Diego de Landa cover

photo credits: Wikimedia Commons

Diego de Landa

Spanish Bishop of Yucatán (1524-1579)

1524   -   1579

country of citizenship: Spanish Empire
language of expression: Spanish
occupation: conquistador, chronicler, mayanist, friar minor, Catholic priest, historian
position held: Catholic bishop, Bishop of Yucatán

Diego de Landa Calderón, O.F.M. (12 November 1524 – 29 April 1579) was a Spanish bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Yucatán. Many historians criticize his campaign against idolatry. In particular, he burned almost all the Maya manuscripts (codices) that would have been very useful in deciphering Maya script, knowledge of Maya religion and civilization, and the history of the American continent. Nonetheless, his work in documenting and researching the Maya was indispensable in achieving the current understanding of their culture, to the degree that one scholar asserted that, "ninety-nine percent of what we today know of the Mayas, we know as the result either of what Landa has told us in the pages that follow, or have learned in the use and study of what he told."
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