Postcolonial conquest of the Southern Maya Lowlands, cross-cultural interaction, and Lacandon Maya culture change

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


During the nineteenth century, the conquest of the lowland rainforests and some of the last autonomous Maya of Chiapas,Mexico, and Petén, Guatemala, gained momentum. Following the establishment of the postcolonial governments from the mid- To late 1800s, a large number of settlers, explorers, missionaries, and traders migrated to the lowlands and contacted the remote Lacandon Maya. The ensuing cross-cultural interaction transformed Lacandon culture in many ways and helped shape their lifeways up until the present. Hence, the Lacandon are not holdovers from the past who were only recently affected by outside contact as sometimes believed. In this chapter, new archaeological and historical information on Lacandon culture change during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is presented. The effects of cross-cultural interaction and indigenous responses to contact, including Lacandon demographic shifts, flight into the wilderness, and focus on trade with outsiders, are stressed. Besides the external influences of foreign colonizers, which are commonly discussed in the literature, changes in Lacandon culture through a local indigenous interaction sphere, mainly from egalitarian trade and social discourse with other Maya, are also presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Postclassic to Spanish-Era Transition in Mesoamerica
Subtitle of host publicationArchaeological Perspectives
PublisherUniversity of New Mexico Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)0826337392, 9780826337399
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


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