Reddit mentions: The best mexico history books

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12. The Conquistadors

The Conquistadors
Sentiment score: 1
Number of mentions: 2
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u/CoyoteLightning · 1 pointr/history

Yep, I gotcha right here. I've read several surveys on Mexico history, as well as a few more in depth books on particular subjects and eras of Mexico. I second the recommendations made here of "Born in Blood and Fire", as well as the "Brief History of Mexico." Both very solid.

However! If you want to read one single (and very large) book on Mexico that will give you the best feel for the country's wildly interesting history, I strongly recommend Gilbert Joseph's, The Mexico Reader: History, Culture, Politics. Without going on and on about this book, I'll just say this: After reading this book, you will feel like you just finished an undergraduate course on the history of Mexico. It is huge, rich, and diverse, including a lot of material written by historical actors themselves. A great book that does its job.

Product description:
>This massive compilation of articles, essays, poetry, and photographs provides a wonderful introduction to the history and culture of Mexico. Joseph and Henderson are both historians with extensive backgrounds in Latin American and Mexican history. They have selected an eclectic mix of writers, many of them Mexican, including Carlos Fuentes and Octavio Paz. Topics range from the origins and growth of the Aztec Empire to the causes of the Mexican Revolution to the problems facing modern Mexico. There are well-thought-out political tracts here, as well as screeds against political corruption and economic exploitation that drip with outrage. What emerges is a portrait of the "many Mexicos" in which the wealthy, the growing middle class, and the impoverished indigenous peoples are all struggling to find their place in an exciting and rapidly changing land. This work is ideal for general readers, and one hopes it will encourage many to read and learn more about this important and diverse nation.

Secondly, seeing that you are in the "borderlands", you might want to look into the works of David Weber, on the Spanish frontier, often looking at the region before the U.S. was around. Similarly, DeLay's new book, War of a Thousand Deserts: Indian Raids and the U.S.-Mexican War is tits. It looks at Commanche and Apache "empires" of the southwest and their effects on colonization efforts by the Spanish, Mexicans, and Americans. (likewise is "Commanche Empire", by Hammalienen) There are so many great books, such an interesting area and peoples. Good luck!

u/drowgirl · 2 pointsr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

This is going to be fun. Across my multiple wishlists...

1.) Something that is grey.
Grey bedsheets.

2.) Something reminiscent of rain.
Pet water fountain.

3.) Something food related that is unusual.
Astronaut Ice Cream

4.) Something on your list that is for someone other than yourself. Tell me who it's for and why. (Yes, pets count!)
This Bruins banner is for my BFF Becky. She loves the Bruins more than anything. Hockey is her obsession. I put it on my list to remind myself to get it for her at some point. It would make her happy.

5.) A book I should read! I am an avid reader, so take your best shot and tell me why I need to read it!
The Name of the Wind. Of everything I've read in the past 6 months, this one I devoured and have been desperate for the second book in (it's on my list to pick up this week, actually, if my paycheck EVER comes in).

Look, I hate... HATE... first person perspective. I see it as a sign of sloppy writing. However, this book had me SOLD on it. Kvothe is possibly one of my new favorite characters OF ALL TIME.

Avid reader doesn't even begin to describe me. I have my own library. I need books like air. And if I had to make a list of 100 books that were all I was allowed to have for the rest of my life, THIS WOULD BE ON IT.

6.) An item that is less than a dollar, including shipping... that is not jewelry, nail polish, and or hair related!
This kindle book

7.) Something related to cats. I love cats! (keep this SFW, you know who you are...)
The most interesting cat toy in the world

8.) Something that is not useful, but so beautiful you must have it.
This choker. Enough said.

9.) A movie everyone should watch at least once in their life. Why?
The Breakfast Club Why? Because. It's a good movie. Whether you were the jock, the brain, the spoiled brat, the loser, or the troublemaker-- there's a character you can identify with, and it shows that whatever and whoever you are, you can get along with someone who isn't in your clique.

