By Inga Clendinnen
In what's either a particular research of conversion in a nook of the Spanish Empire and a piece with implications for the certainty of eu domination and local resistance in the course of the colonial global, 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 considering and feeling of the Mayan Indians in a close reconstruction in their overview of the intruders. This new version features a preface by way of the writer the place she displays upon the book's contribution long ago fifteen years. Inga Clendinnen is Emeritus pupil, LaTrobe college, Australia. Her books comprise the acclaimed studying the Holocaust (Cambridge, 1999), named a most sensible publication of the yr by means of the hot York occasions ebook evaluation, and Aztec: An Interpretation (Cambridge, 1995), and Tiger's Eye: A Memoir (Scribner, 2001).
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Extra resources for Ambivalent Conquests: Maya and Spaniard in Yucatan, 1517-1570
But the puzzle remains. Most of the encounters were fought at close quarters, and in hand-to-hand combat the Maya were skilled and tough. Each community sustained a body of at least semi professional fighting men, and prowess was valued and measured in the endemic slave-raids and more formal battles between towns and provinces. The Spaniards had no doubt as to the Mayas' toughness: the Merida cabildo judged them 'bellicose, valiant and experienced in war', and Spaniards did not distribute such reputations lightly, especially to Indians.
We do not even know what age groups were most vulnerable, or in what form death most often came. Introduced diseases probably killed indiscriminately, and perhaps the men killed in battle did not outnumber the women and children and the old people who died of exposure, hunger or at the hands of the Spaniards during the prolonged anguish of the conquest. Certainly the depleted populations and the forced migrations must have fractured social life, and frighteningly disrupted the reassuring pulse of collective ritual activity.
Yet there are oddities in Maya behaviour, at least as we can reconstruct it from the sketchy and partial Spanish accounts. The aftermath of that spectacular Maya victory at Chichen Itza provides an instructive example. The little Spanish encampment was meant to be held under close seige, but the bloodied, fatigued Spaniards managed to escape by a stratagem. Their trail was quickly picked up by the Indians. The Spaniards laid an ambush; there was a brief, sharp encounter, and the Indians pulled back.