Spanish conquest of Yucatán

campaign undertaken by the Spanish conquistadores

The Spanish Conquest of Yucatán was the campaign undertaken by the Spanish conquistadores against the Late Postclassic Maya states. This part of the conquest and colonization of the Americas began in the early 16th century, but it took more time than the similar campaigns against the Aztec and Inca Empires. It was about 170 years later before the last Maya stronghold fell, that of the Itza capital of Tayasal on Lake Petén Itzá, in 1697. But except for the Petén region and the Guatemalan highlands, the Spanish had control over Yucatán itself already by 1546.[1]

Unlike the campaigns against the Aztec and Inca states, the Maya had no single political center.[2] Therefore the Spanish had to fight city by city to break resistance by the indigenous peoples.[3] In the beginning the conquistadores were mainly interested to get as much gold and silver as possible. Because the Maya lands were poor in this respect, they were not very interesting for the Spanish at that stage. But when land workers became important for the colonies, the Spanish turned to the Maya region. That was around the 1520s.

Related pages change

Notes change

  1. See The Spanish Conquest of Yucatán (1526-46) (1999).
  2. See Coe (1987, pp.153 et. seq.) for discussion and description of Maya political structures.
  3. At the time of Spanish arrival, many of the Maya states of northern and western Yucatán were ruled by prestigious dynasties, such as the Cocom and Xiu. Their control had been established in the wake of the 15th-century breakup of the Mayapan polity, which had previously exerted extensive control over much of the region. Once the Spanish succeeded in gaining an alliance of sorts with the ruling Xiu family at Maní, a number of other states followed suit in acquiescing to Spanish rule, which greatly assisted the Spanish cause. Other competing Maya families and states continued with their resistance, however. See The Spanish Conquest of Yucatán (1526-46) (1999), Coe (1987), and also later in this text.

References change

  • Coe, Michael D. (1987). The Maya (4th edition (revised) ed.). London; New York: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-27455-X. OCLC 15895415.
  • Díaz del Castillo, Bernal (1963) [1632]. The Conquest of New Spain. Penguin Classics. J. M. Cohen (trans.) (6th printing (1973) ed.). Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-044123-9. OCLC 162351797.
  • Romero, Rolando J. (1992). "Texts, Pre-Texts, Con-Texts: Gonzalo Guerrero in the Chronicles of Indies" (PDF). Retrieved 2006-07-26. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  • Rugeley, Terry L. (1996). Yucatán's Maya Peasantry and the Origins of the Caste War. Austin: University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-77078-2.
  • "The Spanish Conquest of Yucatán (1526-46)". Athena Review. 2 (1). 1999. Archived from the original on 2006-06-28. Retrieved 2006-07-25.
  • "The Valdivia Shipwreck (1511)". Athena Review. 2 (1). 1999. Archived from the original on 2006-07-13. Retrieved 2006-07-25.