In 1550, a Spanish friar came to the Chontal Maya town of Acalan-Tixchel on the Yucatan peninsula. The friar had come along with the Spanish colonial army that was conquering the Maya lands. The friar’s mission was to begin converting the Chontal Maya to Christianity. First the friar preached to the Chontal Mayan leaders about Christianity. He told them to bring him their “devils,” statues of Chontal Mayan gods. The friar gave the leaders new, European names. After that meeting, the friar ordered the leaders to search for hidden statues of gods. If a Chontal Maya person tried to hide a statue, the leaders punished them by beating them in public.