How Flemish Almost Became the Official Language of Cozumel

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In February, 1517, the Governor of Cuba, Diego Velázquez, sent Francisco Hernández de Córdova on an expedition that resulted in the discovery of Peninsula of Yucatan.   During the expedition, Córdova captured two Maya near Cabo Catoche and later brought them back to Cuba with him to learn Spanish so they could act as interpreters on future voyages to the peninsula.   The Maya lived in Cuba for a year and as they learned the language, they began to tell the Spanish about the lands from which they were taken.   One of the things they explained to the Spanish, was that the most important places (in their way of thinking) in the land of the Maya was the Island of Cozumel, which the Spanish had not seen or visited up to that time.

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Shadow on the stairs; A story of mass delusion

Today, the great pyramid at Chichén Itzá (known as El Castillo), is covered with a smooth and unbroken sheath of limestone blocks.   The stairways are also made up of finely-cut limestone and the balustrades are straight, square-edged, and well defined.   It is due to this sharp-edged veneer of stones and the arrow-straightness of the balustrade that the corner of the pyramid is able to cast its seven triangles of light and shadows on the side of the staircase during the spring and fall equinoxes.

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The Myth of the German Submarine that Sank Full of Mercury on Chinchorro Bank

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Chinchorro’s main feature is the plenty of wrecks on its east side, the windward one.   In fact, the Mexican government has declared the bank a marine archaeological sanctuary.   The amount of wrecks varies according to the source, from 40 to a hundred.   The count would include a German submarine and several sunken treasures.” –ww.maradentrodiving.com

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How Yucatan got its Name

There are several different stories about how Yucatan got its name and each one has its own share of websites and books claiming that it is the one, true version.  Some are clearly apocryphal and are often repeated simply because they make a good story.  Others have their credibility bolstered by the fact they were cited in the early historical accounts that were written shortly after the Spanish first came to Yucatan.  A few have a ring of logic, but have no historical mention.  Some are based on erroneous etymological origins, which sound good at first, but do not stand up to close scrutiny.

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How did the state of Quintana Roo get its name?

Quintana Roo was named after Andrés Eligio Quintana Roo in 1902.

Andrés was born in Mérida in 1787 to José Matías Quintana and doña María Ana Roo de Quintana.  José Matías founded and edited the pro-independence movement newspaper Clamores de la Fielidad Americana during 1813 and 1814.  Considered a rebel-rouser by the Spanish Viceroy, José Matías Quintana was arrested and sent to prison in Fort San Juan de Ulúa.

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El Castillo and the Lighthouse Theory

posted in: Archaeology, Yucatan & Quintana Roo | 0

In 1985, I took part in the “Tulum Lighthouse Project,” a project of the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH) which was underwritten by the National Geographic Society and the Kempner Fund.  The project was the idea of Michael Creamer, an American who came up with the theory that the twin window/vent holes on the ocean-facing side of the building in Tulum known as “El Castillo” could act as a sort of range light system for Mayan canoes attempting to cross over the reef at night to land on the beach next to the building.

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