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. . . in this 16th Century account by a dogmatic, strident Franciscan Friar who devoted much of his life to cementing the Spanish conquest by forcible proselytizing, and destroying Mayan religious texts and iconography. Outside of the handful of original Mayan codices that have survived, this work constitutes the single most important resource on ancient Mayan culture, which is ironic because Landa single-handedly eradicated much of the material which would have provided modern scholars important insight into the unique civilization. Landa's brief account presents an overview of Mayan social and religious customs, mythology, astrology, as well as his keen observations regarding the climate, flora and fauna of the Yucatan region. Readers more interested in the conquest itself rather than the Mayans will want to look elsewhere, but will find some useful information regarding Cortes and the responses of the indigenous tribes to contact with the conquistadores.
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