How Effective Was The Spanish Conquest Of The Maya Indians?
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The Maya Civilization Explained in 11 Minutes
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Despite its failure, and although others attribute a different meaning to the revolt, it can be considered the first independence movement in conquered America, despite not being part of the Spanish American Wars of Independence that led to the formation of Peru. The first chroniclers of the Spanish conquest used an extremely elementary method of leaving a document that testified to the provenance of these people to posterity, and reproduced the sounds that they heard from the Inca tribes in English and Spanish.
This method, despite the efforts of historians from all eras, has not revealed greater secrets of the origin of the early inhabitants of Peru. It is known that the cradle of Inca civilization was around the city of Cusco, located in the central region of Peru. Just as with the most widespread European traditions, there was a time when the primitive races of the American continent worshipped all natural objects without any distinction. War seemed to be a daily activity; the flesh of prisoners was a beloved delicacy. The Sun, the great father and mother of mankind, felt pity for there being so much pain and sent two of its children, Manco Capon and Mama Ocllo, to teach the natives of these regions to live as civilized beings.
The simple and primitive people obeyed the envoys of the Sun. Geographers and historians often take the so-called doctrine of determinism into account, which is based on the fact that small civilizations originate in regions lacking particular physical conditions conducive to the rise of civilization. In the plateau where this empire arose, depending on the height, valleys with a tropical climate and extensive warm regions can be found.
The Inca plateau is a desolate sight with great expanses, either barren or with poor vegetation, over steep terrain and volcanic formations. There are sometimes mountainous ridges on the edge of the horizon, perforated by seismic tremors, and then sandy deserts with twisted vegetation consisting of small and large cacti, and enormous windswept aloes. There are also summits staggered with vegetation, on which fine rain falls and soaks the ground. The change of seasons is hardly noticeable. Life and death seem to lose all meaning in this quiet, still immobility. The existence of large cities shows the importance of the population in ancient Peru, with an estimated 10 million inhabitants.
With secured borders and internal peace, the Incas favored demographic growth above all and marriage was obligatory. On fixed dates, women aged 18 to 20 and men aged 24 to 26 were married in solemn ceremonies. The power of the father was decisive in Inca society, particularly in the plateaus, so much so that they always chose husbands for their daughters without their knowledge. Marriage without parental consent was considered void. Marriage was indissoluble except in proven cases of infidelity. When a child was born, they were given a ceremony and two years later a name. Inca society was based on the principle of inequality and hierarchy.
The Sun was the beginning and the end of the world, and the moon was his sister and wife at the same time. The Inca was the chosen child of the Sun and the rays its curse. The indigenous masses saw manifestations of religion in all natural forces and divine manifestation in all huacas. On the contrary, the nobility believed in an abstract higher being called Pachacaman, and they knew that divine elements could not be represented in a visible form.
The law was the will of the Inca, and therefore had no consistency. However, in practice there was a law established by a policy of formality and continuity between the ruling Inca and his predecessor. The decisions of the monarchs were codified in quipus, documents in which everything relating to the sovereign rulers was written. Inca hierarchy was very strict. At the top of society and with most power was the chief, in other words, the Inca, to whom all the world owed obedience, as he was the child of the Sun.
The people, generically called Hatunruna, were divided into two main groups: the Mitimaes and the Yamacumas. The former were at the service of the Inca and were moved from place to place as colonizers of the empire. The Yamacumas was a permanently subjected people, dedicated to agriculture and service of the Inca. The hallmark of caste was dress. The Hatunruna wore similar clothes and the hats varied from province to province. A popular and enduring narrative of the Spanish campaign in central Mexico is by New England -born nineteenth-century historian William Hickling Prescott.
His History of the Conquest of Mexico , first published in , remains an important unified narrative synthesis of the conquest. Prescott read and used all the formal writings from the sixteenth century, although few had been published by the mid-nineteenth century when he was writing. These two accounts are full-blown narratives from the viewpoint of the Spanish opponents. The primary sources from the native people affected as a result of the conquest are seldom used, because they tend to reflect the views of a particular native group, such as the Tlaxcalans. Indigenous accounts were written in pictographs as early as Later accounts were written in the native tongue of the Aztec and other native peoples of central Mexico, Nahuatl.
