Rewriting Guatemala’s History – fascinating new insight!
Part of my passion is to learn more about this remarkable city. While reading all of the books I could about Guatemala’s colonial history in the 1970’s -90’s, I thought history was “etched in stone”. We learned about the conquest of Guatemala through Bernal Diaz del Castillo’s The True History of the Conquest of New Spain (1568) and were fascinated by Francisco Antonio Fuentes y Guzman’s Recordación Florida (1690). A wealth of new research appeared in the 1970’s and we were amazed how Antigua’s history began to come to life.
So much information has “changed”. We no longer attribute the urban design of the city to Juan Bautista Antonelli as he was not of age to be here in 1541. Conqueror Pedro de Alvarado’s “anger management” issues have been well documented in Atemorizar la Tierra: Pedro de Alvarado y la Conquista de Guatemala 1520-1541 (Lutz, Lovell, Kramer).
I LOVE going to lectures and up-dating the information for my Cultural Walking Tour. More recently Madelaine Fischer gave a fabulous talk at UFM/Casa Popenoe about “The True Conquerors of Guatemala”. With painstaking analysis of the lists of the conquerors who participated in the Conquest of Mexico and those in Guatemala, it turns out that Bernal Diaz, for example, did not participate in the conquest of Guatemala. Fuentes y Guzmán and others wrote fictitiously about their relatives to gain rewards from the King of Spain for themselves as heirs. With the confirmed list of 130 soldiers who participated in 1524, new information will emerge about them now!
The publication of the Libro Segundo del Cabildo de Guatemala last year was monumental. With “new” information about Santiago de Guatemala” from 1530-41, we all said “WOW” when we could see the Governess’s, Beatriz de la Cueva’s, signature that fateful night of September 10th, 1541 when she scratched it out and wrote La Sin Ventura Before the flood.