10.) Something that would be useful when the zombies attack. Explain.
A Seed Vault

Everyone worries about fighting zombies.

Dumb. You see, when the zombies come, I'm holing up. A few weeks and if they are undead, they'll have rotted themselves to death. If they are fast moving, viral sumbitches, then they'll have likely ended up offing themselves through dehydration or whatever.

In any event, I'll wait them out. But then, I will need to rebuilt and eat.

(Besides, I have my trusty zombie-killing baseball bat, and a bow. Quiet. Efficient.)

11.) Something that would have a profound impact on your life and help you to achieve your current goals.
This book on Aztec and Inca expansionism. I'm back in school, and my focus is Mesoamerican Studies. Eventual degrees, here I come!

12.) One of those pesky Add-On items.
Zucchini seeds.

13.) The most expensive thing on your list. Your dream item. Why?
A KitchenAid Mixer Why? I like to cook and bake. My mother has one that I used for years when I was a kid and still living with her. I'm 30 now. I remember she got it when I was like, 5. IT STILL WORKS. Over a dozen moves, being abused for holidays making bread and cookies and cakes, being used by my Dad (I swear, he looks at appliances and they break) and it STILL FUNCTIONS PERFECTLY.

I cannot think of a kitchen appliance that would be more useful.

14.) Something bigger than a bread box. EDIT A bread box is typically similar in size to a microwave.

This loft bed

15.) Something smaller than a golf ball.
How about 7 somethings? A set of dice.

16.) Something that smells wonderful.
Italian Herb Bread Mix It smells good when you open the box. When it's mixed. While it's rising. While it bakes. After it bakes. As you've slathered butter on it and begin to nom.

17.) A (SFW) toy.
Hawkeye is so SFW I would bring him in to put on my desk.

18.) Something that would be helpful for going back to school.
This book, of course.

19.) Something related to your current obsession, whatever that may be.
Funko Tyrion Lannister because even a small man can cast a great shadow.

20.) Something that is just so amazing and awe-inspiring that I simply must see it. Explain why it is so grand.

No one will understand the magnificence of this plushie.

It is a rotund, cuddly, snuggly Cthulhu.

But Cthulhu does not cuddle. He does not care. When the stars are right, he will rise from the deeps and from his seat Ry'leh, devour his cultists-- and everyone else-- by the millions, and bring forth an end to all things.

But how can you deny his Elder God wrath? HOW?! Look at him, all squishy and warm and soft. Look at his little T-Rex arms, reaching out for your love and devotion. His eyes, his wiggly little face tentacles. YOU MUST SNUGGLE HIM.

fear cuts deeper than swords

What do we say to death? NOT TODAY.

u/Skavocados · 1 pointr/Hasan_Piker

Since most people suggest US or EU focused stuff, I figured I'd give my personal interest. As someone who studied Latin American 20th century political history in undergrad and grad school, I am always pushing Latin America topics. For those interested in Mexico and the history of communism, corruption, drug violence, and how it all relates to the State and "Mexican Exceptionalism" I really recommend Dictablanda.

What's nice is it's a collection of articles/essays so you can skip around as needed, and each author has a different focus and expertise. For y'all, I'd recommend these articles:

  • Intransigence, Anticommunism, and Reconciliation: Church/State Relations in Transition / Roberto Blancarte
  • Strongmen and State Weakness / Rogelio Hernández Rodríguez
  • "We Don't Have Arms, but We Do Have Balls": Fraud, Violience, and Popular Agency in Elections / Paul Gillingham
  • (JARAMILLO WAS A FUCKING BADASS COMMIE. READ ABOUT HIM) The Forgotten Jaramillo: Building a Social Base of Support for Authoritarianism in Rural Mexico / Gladys McCormick


    ALSO: since I freaking love Ruben Jaramillo, for those interested in the history of Zapata, the legacy of Zapata post-Revolution, as well as the things that lead to the Zapatista uprising in the '90s, check out

  • Rural Resistance in the Land of Zapata: The Jaramillista Movement and the Myth of the Pax-Priísta, 1940–1962, Tanalis Padilla


