Long after the Aztecs and the Incas had become a fading memory, a Maya civilization still thrived in the interior of Central America. Lost Shores, Forgotten Peoples is the first collection and translation of important seventeenth-century narratives about Europeans travelling across the great “Ocean Sea” and encountering a people who had maintained an independent existence in the lowlands of Guatemala and Belize.
In these narratives—primary documents written by missionaries and conquistadors—vivid details of these little known Mayan cultures are revealed, answering how and why lowlanders were able to evade Spanish conquest while similar civilizations could not. Fascinating tales of the journey from Europe are included, involving unknown islands, lost pilots, life aboard a galleon fleet, political intrigue, cannibals, and breathtaking natural beauty. In short, these forgotten manuscripts—translations of the papers of the past—provide an unforgettable look at an understudied chapter in the age of exploration.
Lost Shores, Forgotten Peoples will appeal to archaeologists, anthropologists, and historians interested in Central America, the Maya, and the Spanish Conquest.
Note to the Reader xiii
1 Beginnings. 1574-1606 1
2 Georgraphy of the Lowlands: Gabriel Salazar, 1620 21
3 Across the Ocean Sea: Martin Tovilla, 1630 55
4 Borderlands: Martin Tovilla, 1635 85
5 Coming of the Soldiers: Martin Tovilla. 1635 116
6 The Lies of Friar Moran, 1636 151
7 Between Two Worlds ,1653-1654 158
8 The Rediscovery of the Manché Chol, 1676 170
9 The Itinerary of Friar Joseph Delgado, 1677 181
10 Collection and Removal, 1685-1700 187
11 Raids of the Mosquito Zambo, 1704-1733 217
Postscript and Further Readings, 1766-1733 221
“It is exciting to have a translation of these important early documents finally available. Feldman is widely regarded as one of the foremost scholars in Central American ethnohistoric studies. His grasp of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spanish and paleography is superior, his translations are accurate and faithful to the documents while being understandable to the nonspecialist, and the amount of cultural, geographic, and economic information contained in these documents is amazing.”—Karen Olsen Bruhns, San Francisco State University
“This is totally new, very important material. Specialists in the field will be very pleased to see it in print—Feldman has been known to have been burrowing in the archives for a long time now, and this is spectacular fruit.”—Norman Hammond, Boston University