Joel Robbins

in Converting Words

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780520257702
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944916 | DOI:

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The Spanish conquest of Yucatán rested on two major columns, military subjugation and the so-called conquista pacífica “peaceful conquest.” The military conquest was carried out by a relatively small number of soldiers, armed with swords, armor, muskets, horses, and dogs, and assisted by their indigenous allies. The objective of the conquista pacífica was to convert the natives from heathens into Christians living in accordance with policía cristiana, which we might gloss roughly as “Christian civility.” In order to be placed in policía cristiana, the Indios had to be reorganized. This was to be achieved through a process called reducción. The reducción represents the systematic attempt to design and inculcate a new habitus in the Indian communities. To this habitus corresponds a new Indian subject: individuated, classified, governed, and fundamentally religious.

Keywords: Spanish conquest; Yucatán; conquista pacífica; military subjugation; policía cristiana; reducción

Chapter.  9613 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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