Download e-book for kindle: A Brief History of Mexico, 4th Edition by Lynn V. Foster

By Lynn V. Foster

ISBN-10: 0816074054

ISBN-13: 9780816074051

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Here are the most famous ancient cities of classic Maya civilization, such as Palenque in Mexico, Tikal in Guatemala, and Copán in Honduras. Other Mesoamerican cultures, such as the Zapotecs in Oaxaca and the Aztecs, recorded brief hieroglyphic statements in stone; many also had bark-paper books, but few of these survived. Pottery shards and artifacts are all that can be pieced together to tell us about the Olmec and Teotihuacán civilizations. The Maya, however, developed a partially phonetic writing system and left long enough texts for the hieroglyphic statements to be deciphered by today’s scholars.

Likewise, cannibalism has been identified as ritual behavior in various tribes. The massive scale of ritual sacrifice reported for the Aztecs, however, has often been considered unique in world history. Time-motion computer simulations have cast doubt on the actual number of sacrificial victims reported by the conquistadores. Scholars now emphasize that at the time of their reports, the Spaniards were mistreating the Aztecs and had much to gain by portraying them as despicable. Careful studies of the reports made by the first missionaries on the native religion indicate there were really not a great number of human sacrifices performed for the annual rituals and that cannibalism was extremely rare, more a kind of religious sacrament.

Fighting holy wars, however, had become a Spanish specialty. When Columbus did discover the West Indies for the Crown, it was taken as a sign that God had chosen Spain over all other nations to civilize the New World. The pope concurred. Returning to Spain with proof of his discoveries, Columbus presented to the court six kidnapped Indians, an iguana, 40 parrots, and a pile of gold. His announcement excited many Spaniards, who took the divine mandate as an excuse to enrich themselves. Centuries of crusading battles had made warriors, not merchants, out of them.

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A Brief History of Mexico, 4th Edition by Lynn V. Foster


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