    Maybe too "history heavy" for those that aren't used to it, but easy enough to read if you care about US/Mexico relations
u/Invertedpants · 1 pointr/todayilearned

Well that's the interesting part about their national park system. They weren't parks that excluded human settlement or industry, but encouraged sustainable, environmental practices that would have those residing within the parks be able to make a living while also being the natural caretakers and protectors of them. It was a really radical policy for the time that hasn't really seen anything like it since. As for today, I don't know as much about their current state, but after Cardenas' presidency the ideas of sustainable co-habitation between humans and the national parks lost support and became nearly obsolete. This is all just stuff I know from research for a paper I wrote last year. Though if you're really interested, you should read Emily Wakild's book Revolutionary Parks. Lots of good info on how the circumstances that led to the creation of the parks and what it was like during their operation.

u/MichaelALevi · 2 pointsr/IAmA

I won't pretend to be an expert on any of these! But I can recommend some great colleagues who are super smart on these issues....

Mexico: Shannon O'Neil has an excellent / pretty recent book on the political economy of Mexico:

Indonesia: Josh Kurlantzick:

Nigeria: John Campbell has an excellent book:

And, finally, Turkey: try Steven Cook's writings:

u/Spiketwo89 · 3 pointsr/Mexicana

Yea I haven't really ever seen any documentary about the Mexica or other mesoamerican groups that wasn't built around the older conquest myths like Cortez was mistaken for a god or the spaniards single handily beat them, but that doesn't mean that those old ideas aren't changing. There's a few pbs ones I've seen about the Aztecs and new discoveries of the teotihucan culture. Watching a documentary is easy but if you can reading is your best bet. Conquest by Hugh Thomas is an extremely detailed and well researched account of the rise and fall of the Aztecs, buried Mirror by Carlos Fuentes is an examination of the rise of a unified Spanish nation state and the parrels with the cultures of the new world and shows that the two groups had more in common than one would think. 1491 by Charles C. Mann has some stuff on the Aztecs, but looks at different new world cultures and shows that overall they were more sophisticated than generally thought of

u/phoenix_insurgent · 0 pointsr/libertarianmeme

Ok LOL! Ha ha ha ha! Ok, since you can't be bothered to use the internet, here ya go! That was easy. Total win for me. Jeez. Do you need me to do a tutorial on how google works, too? How embarrassing for you.

u/Pachacamac · 5 pointsr/AskAnthropology

This is one of the big problems in archaeology and there are thousands of books, chapters, and articles on it. There really is no consensus on exactly how this transition took place; a lot of time and energy has been spent trying to come up with one generalized model that can explain how and why this transition took place in those places where it did, but I prefer a more historical approach that looks at each case separately. What I mean by that is that I don't think there is a general model that can explain how and why this happened in all cases, rather you will see a great deal of diversity if you look at each individual case. That said, there is common ground between different cases and and there are a limited number of strategies that leaders can use to make this transition.

Anyway, I'm getting on a tangent and am probably losing you. What I mean to say is don't believe anyone who says that this ONE model explains how and why this transition took place multiple times around the world. Instead, there are a a few different models that can explain this transition, and each are valid because each transition is unique, even if is common ground.

As for some good sources that are easily readable and not too academic, I can think of a few. This has been a major focus of Joyce Marcus and Kent Flannery and they always seemed way ahead of their time in their writing. I recommend:

The Early Mesoamerican Village, edited by Kent Flannery (link is to a pdf of the book)

Zapotec Civilization: How Urban Society Evolved In Mexicos Oaxaca Valley by Joyce Marcus and Kent Flannery

The Creation of Inequality: How Our Prehistoric Ancestors Set the Stage for Monarchy, Slavery, and Empire by Kent Flannery and Joyce Marcus

I also like:

How Chiefs Come to Power: The Political Economy in Prehistory by Timothy Earle

Collective Action in the Formation of Pre-Modern States by Richard Blanton and Lane Fargher (more about states but some stuff applies to chiefdoms)

I could come up with more examples depending on your specific interests and questions. I'm not familiar with more popular and less academic literature but I can vet stuff if you are unsure of any source you find. But start with Marcus and Flannery, their stuff is great.

u/gamegyro56 · 3 pointsr/AskHistorians

To bayesmarkobgauss:

Almost all pre-modern philosophy blurred the line between religion and philosophy.

