Clendinnen: Book Review of Ambivalent Conquests

1240 words 5 pages
Book Review
Ambivalent Conquests: Maya and Spaniard in Yucatan, 1517-1570 Inga Clendinnen book, Ambivalent Conquests: Maya and Spaniard in Yucatan, 1517-1570 is centered on the Spanish incursion of the Yucatan Peninsula, affects on Mayan civilization, and the Spanish struggles in controlling these people. In the beginning, Clendinnen focus here attention on the initial attempts and then eventual success of the Spaniards to solidify themselves within the Yucatan Peninsula. She goes into a detailed backdrop of why many Spaniards were financially forced to look for new lands and peoples to conquer, how they came into the Yucatan, and then eventually their initial disappointment and failure. However, the Mayan victory was short lived as
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Finally, Clendinnen does a great job in telling the reader the psychological effect of the natives. How population decline, small pox invasion, and forced migration due to destroyed villages challenged every facet of the native's way of life to a point were all customs were altered. Another strongpoint in Clendinnen's hits on is telling the reader how dedicated the friars were in transforming the religions in the America's and the course of a changing relationship between friars and noble Spaniards. She discusses how the Spaniards at first welcomed the friars as a tool for stability within the area and then she does a good job showing the steady of the relationship as friars attempt to control more and more of the natives lives, while the settlers believed the natives were their property. In addition, she does a good job in showing the reader how serious the friars were in forcefully converting the natives. How they are required to attend church, pray, children must attend weekly catechism and then the torture of natives for worshipping idols, for example stringing them up by their feet, and other such punishments for practicing their native religious customs. The fact that Clendinnen goes so in depth in many cases of the torturing of natives, how they hunted down idolaters and the inquisition scenario and actually throwing out a number like 4,500 victims allows the reader to really grasp the seriousness of what


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