most of them previously untranslated from the original Mayan hieroglyphs—written from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries. In it are surprising twists: the conquistadors are not Spaniards, but Mayas reconstructing their own sophisticated governance and society; and the conquest is not one event, but a story of the survival of a vital and complex civilization evolving over centuries of contact with the Spanish and other peoples.

Out of this new chapter in history, the Maya emerge not as passive victims of the Spanish, but as astute observers of their own past and participants in a rich tradition of cultural resilience. Their story is exciting reading to all who are fascinated by the Maya, and it offers rare insight to anthropologists, historians, and students of Mayan and Mexican civilization.

"The author's scholarly introduction puts the texts in proper perspective, making this a book for both specialists and anyone interested in ancient civilizations."

—Dallas Morning News

At last, the Mayas' perspective of the Spanish Conquest! Evocative and poignant. -Susan Schroeder, author of Chimalpahin and the Kingdoms of Chalco "Matthew Restall has discovered the lost world and re-awakened the silent voices of Maya conquistadors. Now everyone can read some of the surprising sources he has wrested from neglected archives, which make colonial society vivid and intelligible as never before." -Felipe Fern�ndez-Armesto, author of Before Columbus and Millennium: A History of the Last Thousand Years

"Now joining The Broken Spears in importance. . . . Maya Conquistador is provocative and highly recommended. It will undoubtedly alter previous views of the relationship between the Mayas and the Spanish conquerors of the Yucatan." -James C. Harrison, Multicultural Review

Maps and Figures
List of Abbreviations
Contexts and Conquestsp. 1
Conquestsp. 3
Recontextualizing Calamityp. 29
The Maya Accounts of the Conquest of Yucatanp. 51
The Insinuated Conquest: The Chontal Account from Acalan-Tixchelp. 53
Conquest as Chronology: The Annals of Oxkutzcabp. 77
The Community View: The Calkini Accountp. 82
Maya Conquistadors: The Pech Accounts from Chicxulub and Yaxkukulp. 104
The Cruel Cycle: The Accounts from the Books of Chilam Balamp. 129
A Hybrid Perspective: The Accounts by Gaspar Antonio Chip. 144
The Politics of Conquest: The Letters of the Batabob to the Kingp. 151
Conquest as Negotiation: The Perspective of Petitionsp. 169
Notesp. 179
Glossary of Maya and Spanish Termsp. 235
List of Historical Figuresp. 237
Bibliographyp. 239
Indexp. 251
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780807055076
ISBN-10: 0807055077
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 30th August 1999
Publisher: Beacon Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 15.88 x 22.86  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.36