Mutual Misunderstanding Of Maya And Spaniard In Yucatan Summary

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Mutual Misunderstanding of Maya and Spaniard in Yucatan, 1517-1570 In her study of the sixteenth century Maya, Inga Clendinnen quotes Antonio de Ciudad Real, saying “when the Spaniards discovered this land, their leader asked the Indians how it was called; as they did not understand him, they said uic athan, which means, what do you say or what do you speak, that we do not understand you. And then the Spaniard ordered it set down that it be called Yucatan.” Mutual misunderstanding and incommensurability play many key roles in colonial relations between the Spanish missionaries and the Maya. Social and cultural relations and the effects of misunderstanding between the Maya and Spaniards greatly affected daily life and caused great unrest …show more content…

This metaphor reflects language barriers, and misunderstandings of cultural norms, religion and caste roles. Misunderstandings occurred on both Maya and Spanish issues. Both the Spanish and the inhabitants of the Yucatan struggled with their own perceptions and misunderstandings of the other. Colonization brought about multiple realities and distorted self images. These struggles are clearly shown in the sources Clendinnen uses, and the result of these misunderstandings was violence: Spaniard against Indian, Catholic against pagan, Catholic against conquistador, and Crown against settlers. The ambivalence of, and the resistance to, the Episcopal Inquisition and Spanish conquest can be associated to this mutual …show more content…

Upon his discovery of Mayan idolatry and sacrifice he justified violence towards the Mayans through the philosophy of 'destroy and rebuild '. As a consequence of their deception torture was used to attain Mayan confessions, many traditions were banned, and most of the precious historical books of the Mayan were destroyed. The friars who had previously preferred psychological manipulation over the Indians judged themselves above the law, and inflicted punishments upon the Mayans without being given the right to do so. Pathetic confessions by Indians raise the question whether it was ‘confusion of tongues,’ the inadequacies of teaching, or sheer terror that brought them forward. Not all guilty Indians were punished. Those who suffered the wrath of the church were meant to be examples to other 'idolaters ' and 'backsliders '. Roles were overturned as the frightened Indians sought refuge with the encomenderos who considered the church a threat to their livelihood and wanted to protect their

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