Essay on Clendinnen: Book Review of Ambivalent Conquests

1243 Words Mar 10th, 2008 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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The book shows how Montejo struggles badly at first with the environment; the constant rains, vegetation, bugs and wildlife, and the flakey alliances he forges with natives, all posed large problems. Yet what's good is Clendinnen tells the reader how Montejo began to take note of tribe reactions when he claimed to be from another section of the peninsula. Montejo learned mock boundaries of potential provinces and used these to forge alliances and pit rival Mayans factions against each other and supports this claim by directly references Montejo taking this tactic from Cortés's method in Central Mexico. In addition, Clendinnen expresses the Spaniards hardships through this campaign, mentioning several times their desperate attempts to find water and struggles with the natural environment, on top of facing an enemy in their own backyard, dealing with boogie traps and ambushes on a regular basis. Clendinnen makes it a main point that the Spaniards first were looking for riches and all these hardships would be suitably ok if they could just find some gold. This is such a great point to articulate to the reader, to show how determined and desperate these young conquistadors were in finding a promising fortune in these lands to go through all of this strenuous adventure and work for something that isn't even granteed. Then concludes it all up discussing the Spaniards "European Cultural Superiority" or

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