The native texts of the defeated Mexica narrating their version of the conquest describe eight omens that were believed to have occurred nine years prior to the arrival of the Spanish from the Gulf of Mexico. In , Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II was visited by Nezahualpilli , who had a reputation as a great seer, as well as being the tlatoani of Texcoco. Nezahualpilli warned Moctezuma that he must be on guard, for in a few years Aztec cities would be destroyed. Before leaving, he said that there would be omens for Moctezuma to know that what he has been told is true. Over the years, and especially after Nezhualpilli's death in , several supernatural omens appeared.
Additionally, the Tlaxcala saw a "radiance that shone in the east every morning three hours before sunrise", and a "whirlwind of dust" from the volcano Matlalcueye. Omens were extremely important to the Aztecs, who believed that history repeated itself. A number of modern scholars cast doubt on whether such omens occurred or whether they were ex post facto retrospective creations to help the Mexica explain their defeat. Many sources depicting omens and the return of old Aztec gods, including those supervised by Spanish priests, were written after the fall of Tenochtitlan in Some ethnohistorians say that when the Spanish arrived native peoples and their leaders did not view them as supernatural in any sense but rather as simply another group of powerful outsiders.
These historians believe this means that Moctezuma did not think the Spanish were supernatural. This means that native emphasis on omens and bewilderment in the face of invasion "may be a postconquest interpretation by informants who wished to please the Spaniards or who resented the failure of Montezuma and of the warriors of Tenochtitlan to provide leadership. Previously, during Juan de Grijalva 's expedition, Moctezuma believed that those men were heralds of Quetzalcoatl, as Moctezuma, as well as everyone else in the Aztec Empire, were to believe that eventually, Quetzalcoatl will return.
Moctezuma even had glass beads that were left behind by Grijalva brought to Tenochtitlan and they were regarded as sacred religious relics. The Spanish had established a permanent settlement on the island of Hispaniola in on the second voyage of Christopher Columbus. There were further Spanish explorations and settlements in the Caribbean and the Spanish Main , seeking wealth in the form of gold and access to indigenous labor to mine gold and other manual labor. Twenty-five years after the first Spanish settlement in the New World , expeditions of exploration were sent to the coast of Mexico. The Mayans at Cape Catoche invited the Spanish to land, and the conquistadors read the Requirement of to them, which offered the natives the protection of the King of Spain, if they would submit to him.
Later, the two prisoners, being misled or misinterpreting the language with information given to the Spanish conquistadors that there was plenty of gold up for grabs. Anyone willing to make a financial contribution could potentially gain even more wealth and power. Men who brought horses, caballeros , received two shares of the spoils, one for military service, another because of the horse. Although modern usage often calls the European participants "soldiers", the term was never used by these men themselves in any context, something that James Lockhart realized when analyzing sixteenth-century legal records from conquest-era Peru.
Guerrero declined on the basis that he was by now well-assimilated with the Maya culture, had a Maya wife and three children, and he was looked upon as a figure of rank within the Maya state of Chetumal , where he lived. She is often known as La Malinche and also sometimes called " Malintzin " or Malinalli, her native birth names. She would then translate from Mayan to Nahuatl. Native speakers of Nahuatl would call her "Malintzin". This name is the closest approximation possible in Nahuatl to the sound of Spanish Marina.
Over time, " La Malinche " the modern Spanish cognate of Malintzin became a term for a traitor to one's people. To this day, the word malinchista is used by Mexicans to denote one who apes the language and customs of another country. The legally constituted " town council of Villa Rica" then promptly offered him the position of adelantado , or Chief Justice and Captain-General. This strategy was not unique. To ensure the legality of this action, several members of his expedition, including Francisco Montejo and Alonso Hernandez Puertocarrero , returned to Spain to seek acceptance of the cabildo's declaration with King Charles. On their arrival in Cempoala, they were greeted by 20 dignitaries and cheering townsfolk. Two leaders were condemned to be hanged; two were lashed, and one had his foot mutilated.
