Case Studies/Lienzo de la Conquista, Quauhquechollan

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Guatemala, lienzo, Universidad Francisco Marroquin


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The term lienzo refers to a type of painting on cloth used by the indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica to communicate information. It was a system that combined oral narrations with stylized symbols and standards that were understood by the members of different societies. The word "lienzo" means a panel of cloth in Spanish.Lienzos and their narrations were fundamental to the way that the indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica recorded and communicated their history.

The Lienzo de Quauhquechollan was painted by a group of Mesoamerican Indians from the region of Quauhquechollan. The Quauhquecholteca spoke Nahuatl, the language of the Mexica (Aztecs). The highly skilled artists who painted lienzos were called tlacuiloque in Nahuatl.

This lienzo is special because: 1.It is considered the first map of Guatemala. 2.It is the only firsthand indigenous account of the conquest of Guatemala. 3.It supplies new details on the conquest of Guatemala, such as the routes taken, individual battles engaged, war tactics, specific towns conquered, and costume. 4.It corrects the record.

a. History books traditionally attribute the conquest of Guatemala to the Spanish captain Pedro de Alvarado. Although Pedro had tried to conquer Guatemala in 1524, he abandoned the effort to return to Spain to defend his interests before the royal court. The Lienzo tells us that it was really his brother, Jorge de Alvarado, who headed the Spanish army in the campaign that ended in the conquest of Guatemala, from 1527 to 1530.

b. The role traditionally attributed to indigenous allies in the conquest of Guatemala has been one of support and subservience: foot soldiers, porters, and service providers. The Lienzo de Quauhquechollan describes a very different relationship, placing the Quauhquecholteca on a par with the Spanish as captains and frontline protagonists.

Why did they painted the lienzo? The Quauhquecholteca painted the Lienzo to document their role in the conquest of Guatemala. Three publics come to mind:

1.They wanted to record that they had the right to hold a privileged position as co-conquerors in the new political system that was being formed in the conquered lands. The Spanish conquerors also produced documents called probanzas for the same reason. 2.They had been away from home fighting a war that cost tax money and lives. They needed to account to their own people in Quauhquechollan that the price was worth it; that glory—and hopefully privilege—was theirs. 3.Like humans everywhere, they wanted their bravery and victory to be remembered by their descendants and the descendants of those they had conquered.

Just like them we want to share with the world this wonderful discovery and show our country, culture and history that is why the site is licenced with CC.

Voted Best Virtual Map Presentation — ESRI Conference in San Diego, California


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