And there are many philosophers from Africa. Probably the most famous African philosopher (especially in the West) is Augustine. The most famous 20th century African philosopher (and one of the most famous post-colonialism thinkers in general) is Frantz Fanon. One of the more famous pre-modern African philosophers is the Ethiopian Zera Yaqob (not to be confused with the emperor of the same name).

There was also a large tradition of wisdom literature in Ancient Egypt. The Book of Proverbs was influenced by it. The Eloquent Peasant could also be considered philosophy.

Also, the Inca definitely had philosophers, who were called amawtakuna.


To OP: there have been philosophers from all places. In addition to what the places I said, there are the Muslim Averroes, Avicenna, Ibn Arabi, Al-Farabi, Al-Ghazali; the Jewish Maimonidies, Ibn Ezra (Abraham), Qoheleth, Halevi, Philo; the Chinese Mozi, Zhuangzi, [Mencius]
(, Zhu Xi, Huineng; the Indian Shankara, Nagarjuna, Kautilya, Abhinavagupta, Ramanuja; the Japanese Dogen, Ito Jinsai, Nichiren, Honen, Kukai. There are many more modern Eastern philosophers, I just tried to list mostly pre-modern. These people have also influenced Western philosophers. Schopenhauer and the transcendentalists liked Indian philosophy, Averroes and Avicenna were well-known in Medieval Europe, and Pythagoras is said to have traveled to Egypt.

Philosophy is not limited to Eurasia though. The Aztec tlamatinime had a rich tradition of philosophy, as you can read in Miguel Leon-Portilla's great book or here (EDIT: I just remembered, Nezahualcoyotl is one of the people mentioned many times in the book). Vine Deloria Jr. was a great 20th century Native American philosopher. There are also many books written on Native American philosophy that you can find, or I can suggest.

As for why you thought that, most non-Western philosophers have been ignored. This is the case for most non-Western artists and thinkers. The history behind this is modern European conceptions of European superiority (though this wasn't completely clear-cut, as Russians, Irish people, and Turks are European). And while it could be argued this superiority is still embedded in the consciousness, this legacy has left a tradition that makes it easy to stick with. Because of the language similarities, the numerous manuscripts, and the cultural familiarity, it's just easier for Westerners to stick with the same philosophers. It's creates a simple narrative, and its easy to digest, especially for younger students.

u/ThesaurusRex84 · 3 pointsr/HistoryMemes

For those confused or wanting to learn more, Twin Tollans by J.K. Kowalski et al might be a book you'd really appreciate on this subject.

Basically, early historians took the Aztecs' mythologized history of Tula at face value and interpreted Tula-like features around Mesoamerica as evidence of Toltec influence, but the reality of it was that there was a much larger cultural phenomenon going on and not only was Tula just following the crowd, but they're far from the first to do so.

Tula still had some level of popularity within Central Mexico, which is why later cultures around the Valley of Mexico like the Acolhua and Tepanecs liked to trace their ancestry to them, and later the Aztecs did the same by marrying into these polities and claiming that same legitimacy through ancestry.

Essentially the Toltecs (if we should even call them that) were that kid in school that repeated a joke louder and everyone credited him for it since. In other words,


u/[deleted] · 3 pointsr/trees

I'm reading a book that documents the Huichol's sacred peyote hunt and how important it is to their religion. I now feel that taking psychedelics should have a sort of ritual behind it, like meditating. Their entire ritual (from preparation to return) takes about 40 days. The journey to harvest the peyote is about a week long.