To make sure such a mutiny did not happen again, he decided to scuttle his ships. There is a popular misconception that the ships were burned rather than sunk. However, it did not completely end the aspirations of those members of his company who remained loyal to the governor of Cuba. The Otomi initially, and then the Tlaxcalans , fought the Spanish in a series of three battles from 2 to 5 September , and at one point Diaz remarked, "they surrounded us on every side". The Tlaxcalans' main city was Tlaxcala. After almost a century of fighting the Flower Wars , a great deal of hatred and bitterness had developed between the Tlaxcalans and the Aztecs.
The Aztecs had already conquered most of the territory around Tlaxcala, and waged war on them every year. The Spaniards agreed to respect parts of the city, like the temples, and reportedly took only the things that were offered to them freely. Legends say that he convinced the four leaders of Tlaxcala to become baptized. It is impossible to know if these leaders understood the Catholic faith.
In any case, they apparently had no problems in adding the Christian "Dios" God in Spanish , the lord of the heavens, to their already complex pantheon of gods. Cholula was one of the most important cities of Mesoamerica, the second largest, and probably the most sacred. He sent emissaries ahead to try a diplomatic solution to enter the city. He accepted the gifts of the Aztec ambassadors, and at the same time accepted the offer of the Tlaxcalan allies to provide porters and 1, warriors on his march to Cholula.
There are contradictory reports about what happened at Cholula. Cholula had a very small army, because as a sacred city they put their confidence in their prestige and their gods. According to the chronicles of the Tlaxcalteca, the priests of Cholula expected to use the power of Quetzalcoatl, their primary god, against the invaders. However, they were not met by the city leaders and were not given food and drink on the third day.
They admitted that they had been ordered to resist by Moctezuma, but they claimed they had not followed his orders. Regardless, on command, the Spaniards seized and killed many of the local nobles to serve as a lesson. They captured the Cholulan leaders Tlaquiach and Tlalchiac and then ordered the city to be set on fire. The troops started in the palace of Xacayatzin , and then on to Chialinco and Yetzcoloc. Regardless, the massacre of the nobility of Cholula was a notorious chapter in the conquest of Mexico. The Azteca and Tlaxcalteca histories of the events leading up to the massacre vary; the Tlaxcalteca claimed that their ambassador Patlahuatzin was sent to Cholula and had been tortured by the Cholula.
II cap. The massacre had a chilling effect on the other city states and groups affiliated with the Aztecs, as well as the Aztecs themselves. To the Aztecs, Tenochtitlan was the "altar" for the Empire, as well as being the city that Quetzalcoatl would eventually return to. A fragment of the greetings of Moctezuma says: "My lord, you have become fatigued, you have become tired: to the land you have arrived. You have come to your city: Mexico, here you have come to sit on your place, on your throne. Oh, it has been reserved to you for a small time, it was conserved by those who have gone, your substitutes This is what has been told by our rulers, those of whom governed this city, ruled this city.
That you would come to ask for your throne, your place, that you would come here. Come to the land, come and rest: take possession of your royal houses, give food to your body. What happened in this second meeting remains controversial. While in the Axayacatl palace, the conquistadors discovered the secret room where Moctezuma kept the treasure he had inherited from his father.
The treasure consisted of a "quantity of golden objects — jewels and plates and ingots". Diaz noted, "The sight of all that wealth dumbfounded me. Though these captains of Moctezuma were sentenced to be "burned to death", Moctezuma continued to remain a prisoner, fearing a "rebellion in his city" or that the Spanish may "try to set up another prince in his place. These treasures, the Spaniards melted down to form gold bars stamped with an iron die. Finally, the Aztec gods allegedly told the Mexican papas , or priests, they would not stay unless the Spaniards were killed and driven back across the sea. John's Day June , with soldiers and 96 horses, plus Tlaxcalan warriors. The Great Temple was central to the Aztec's cosmological views; the temple served as a burial ground for the offerings made to different gods, such as the gods of fertility, mountains, rain, and earth.
In any event, the population of the city rose en masse after the Spanish attack, which the Spanish did not expect. Alvarado and the rest of the Spanish were held hostage by the Aztecs for a month. Moctezuma was jeered and stones were thrown at him, mortally wounding Moctezuma. This alliance had many victories, including the overtaking of the Aztec Capital Tenochtitlan. Their capital was used as a cosmic center, where they fed sacrifices to the gods through both human bodies and bloodletting. The capital was also used for central and imperialistic governmental control. Preparations for war began in their capital. The Spanish's situation could only deteriorate. On the rainy night of 10 July , the Spaniards and their allies set out for the mainland via the causeway to Tlacopan.
