Perpetual <i>Reducción</i> in a Land of Frontiers

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:
Perpetual Reducción in a Land of Frontiers

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The Maya were highly organized before the arrival of the Spanish—especially prior to but also after the demise of the Mayapán confederacy in the mid-thirteenth century. Given the accumulated experience of the Spanish and the missionaries in New Spain and elsewhere, and given what they found in Yucatán, there is no question that they recognized that the Maya were already living in a complex society. But the kind of order that interested the Spaniards was different, and it required both a simplification and recasting of the indigenous political geography. This chapter spells out the main lines of spatial transformation entailed by the reducción. To be reducido was above all to live in a stable place, in which things were done in their proper settings and people behaved in ways appropriate to those settings. The concept of propriety here derives from policía, itself derived linguistically from polis “town.” Thus, it is unsurprising that the order imposed by reducción revolved around the pueblo “town”.

Keywords: Maya; Spanish; missionaries; Yucatán; indigenous political geography; spatial transformation; reducción

Chapter.  14008 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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