What I found interesting was that peyote is supposed to give wisdom and insight to the maraka'ame, the Huichol's name for shamans, while the other traveler's trips are said to be less important and simply for the beauty of the animals and colors. A maraka'ame's trip is MUCH more important and meaningful. It is where he or she connects with the gods.

The book is called Peyote Hunt. It's dry, confusing reading if you're not interested in religion, mysticism and other cultures. But I feel like you are : )

u/laszloasaurus · 12 pointsr/history

I like this book because it has their poetry
"All our gods are dead"- fav line
"Where is your mind?
Where is your heart?
If you give your heart to each and everything, you lead it nowhere"

u/SmashAction · 1 pointr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

This beauty here. I've wanted to get a more familiar with mexican authors since my old man swears I need to every time I see him lol. This particular book won the Nobel prize for literature.

u/ArthurSShelby · 5 pointsr/mexico

it have to say "chingadamadre" everytime there's something wrong.

it need to be agressive when is questioned about his personality or life choices

it need to be a party guy/gal whenever it has an opportunity.

You are done ;)

I also recommend you to read this book "Laberinto de la Soledad" , the best book about "how mexicans are" by the great Octavio Paz

u/400-Rabbits · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

Ahhuatl's suggestions are great, and the Florentine Codex (especially Book 1) is pretty much your authoritative source. Leon-Portilla is another great resource and you may want to check out his Aztec Thought and Culture if you ever want a scholarly look at the philosophy of Aztec religion.

If you're looking for the myths themselves though, you may want to check out Taube and Miller's Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya. It is a dictionary/encyclopedia though, so it may be kind of dry. Carrasco's Daily Life of the Aztecs doesn't directly tell the myths but does feature large passages on important rituals (and is just a good book overall).

u/DinnerWithSusan · 3 pointsr/AskHistorians

I really enjoyed Conquistador: Hernan Cortes, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztecs by Buddy Levy.

I think he does a great job of delving into the people instead of just the events. It was a good read.

u/MurphyBinkings · 1 pointr/AskHistorians

Hi! I'd be happy to help out with some suggestions:

The Secret War in Mexico is older, but still excellent. It is fact-heavy and not easy to read, though.

Treacherous Passage is new, and having only skimmed a few pages at a friend's house, one I'm interested in reading ASAP.

Intervention! covers the Mexican Revolution from am an American perspective.

u/Luddite4Change · 3 pointsr/army

The Great Call up was essentially a dry run for the mobilization for WWI. President Wilson called up the entire National Guard in shifts over a year period. It weeded out all of the unfit soldiers and provided significant field training. Here are two recent books that you might find of interest.

Also, if you don't want to spend any money, you can search for a copy of the 27th Infantry Division WWI history. The first several chapters deal with the Mexican Call up.

u/NeinNyet · 3 pointsr/mesoamerica

Last year I did the audio book of Conquistador: Hernan Cortes, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztecs

I cannot recommend the book enough. A truly amazing story.

The way it was taught to me in the 70's was basically Cortes hopped off the boat, took a look around and made a beeline for the Aztec capital. Not even close to the real story.

The tale of Cortes marching an army across the volcano is incredible in itself.
I think that feat is Hannibal worthy.

u/vencetti · 3 pointsr/AskHistory

Bernal Díaz del Castillo wrote a memoir The True History of the Conquest of New Spain which is a surprisingly good read. I also read Conquest: Cortes, Montezuma, and the Fall of Old Mexico which was well written and accessable too.

u/disputing_stomach · 2 pointsr/books

Conquistador, about how Cortes defeated the Aztecs. Excellent research and well written. Great story, as well.

u/ApekOne · 1 pointr/Anthropology

this is an amazing thread. i too am a cultural anthro major and would like as much reading material as possible. keep the suggestions coming guys!