They placed the portable bridge in the first gap, but at that moment their movement was detected and Aztec forces attacked, both along the causeway and by means of canoes on the lake. The Spanish were thus caught on a narrow road with water or buildings on both sides. The retreat quickly turned into a rout. The Spanish discovered that they could not remove their portable bridge unit from the first gap, and so had no choice but to leave it behind.
Many of the Spaniards, weighed down by their armor and booty, drowned in the causeway gaps or were killed by the Aztecs. Much of the wealth the Spaniards had acquired in Tenochtitlan was lost. The bridge was later called "Alvarado's Leap". The channel is now a street in Mexico City, called " Puente de Alvarado " Alvarado's Bridge , because it seemed Alvarado escaped across an invisible bridge. He may have been walking on the bodies of those soldiers and attackers who had preceded him, given the shallowness of the lake.
The Aztecs pursued and harassed the Spanish, who, guided by their Tlaxcalan allies, moved around Lake Zumpango towards a sanctuary in Tlaxcala. The Spanish were able to complete their escape to Tlaxcala. There, they were given assistance, since all of them were wounded, with only 20 horses left. Xicotencatl the Younger, however, sought an alliance with the Mexicans, but was opposed. The Aztecs were struck by a smallpox plague starting in September , which lasted seventy days. Many were killed, including their new leader, the Emperor Cuitlahuac. One by one they took over most of the cities under Aztec control, some in battle, others by diplomacy.
In the end, only Tenochtitlan and the neighboring city of Tlatelolco remained unconquered or not allied with the Spaniards. The Siege of Tenochtitlan lasted eight months. The besiegers cut off the supply of food and destroyed the aqueduct carrying water to the city. The siege of the city and its defense had both been brutal. During the battle, the defenders cut the beating hearts from seventy Spanish prisoners-of-war at the altar to Huitzilopochtli, an act that infuriated the Spaniards. He also announced that the temple would never again be used for human sacrifice. Tenochtitlan had been almost totally destroyed using the manpower of the Tlaxcalans plus fire and cannon fire during the siege, and once it finally fell, the Spanish continued its destruction, as they soon began to establish the foundations of what would become Mexico City on the site.
The surviving Aztec people were forbidden to live in Tenochtitlan and the surrounding isles, and were banished to live in Tlatelolco. A few Spaniards went with them to Tzintzuntzan where they were presented to the ruler and gifts were exchanged. In a Spanish force under the leadership of Cristobal de Olid was sent into Tarascan territory and arrived at Tzintzuntzan within days. The Tarascan army numbered many thousands, perhaps as many as ,, but at the crucial moment they chose not to fight. The Cazonci was tried with plotting a rebellion, withholding tribute, sodomy and heresy, and he was tortured and executed. A period of violence and turbulence began. During the next decades, Tarascan puppet rulers were installed by the Spanish government.
The whole process could have taken longer were it not for three separate epidemics that took a heavy toll on the Native Americans, causing the population to fall by half and weakening the traditional social structure. After the Spanish conquest of central Mexico, expeditions were sent further northward in Mesoamerica, to the region known as La Gran Chichimeca. However, the Chichimecas counter-attacked and Alvarado's forces were routed. Under the leadership of Viceroy Don Antonio de Mendoza , the Spanish forces and their Indian allies ultimately succeeded in recapturing the towns and suppressing resistance. However, fighting did not completely come to a halt in the ensuing years. In , Spanish authorities discovered silver in the Zacatecas region and established mining settlements in Chichimeca territory which altered the terrain and the Chichimeca traditional way of life.
The Chichimeca resisted the intrusions on their ancestral lands by attacking travelers and merchants along the "silver roads. The attacks intensified with each passing year. In , the Chichimecas inflicted a great loss upon the Spanish when they attacked a train of sixty wagons and captured more than 30, pesos worth of valuables. By the s, thousands had died and Spanish mining settlements in Chichimeca territory were continually under threat. The viceroy was infuriated when he learned that some Spanish soldiers had begun supplementing their incomes by raiding the villages of peaceful Indians in order to sell them into slavery.
