The arrival of Spanish conquistadors in the Yucatan Peninsula in 1549 marked the beginning of the end for the ancient Maya civilization. Among the fleet of Spanish galleons was a small army of Roman Catholic priests, led by the fanatical Franciscan Friar Diego de Londa, who was determined to convert the native population to Christianity. This article will explore the events of the Spanish colonial period in the Yucatan Peninsula, with a particular focus on the actions of Friar Diego de Londa and the impact they had on the Maya civilization.
The Mayan Civilization
The Mayan civilization had thrived in the rainforests and fertile plains of Central America for more than 2,000 years by the time the Spanish arrived. The conquistadors found pyramids, temples, paved roads, and thousands of Maya handwriting, which revealed a culture that was advanced in many ways. The Maya were particularly revered for their knowledge base around time, math, and science, and the movements of the solar system. However, their religious beliefs, which included human sacrifice, were considered bloodthirsty by the Catholic priests.
The Clash of Cultures
The arrival of the Spanish and Catholic priests in the Yucatan Peninsula marked the beginning of a clash of cultures. Friar Diego de Londa, in particular, was determined to convert the Maya to Christianity and saw their religious beliefs as a barrier to this goal. He was probably intimidated by the vast wealth of knowledge that the Maya had tapped into and saw their religious beliefs as a form of devil worship.
The Auto de Fe
On July 12th, 1562, the Catholic priests, with the assistance of the Spanish military, executed what was known as an auto de fe or Act of Faith. The Maya population was forced to declare their religious conversion to Christianity or be put to death. This day also reportedly saw the destruction of all of the Mayans' sacred scrolls and more than 5,000 priceless images, effectively erasing their entire historical record.
The Extraterrestrial Connection
The destruction of the Maya's historical record has led to many questions about what was lost. One theory is that the Maya's knowledge of math and science, which cannot be explained by their level of technology, may have been passed down from an extraterrestrial race. According to Mayan Elders, their ancestors were led to this land by the "sky people." The tradition of a great teacher arriving on the Gulf Coast, bringing with him the arts of civilization, may have originated with a great civilization who were around long before the Maya, but no one knows who they really were or where they really came from.
The Spanish colonial period in the Yucatan Peninsula marked the end of the ancient Maya civilization. The actions of Friar Diego de Londa and the Catholic priests, in particular, had a profound impact on the Maya culture, effectively erasing their entire historical record. While we know much about the Maya civilization, there are still many questions about the origins of their advanced knowledge of math and science. The theory that an extraterrestrial race may have played a role in the development of the Maya civilization remains a topic of much speculation.