here's my contribution. i read it for my final essay in my ant102 class

u/eremiticjude · 1 pointr/philosophy

If you've an interest in aztec philosophy theres a decent amount out there. I took a class in it at SFSU and was fairly blown away. i tried to find my copy of the syllabus for the class, but failed. Luckily, i didn't sell back some of the books, and i found one in particular on amazon i'd recommend:

u/I-am-Gizmoduck · 5 pointsr/PropagandaPosters

This Punitive Expedition was in response to the [Battle of Columbus](, where Pancho Villa raided the New Mexico town of Columbus (which is smoldering in the background)

The artist is Sam Berryman, who's credited with creating the famous "Teddy Bear" in his cartoons about Theodore Roosevelt during his Presidency

edit: I've been reading "The Great Call Up" recently, and it goes into how in 1916, Wilson mobilized the entire National Guard (Around 150,000 men), in order to secure the border against an unstable Mexico & it's German sponsored rebels.

The Great Call Up was a a logistical DISASTER. But the mobilization lessons learned during it, significantly helped out just a year later when war were declared on the German Empire & their allies in WWI. IF you enjoy "forgotten" history, the book is amazing.

u/LosAngelesVikings · -5 pointsr/mexico

Forgive me for answering in English, but unfortunately Spanish is not my first language. I feel like I can make my point clearer in English.

The idea of Mexico being a mestizo nation is a myth. That's because any indigenous person that dresses in western clothing is automatically labeled as mestizo. Many indigenous communities underwent a process in which they lost most of their native language and customs, which were replaced by Spanish and western clothing. But they are still indigenous people.

We Mexicans need to stop clinging to this idea that we have white blood in our veins because that's not the case for most Mexicans. And for those that do, it shouldn't be a point of pride.

I highly recommend the book Mexico Profundo as it talks more about this.

And just to make it clear, I'm not saying that white Mexicans don't exist. They clearly do. Just turn on the TV.

u/bodie87 · 31 pointsr/AskHistorians

Also not my specialty, but I did a lot of Conquest-era history during my undergraduate, so I know a bit of the historiography.

If you're interested in the Mexican example, Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico might be what you're looking for. It comprises translations of Nahuatl-language accounts of the Spanish Conquest. Here's a link to a short review for more information.

u/AceSpades15 · 2 pointsr/AskHistory

Hammond Innes has a basic compendium called The Conquistadors. Not super in depth, but provides a good overview.

u/wedgeomatic · 1 pointr/AskHistorians

I'll defer to any superior knowledge you have. I got the info from Religion and Empire: The Dynamics of Aztec and Inca Expansionism.

u/Mictlantecuhtli · 3 pointsr/ArtefactPorn

> In the Twin Tollan book, the authors more or less take a world system approach to suggest that both cities experience connectivity, thus moving away from notions of one influencing the other

I had to ask my friend for the source he had told me. But he says the debate isn't settled and more work needs to be done at both sites to work out their chronology.

Which reminds me of this Michael Smith article

u/aarkerio · 1 pointr/HistoryPorn

Taft knew and approved everything, Wilson always informed and followed Washington's orders.

u/starkhalo · 1 pointr/mexico

I believe you don't understand the term 'mestizo'

Mexico is a mestizo nation as only 10-14% of the population is indigenous (amerindians). The rest of the population is a mixture of Indian-White-Black ancestry, it even has been postulated that no pure race exists today as hundreds of years since being conquered (1519) and the import of 600,000 black slaves (early 16th century) has had an impact on all of the population.

An indigenous (amerindian) dressed in western clothing would be called 'mestizo' and that would be correct, as mestizo not only refers to the racial mixture of amerindians-spaniards (or amerindian-white european). But also to a phenomenon exclusive to Mexico called "mestizaje".

As you probably know, Mexico's indigenous culture was pretty much destroyed during the spaniard invasion, language and religion were imposed on the population and after the revolution the elite developed the construction of the mexican national identity, the "Mestizo identity".

It pisses me off to no end to write about this and I don't want to elaborate in the destruction of my (our) culture, suffice to say that mestizo is a correct term for any mexican not identifying fully neither with any indigenous culture nor with a particular non-Mexican heritage, but rather identifies as having cultural traits and heritage incorporating elements from indigenous and European traditions

> We Mexicans need to stop clinging to this idea that we have white blood in our veins because that's not the case for most Mexicans. And for those that do, it shouldn't be a point of pride.

