Summary Of Mayan History By Clendinnen

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Clendinnen recounts the history of the Yucatan peninsula once the Spanish arrived. She splits her recounting into two sections: the Spanish’s perceptive and the Mayan’s perspective. Clendinnen’s recounting the Spanish side of history demonstrates a struggle not only between the Spanish and the new land and its inhabitants, but also the internal conflicts between the Spanish settlers and the friars. At first she tells us how the Spaniards’ interactions with the natives consisted of tribute payments and labor demands. The Spanish seemed to be interested solely on profiting and surviving. That was until the Franciscan missionaries arrived and altered the intents of the Spanish in the Yucatan. She also demonstrated how the Spanish settlers …show more content…
It is much more difficult for her to construct a narrative of Mayan history as the friars not only destroyed much of their books and artifacts but also uprooted literate Mayans and placed them in reeducation centers to learn European religion. As the Mayan had a select few who were literate this erased a large part the history Clendinnen is reconstructing. Clendinnen begins by deconstructing Spanish reports on the Mayan culture and people. One recurring theme in her recounting of Mayan history is their understanding and how they processed knowledge. She came to the conclusion that Mayans viewed things in patterns this came from the book of Chilam Balam Chumayel. These books however were written from a European style so they hold Mayan ideology coated in a European veil that must be analyzed to truly understand. As opposed to focusing as much on actions s Clendinnen did with the Spaniards, she focus on Mayan speech and thought process. She draws that Mayans were selective when it came to incorporating thing to their culture, as their spoken language remained relatively unchanged as opposed to its written form, which was altered in order for it to survive. She also looks into the relationship between the commoners and the lords once the Spanish began to impose their authority. The social hierarchy between local lords and commoners …show more content…
The significance of the Spanish arrival did not impact all of America in the way it did in Mexico and Peru. Clendinnen demonstrates this uneven impact in her description of the Mayan’s history with the initial encounters with the Spaniards and their incorporation of Jesus into their religion which triggered the friars’ inquisition that later allowed the Mayans to take what Spanish arrival truly

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