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View Diary: Ancient America: The Gods of Palenque (65 comments)

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  •  Some recent scholarship on that regard shows (2+ / 0-)
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    Ojibwa, Geekesque

    that his "apologia" book about the Mayan culture, supposedly for years said to reflect his love of the Mayan people and the Yucatan, was really part of his long-standing scheming to be returned to Yucatan as bishop.

    A review of documents and letters from the day seem to show that he was a very conniving devious person who stopped at nothing - torture, murder, slander, and fabrications of his own motivations - to gain more power within the church structure.  Diego de Landa Calderón was the Dick Cheney of the day.

    Wikipedia is a convenient, but also brief, source to show this:

    In 1562 he conducted the infamous auto-da-fé of Maní, which attracted negative attention from many other authorities, both secular and ecclesiastical. Bishop Toral saw this action as impinging on the authority of the Bishop and in Landa had to return to Spain to defend himself against accusations of excessive violence in the conversion of the Maya and of overstepping his authority.

    His actions were strongly condemned before the Council of the Indies. This resulted in a "committee of doctors" being commissioned to investigate Landa's alleged crimes.

    In 1569 the committee absolved Landa of his crimes and when Bishop de Toral died in 1571 Landa was appointed Bishop in his place and he took the seat in 1573.

    Landa's period as Bishop was marked by continued campaigns of extirpation of idolatry among the Maya and he continued attracting opposition from secular authorities who found his methods excessive.

    He continued to destroy Mayan artifacts and books, even after his Relación de las cosas de Yucatán was written.  We don't even know what the real version looked like, as we only have abridged copies available today.

    For those who don't know, his auto-de-fe (the obtusely named "act of faith") was essentially the Spanish Inquisition brought to Yucatan, with all the torture, slaughter and misery that accompanied it in Spain.

     The "reducciones" (reductions = mass relocations of the Maya into what we would consider concentration camps where forced labor, worship and instruction occurred) resulted in genocide as people simply died from starvation (the Spanish style of agriculture didn't work that well in Yucatan) and heartbreak.  A huge percentage of the population died off during the reducciones.
    Torture and murder of indigenous peoples "attracted negative attention."
    Wow... talk about your understatement of the year.  

    Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. -- Harry S Truman

    by YucatanMan on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 02:35:50 PM PDT

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