With no military end to the conflict in sight, he was determined to restore peace to that region and launched a full-scale peace offensive by negotiating with Chichimeca leaders and providing them with lands, agricultural supplies, and other goods. This policy of "peace by purchase" finally brought an end to the Chichimeca War. The Council of the Indies was constituted in and the first Audiencia in The empire had been composed of separate city-states that had either allied with or been conquered by the Mexica of Tenochtitlan, and rendered tribute to the Mexica while maintaining their internal ruling structures.
Those polities now came under Spanish rule, also retaining their internal structures of ruling elites, tribute paying commoners, and land holding and other economic structures largely intact. Two key works by historian Charles Gibson , Tlaxcala in the Sixteenth Century  and his monograph The Aztecs Under Spanish Rule: A History of the Indians of the Valley of Mexico, —  were central in reshaping the historiography of the indigenous and their communities from the Spanish Conquest to the Mexican independence era.
Scholars who were part of a branch of Mesoamerican ethnohistory , more recently called the New Philology have, using indigenous texts in the indigenous languages, been able to examine in considerable detail how the indigenous lived during the era of Spanish colonial rule. To this day, the title of Duke of Moctezuma is held by a Spanish noble family. A few of the indigenous nobility learned Spanish. Spanish friars taught indigenous tribes to write their own languages in Latin letters, which soon became a self-perpetuating tradition at the local level. The first mendicants in central Mexico, particularly the Franciscans and Dominicans learned the indigenous language of Nahuatl , in order to evangelize to the indigenous people in their native tongue.
Early mendicants created texts in order to forward the project of Christianization. Particularly important were the Spanish-Nahuatl dictionary compiled by the Franciscan Fray Alonso de Molina ,  and his bilingual Nahuatl-Spanish confessional manual for priests. The Spanish crown via the Council of the Indies and the Franciscan order in the late sixteenth century became increasingly hostile to works in the indigenous languages written by priests and clerics, concerned that they were heretical and an impediment to the Indians' true conversion. To reward Spaniards who participated in the conquest of what is now contemporary Mexico, [ citation needed ] the Spanish crown authorized grants of native labor, in particular the assignment of entire indigenous communities to labor via the Encomienda system.
The indigenous were not slaves under this system, [ citation needed ] chattel bought and sold or removed from their home community, but the system was still one of forced labor. The indigenous people of Central Mexico had practices rendering labor and tribute products to their polity's elites and those elites to the Mexica overlords in Tenochtitlan, so the Spanish system of encomienda was built on pre-existing patterns of labor service. The Spanish conquerors in Mexico during the early colonial era lived off the labor of the indigenous peoples.
Las Casas later repented when he saw the even worse treatment given to the black slaves. The other discovery that perpetuated this system of indigenous forced labor were the extensive silver mines discovered at Potosi , in Higher Peru now Bolivia and other places in the Spanish empire in the New World that were worked for hundreds of years by forced native labor and contributed most of the wealth that flowed to Spain. According to West, "slavery was a well-established institution among the Aztecs and their neighbors. Spain spent enormous amounts of this wealth hiring mercenaries to fight the Protestant Reformation and to halt the Turkish invasions of Europe.
The silver was used to purchase commercial goods abroad, as European manufactured goods were not in demand in Asia and the Middle East. The Aztec education system was abolished and replaced by a very limited church education. Even some foods associated with Mesoamerican religious practice, such as amaranth , were forbidden. In the 16th century, perhaps , Spaniards entered American ports. They were joined by , in the next century. As a result of these unions, as well as concubinage [ citation needed ] and secret mistresses, mixed race individuals known as mestizos became the majority of the Mexican population in the centuries following the Spanish conquest.
The aftermath of the Spanish conquest, including the Aztecs' struggle to preserve their cultural identity, is the subject of the Mexican feature film, The Other Conquest , directed by Salvador Carrasco. Historian Daniele Bolelli did an in-depth coverage of the Spanish conquest over four episodes of his "History on Fire" podcast. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Redirected from Spanish conquest of Mexico. Aztec Empire and other indigenous states, modern-day Mexico. Formed an alliance with Pedro de Alvarado against Mixtecos. Spanish colonial campaigns. Part of a series on the.