The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946 Page: 180
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The account of the Mayan Indians, and perhaps of other tribes,
contains inaccuracies. "By the time of the birth of Christ," says
Miss Shippen on page 46, the Mayas had extended their "civiliza-
tion over a wide area, for their empire spread over all Mexico
and into Guatemala." Even if she had used the older division of
Mayan history into the Old and New Empires, her statement
would have been about one hundred per cent wrong. "In the
fourth and fifth centuries their civilization reached its greatest
splendor," she continues. "Then they built great cities like
Tikal in northern Guatemala, and Copan in western Honduras,
and the great city of TeotihuacAn in the Valley of Mexico."
Though the origin of the pyramids of TeotihuacAn is a moot
question, most recent authorities - including Vaillant, who is
cited in the bibliography -- incline to the Toltec theory. By
implication, if not in fact, Miss Shippen places her dates too
late. According to Gann and Thompson (The History of the
Maya, pp. 36-38), the earliest recorded date in Tikal was 185
A.D.; that in CopAn, 195 A.D. "The great age of the Mayas
ended about 600 A.D. Their beautiful cities were deserted.
Many of the Mayas moved south to the peninsula of Yucatan.
Then other tribes had mastery and built cities. There was the
legendary empire of the Toltecs of Tula in Central Mexico, and
the civilization of the tribe in Yucatan [presumably not Mayan]
that built Chichen ItzA." The limits of this review do not permit
a probe into the tissue of inaccuracies in space and time and
history involved in the preceding quotation.
Vagueness of statement might be considered a less serious
defect than inaccuracy, except for the fact that it may, and often
does, produce an effect of inaccuracy. It need not even be argued
in extenuation that vagueness is almost inescapable in a book
which must employ a high degree of selectivity in order to cover
a wide range of subject-matter. Vagueness is merely a less
arduous means to the end. In the chapter on the Indians of
Mexico some statements are so generalized that one cannot tell
which tribes are being described - a matter of some importance
among Indians so diverse. A particularly glaring example of
misleading generalization - and one must suffice - is in the
account of the Texas struggle for independence. "Finally in
1836 the settlers banded together and announced their inde-
pendence. Santa Anna, hearing this news, marched at the head
of three thousand troops up through the desert of Coahulia ...
When Santa Anna reached San Antonio, he found a hundred
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946, periodical, 1946; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146056/m1/191/: accessed October 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.