Sacred Texts  Native American  Maya  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

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


At this point fray Francisco Toral, a Franciscan friar, and a native of Ubeda, who had been for twenty years in Mexico and then come as Bishop of Yucatan, arrived at Campeche. He, giving ear to the charges of the Spaniards and the complaints of the Indians, undid the friars’ work, and ordered the prisoners released. The provincial feeling himself aggrieved thereat, determined to go to Spain, after first lodging complaint in Mexico. He thus

p. 31

arrived at Madrid, where the Council of the Indies censured him severely for having usurped the office of bishop and inquisitor. In defense he asserted the privileges held by his order in those territories by the grant of Pope Adrian, at the instance of the Emperor; as well as the support ordered to be given him by the Royal Audience of the Indies, the same as given to the bishops. These defenses alienated the members of the Council yet more, and they decided to refer him and his papers, as well as those which had been sent by the Bishop, against the friars, to fray Pedro do Bobadilla, Provincial of Castile, to whom the King wrote commanding investigation and the performance of justice. Fray Pedro, being ill, committed the examination of the affair to Fray Pedro de Guzman, of his own order, a man learned and experienced in inquisitorial matters.

To him, then, were presented the opinions of seven learned persons of the kingdom of Toledo, namely: Don fray Francisco de Medina and fray Francisco Dorantes, of the Franciscan order; master frayle Alonso de la Cruz, an Augustinian friar who had spent thirty years in the Indies; the licentiate Tomás López who had been an Auditor in Guatemala in the New Kingdom, as well as a judge in Yucatan; D. Hurtado, professor of canon law; D. Méndez, professor of the Sacred Scriptures; and D. Martínez, Scotist professor at Alcalá. These declared that the Provincial had acted rightly in the matter of the Auto and other things for the punishment of the Indians. This being reviewed by fray Francisco de Guzman, he wrote fully upon it to the Provincial, fray Pedro de Bobadilla.

The Indians of Yucatan deserve that the King should favor them for many reasons, and especially for the readiness they have shown in his service. While he was occupied in Flanders the princess Doña Juana his sister, who was then regent of the kingdom, wrote a letter asking the assistance of those in the Indies. This an Auditor of Guatemala bore to Yucatan, and having gathered the chiefs together, he directed a friar to preach upon what they owed to his majesty, and what was asked of them. Having finished his discourse, the Indians rose to their feet and said that they recognized their obligation to God for having given them so noble and Christian a king, and that they were grieved not to live where they might serve him in person; wherefore whatever in their poverty they had that he desired, they placed at his service; and if that did not suffice, they would sell their children and wives.

Next: XX. Construction of the Houses of Yucatan. Obedience and Respect of the Indians For Their Chiefs. Headgear and Wearing of Garments