I don't see where you are heading with this. Just being factual, mexican population does have white (European) ancestry just like it has Black ancestry as well (1.8% (±3.5%) of African, and 1.2% (±1.8%) of East Asian ancestry).

It is estimated that on average the population is 41.8% (±15.5%) of European ancestry, towards the north of the country the percentage is higher (northern Sonora is 61.6% European ancestry) and towards the south indigenous ancestry is higher (the southern state of Guerrero showed on average 71.5% of indigenous ancestry)

Most mexicans do have white (European) ancestry (blood) in them (remember that you need ~25% haplotype in order to show up phenotypically), I don't know why it should or shouldn't be a point of pride as you say...

> I highly recommend the book Mexico Profundo as it talks more about this. [1]

top lel

We've been culturally enriched beyond salvation throughout the last 5 centuries, let our history be an example of the dangers of multiculturalism on homogenous populations as Europe is facing right now lest their culture be forever destroyed too.

> And just to make it clear, I'm not saying that white Mexicans don't exist. They clearly do. Just turn on the TV.

2013, still watching TV. Anyways, Mexico is racist (towards the indigenous population, in large part because of the damned mestizaje) and mexicans want to see on TV that which they like (not being indigenous) and the TV networks happily oblige.

It's not that those actors aren't mexicans or are pure blooded aryan master race, it's just that their mixture has less Indian, Black and Asian ancestry.

u/pricklypearanoid · 2 pointsr/Archaeology

Check out Dr. Joyce's book, "Mixtecs, Zapotecs, and Chatinos" It covers all three cultures pretty exhaustively.

u/TheTalentedMrTorres · 1 pointr/books

Ever read The Broken Spears? Great history of the conquest of Central America from Aztec perspectives.

u/apostrotastrophe · 2 pointsr/booksuggestions

The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico.

The title gives you the summary. It's a perspective you pretty much never hear and it totally turned my understanding of events on its head. This was an assigned text for a history course in university, but many years later, I'm still thinking about it and referencing it all the time.

u/minicyberking · 4 pointsr/Quipu

While the Wikipedia article does give us a broad perspective of the matter, it's important to aknowledge that the 'primary sources' quoted are still those of the colonizares and missionaries whose interpretations of the indigenous informers could be heavliy biased by the catholic view from that time.

To fully grasp the fenomena of sacrifice among mesoamerican societies (including the most popular, Mexica) I recomend the work of Miguel León-Portilla Aztec Thought and Culture and Alfredo López Austin Human Body and Ideology, both of them considered the biggest authorities regarding mesoamerican studies because their primary sources are not only the prehispanic codex but also the indigenous people that are alive in Mexico today.

Just for the sake of summarize: in mesoamerican cosmogony the life and death cicle desn't have the 'good' vs 'bad' connotations of cristianity, and gods doesn't work as allegories of the human's deepest impulses as in greek mythology. Even Jospeh Campbell notices these distinctions. The role of death is rather a transitionary state between the "physically incarnated world" and the other world that exists beyond human perception. One's truest essence, teyolia, that resides precisely in the heart is the only part of ourselves that can travel through the "other realms" not to purified our sins or to seek eternity, but to serve the gods in order to sustain the existence of the living world. In other words, death only means another way to maintain life. Sacrificed people are still serving the gods in this cosmovision.

So, yes. Sacrifice -at least among mesoamerican cultures- had heavily religious connotations, and its political aspects were indeed those of dominance tools, but not as instruments of fear as you may think (as depicted in the movie Apocalypto) but rather as an assertion of which group of people or tribe was more worthy of the favor of the gods. That's why captured* warriors accepted sacrifice with dignity; they knew they failed to their tribes, but afterlife they would be working for the gods anyway.

Pd. English is not my native language so I hope this text is legible enough.

*The objective of a war was to capture enemies, no to kill them.