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Friday, August 12, 2011

You May Not Love Diego

I haven't loved an Indian for awhile; however, in general I find Indians highly respectable. If you are an Indian, a Native American Indian, you may think of Diego de Landa, Bishop of Yucatan, as you may think of Christopher Columbus, Admiral of the Ocean Sea. Yes, I know that their are some Indians who lack respect for certain Admirals and Bishops. But then, I am old enough to have met a Indian who was proud to have learned to tie a bow in his shoe-lace before he was forty. Then again he was also proud to own a plane and a license to fly it by that time.

Landa didn't have a casino. Do you know who he had for cultural neighbors? On one side he had Henry the VIII of England an on the other he had Ivan the Terrible of Russia. Just because these guys had good jobs did not make them sweethearts.

This is supposed to be a history so it seems only right to give you a few dates:
Chris lived from around 1451 to about 1506,
Henry lived from 1491 to 1547,
Diego lived from around 1524 to 1579,
Nik lived from around 1505 to 1542.

Ah, you don't know who Nik is. Nik was, Nikolaus Federmann, a German 'conquistador' of Colombia and Venezuela. He was supposed to be looking for land for German colonists, but went looking for Indian gold. I've read implications that he had ways of making then speak of their gold.

I'm trying to provide some interesting information about Diego de Landa. Not knowing what you already know of him or what parts of his life you might find useful or interesting has me stumbling around a bit.

I imagine that you know that he was a Spaniard and that Spain was probably the richest most powerful state in Europe at the time. Spain was also probably the seat of learning in Europe. They were also the most powerful Christian nation on earth. Christian faith was very strong in Spain, yet Church leaders and others felt the faith to be threatened. Perhaps it was; even in Europe.

The Inquisition was begun. The Spanish Inquisition may have bee a lot like an Inquisition on steroids. You might find it instructive and even fascinating to review what your World History book has to say about it.

In Morelia, the fine Capital of the Mexican State of Michoacan I visited  more than once, a small audiological museum displaying some 'implaments' of the Inquisition which had recently been found will digging in the local office of the Inquisition. As I remember that museum is in that very office.

To help orient you let me mention some other men whose activities effected the world during Bishop de Landa's life:
~ Niccolo Machiavelli was born in 1469 and by 1532 was publishing his most famous work, The Prince.
~ In 1531 Pizarro marched on the Inca.
~ In 1534 the Anabaptists formed a communist state under John of Leiden, but then they were Protestants.

I think that Landa, by living to the age of 55, lived longer than any of the men I've mentioned so far.

You are probably used to a lot of dates in your history so here a a few more to keep you comfortable:
~ In 1478 the Inquisition was established in Spain. The started by saying no Muslims allowed; then by saying no Muslims or Jews, and they meant it. After that it got worse. Protestants were  from Hell. In the beginning they had no idea that they had a world of Indians to save. The Inquisitors may have had more instruments of torture than certain contractors for the CIA. The Inquisition was active in Spain until 1834. That is over 350 years!
~ Most Jews were expelled from Spain and Portugal in the few years between 1492 and 1496. Spanish was the first language of the expelled Jews and perhaps their only language. Some Jewish families had been in Spain for a thousand years and helped to create the language. Were did the expelled people go? Many places. Some ended up in New Mexico. Others went to Turkey. They talked turkey their, but kept their Spanish for hundreds of years. A lot of this activity was a sort of practice to get ready to deal with the Indians of the New world.
~ From 1492 to 1506 Christopher Columbus voyaged and found those Indians.
~ In 1503 'Columbus discovered' the Cayman Islands and named them Las Tortugas. Cayman is kind of an alligator and Las Tortugas means the turtles. Now there were some people living on these islands when Chris got there. OMG! Indians! Some of those Indian guys tried to tell Chris and his sailors and soldiers that their islands were not called Alligator or Turtle. Someone must know what they called their land. When Columbus sailed away he took an Indian girl with him, sweet Mary Ann. She was taken, it has been said, to be a translator. She, surely must have told the Spaniards the the true name of her land.

Well, I've kind of gotten away from Diego de Landa. But, then, you never claimed any interest in that Bishop of Yucatan.

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