Ambivalent Conquests: Maya and Spaniard in Yucatan, by Inga Clendinnen

By Inga Clendinnen

In what's either a particular learn of conversion in a nook of the Spanish Empire and a piece with implications for the certainty of ecu domination and local resistance in the course of the colonial international, Inga Clendinnen explores the intensifying clash among competing and more and more divergent Spanish visions of Yucatan and its harmful results. In Ambivalent Conquests Clendinnen penetrates the pondering and feeling of the Mayan Indians in an in depth reconstruction in their evaluation of the intruders. This new version features a preface via the writer the place she displays upon the book's contribution some time past fifteen years. Inga Clendinnen is Emeritus student, LaTrobe collage, Australia. Her books comprise the acclaimed examining the Holocaust (Cambridge, 1999), named a top publication of the yr through the hot York instances booklet overview, and Aztec: An Interpretation (Cambridge, 1995), and Tiger's Eye: A Memoir (Scribner, 2001).

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Extra info for Ambivalent Conquests: Maya and Spaniard in Yucatan, 1517-1570

Example text

Longevity was a requirement because Spanish judicial mills ground only fractionally faster than the mills of God. The litigious­ ness of the Yucatan settlers usually stopped within the borders of their own province, although within those limits the contests in law seem to have replaced the excitements of the campaign, to judge by the mounds of documents so generated. But if such disputes added Settlers 43 zest to provincial life, the colonists were adequately united in their essential interests.

There were other less obvious but pervasive influences. Indians built the Spaniards' houses, in hopeful approximation to sketches of Spanish design, but with an ineradicable Indian flavour in the decorative detail. Inside those houses Spaniards slept in hammocks for coolness, like Indians, and ljke Indians woke to the gentle regular rasp of grinding stone on stone slab, as their Indian women ground the maize to smoothness. Wheat would not grow in that stony ground, and Spaniards of necessity developed a taste for the maize cakes of the Maya, and the flavours and textures of Indian foods, which they ate from plates and pots of Indian making.

Travelling through the country, Spaniards demanded service of any Indian, but they travelled rarely. Ensconced in their towns, caught up in the engrossing daily round of local politics, local conflicts and local society, the settlers were content to treat the world of the native villages-provided the native chiefs had the tribute delivered on time, provided the agreed number of Indians arrived punctually for the agreed period of service - as a world apart. If Spanish settlers had no interest in tampering with the institutions of native life at the village level, another group of Spaniards, who had had to restrain their impatience until the military phase was over, were determined to reshape those institutions root and branch.

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