By Inga Clendinnen
In what's either a selected examine of conversion in a nook of the Spanish Empire and a piece with implications for the knowledge of eu 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 damaging results. In Ambivalent Conquests Clendinnen penetrates the pondering and feeling of the Mayan Indians in an in depth reconstruction in their overview of the intruders. This new version incorporates a preface by means of 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 contain the acclaimed interpreting the Holocaust (Cambridge, 1999), named a most sensible e-book of the yr via the hot York instances ebook overview, 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
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. 2<> Is the crucial factor then some real difference in 'how natives think', some stultifying rigidity which rendered them helpless before European invention? We have examples of Maya 'creative innovation' in response to European threats. Pits with stakes devised to cripple the horses were effective, and on the organisational level we can trace throughout the course of the conquest a development in the range and reliability of Maya alliances.
A gentleman was one who was free from the taint of all forms of manual labour, which were identified with servility. Therefore, men who had in the destructive labour of conquest spent sweat and energy to make a navvy blanch lost their legitimate occupation with victory; any form of work save that of supervision would jeopardise their tenuous claims to gentility. Not the least lure in the bloody gamble of conquest had been the promise of secure emancipation from demeaning toil through the power to command servile labour, and to participate in the honourable business of government.
The survivors were reduced to being refugees in their own land, striving to pull together some of the old strands of life as they regrouped in the desolate villages, among the empty houses and the silent places. If we remember the psychological tension which must attend the attempt to deal with strangers who appeared ignorant of the most taken-for-granted rules of conduct- who fought even when with the coming of the rains the planting had to begin, or during the inauspicious and deeply dangerous days which fell between the old and the new year; who had no understanding of the warrior codes Maya behaviour ceases to puzzle.