At Punta Catoche, Cortes came across Aguilar, a man who had survived a shipwreck and spent nine years as a slave to a warlord. Cortes enlisted the man; his knowledge of Maya would be invaluable to the explorer.
Malinche was a translator between Hernando Cortez and the Aztecs. Born to a well ranked family, she was eventually sold into the slave market. While in or near Tenochtitlan, she was given as a gift to the spaniard army. She knew multiple Mayan languages along with her native tounge, Nahuatl. With the help of a Spanish priest who had learned Mayan as a prisoner, she learned Spanish as well. However, her relationship with Cortez was not only political. She became his love and mistress and bore his first son, Don Martin Cortez. She was considered a great help to the spanish but to some of her people, she was a traitor. She was born in approxamately 1496 and died approxamately 1529.
There was basically only one reason: the invasion by Cortez' Spanish conquistadores who - better-armed and much more bloody-minded than any Mayan warrior - overran the Mayan Empire and killed the Emperor and his top officials with the help of auxiliary troops from tribes that had been subject to the Mayans.
Mayan itself is a language. Most descendants of the Mayans now speak Spanish although there are still communities throughout Central America that refuse to speak other languages.The Mayan languages were spoken by ancient Mayans, and are still spoken by about 6 million modern Maya peoples. It's a language family instead of a specific language.
Guatemala contains a mixture of different cultures, Maya Indian, Spanish, and lately a number of Ex-Patriate Americans and Europeans. Some of the Mayan Indians live the way their ancestors lived during the days of the Mayan empires. The people live in villages. The men weave cloth. The women decorate it. Some people farm and some people make utensils. Then there are the Spanish. They mainly live in the cities. They keep the old Spanish culture alive. There is also a mixture of the two cultures, part Mayan and part Spanish. You can go to a church and the people will worship in one language and then the Mayans will go out and have a religious ceremony in their language. In some villages, if you want to talk to the people, you will need to get a translator who can translate from Spanish to Mayan. Not all Mayan Indians speak the same language but an attempt is being made to standardize the language. Then there are the foreigners or Gringoes. There are a number of colonies of Gringoes living at various places in Guatemala, but mostly in the cool, high, mountains. These are people who do not work. Guatemala is the most Indian country in Latin America.
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