Landa, Diego de
Diego de Landa (1524- 1579) was the Franciscan bishop of Yucatán who played a significant part in promoting the idea that the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel had migrated to the Americas, citing local Mayan legends that their ancestors had come from the East, aided by divine intervention! Others, such as Brasseur de Bourbourg, seized on this idea and expanded it to link the Maya with Atlantis.
Landa was ‘a nasty piece of work’, showing great cruelty towards the indigenous people and little respect for their culture. He is also considered to have produced a truly dreadful decipherment of the Mayan script. Later attempts by Brasseur de Bourbourg and Augustus le Plongeon were equally unsuccessful.