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Old 27 September 2009, 03:42 PM
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snopes snopes is offline
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Icon05 Yucatán = "I don't understand"

Comment: A Mexican friend tells me that the word, "Yucatan" is the Maya
Indian's way of saying, "I don't understand." According to legend, the
first Spanish mapmaker to arrive on the Yucatan peninsula walked up to an
Indian and asked, "What is this place called?" Of course, the Indian did
not speak Spanish, so he replied, "Yucatan." The cartographer wrote the
Indian's response down on his map, and the place has been called Yucatan
ever sense.
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Old 27 September 2009, 03:54 PM
diddy's Avatar
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According to Wiki:
According to Hernán Cortés' first letter (Cartas de relación) to the King of Spain, "Yucatan" represents a mis-naming of the land by his political antagonist Diego Velázquez. Cortés alleges that when Velazquez initially landed in Yucatan and asked about the name of the well-populated land, the indigenous people answered, "We don't understand your language." This was supposedly rendered as Yucatan by the Spaniards, who were unfamiliar with the phonetics of Mayan. However, there was political antagonism between Cortés and Velázquez, and this story evidently represents an attempt to defame Velázquez. The actual source of the name "Yucatan" is the Nahuatl (Aztec) word Yokatlān, "place of richness."
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