Languages and Religion
The Spaniards came to the New World with a dual mission of seeking wealth and spreading Christianity. To achieve the goal of conversion, missionaries learned native languages and sought to understand the cultures. Using the Roman alphabet, they transcribed languages and created grammars and dictionaries, all to translate and disseminate their Christian message. Out of the commitment to their goal of conversion, missionaries became the first ethnographers. Although much of their work remained unpublished, much of what we know about the Inca, Aztecs, and Maya is found in these manuscripts. However, some missionaries also destroyed many native texts and cultural objects, considering them works of idolatry.
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