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Yucatan Before and After the Conquest, by Diego de Landa, tr. William Gates, [1937], at


After the departure of the Spaniards from Yucatan, a drought followed in the land, and the corn having been consumed during the wars with the Spaniards they suffered much from famine and were reduced to eating the bark of trees, especially of a certain kind called cumché (kunché), the inside of which is soft and mellow. On account of This famine the Xius of Maní undertook to snake a solemn sacrifice to the idols, taking certain male and female slaves to cast into the pool at Chichén Itzá. To do this they had to pass by the town of the Cocom chiefs, their mortal enemies, hut thinking that ancient quarrels would be forgotten in such times they sent to ask permission to pass through the country. The Cocoms deceived them with a favorable answer, but having lodged them all together in one great building they set fire to it, and slew those who escaped. From this great wars

p. 24

followed. * There was also a plague of locusts for five years, so great that no green thing was left and such a famine ensued that they fell dead on the roads, and when the Spaniards returned they did not recognize the country. However, four good years followed and bettered the situation somewhat.

This Don Francisco set out for Yucatan along the rivers of Tabasco, and entered by the lagoons of Dos Bocas. The first place he touched was Champotón, whose chief Moch-Covoh had received Francisco Hernández and Grijalva so ill. The chief however having died, Don Francisco met no opposition, but was on the contrary supported with his company for two years by the people of the place; during this time he could not advance because of the resistance he encountered. Later he went to Campeche, where he found the inhabitants very friendly, so that with their help and that of the people of Champotón he accomplished the conquest. For their fidelity he promised that the King would reward them, a promise which up to the present time the King has not fulfilled.

Such resistance as he met was not strong enough to prevent Don Francisco from reaching Tiho with his army; here he founded the city of Mérida, and leaving the baggage there he set out to continue the conquest, sending captains in different directions. Don Francisco sent his cousin Francisco de Montejo to Valladolid to pacify the natives, who had rebelled somewhat, and to settle the city as it now is. In Chectemal [Chetumal] he founded the city of Salamanca [de Bacalar]; Campeche he already had occupied. He established in orderly manner the services of the Indians and the rule of the Spaniards, before the coming of his father the admiral to assume control. The latter on arriving from Chiapas with his wife and household was well received at Campeche, and gave his own name to the city, as San Francisco; and then went on to the city of Mérida.


24:* This is the famous event of 1536, the death of Ahpulá Napot Xiu, the 'rain-bringer,' at Otzomal; see the Maya Chronicles and the Xiu Papers at page . . . herein.

Next: XV. Cruelties of the Spaniards Toward the Indians. How They Excused Themselves