The Indian Background of Colonial Yucatan

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Author: Roys, Ralph Loveland (1879-1965) from the library of Paul Sidney Martin

Year: 1943

Publisher: Carnegie Institution of Washington

Place: Washington, DC


vii+244 pages with 6 maps (two folding), 23 figures and plates, appendix and index. Royal octavo (10" x6 3/4") issued in wrappers. From the library of Sidney Martin. Carnegie Institution of Washington Publication 548. 1st edition.

The studies contained in this volume have been made with the purpose of providing a bacground for the history of the conquest of Yucatan and of the colonial period which followed. The events of the conquest can be explained only by taking into account the part played by the native population; and the same is true of the subsequent political and social development. The latter resulted in the gradual evolution of a Hispano-Indian civilization, in which not only the Indians but also the great majority of people of mixed blood speak Maya, not Spanish, in their home at the present time. An attempt is made here to draw a very general picture of Yucatecan Maya civilization as the Spaniards found it at the time of the conquest, since the archaeological remains indicate that this aspect of their culture differed some what from their earlier civilization. This survey is accompanied by a short bibliographical sketch of the principal sources for the ethnology and history of the Maya of Yucatan and their Neighbors. the cacique system discussed in these pages represented a policy in which the local government of the Indian pueblos by the natives themselves, although under Spanish supervision, was given a certain stability by maintaining the prestige, and thus securing the loyalty and cooperation of certain families which had already governed the people in pre-Spanish times. The Mani land treaty of 1557 presented in the appendix furnishes an illustration of the manner in which the colonial government solved the problem of transforming a collection of warring independent states into a single peaceful administrative unit.

Paul Sidney Martin (1899-1974) was an accomplished archaeologist. He was elected a Fellow of the American anthropological Association in 1926 and served as Councillor to the Association form 1936 to 1938 and then as President of the Central States Branch from 1940-41. He served as President of the Society for American Archaeology, 1965-66.


Edge wear, some damage to front heal corner, spine stained and ends chipped, tear at hinges, Paul Martin's signature on front wrapper else a good to very good association copy.

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