spanish conquest of the maya

[76] The Maya inhabitants of Cozumel fled the Spanish and would not respond to Grijalva's friendly overtures. [293] A small group of Franciscans led by friar Andrés de Avendaño sought out the Chunpich Kejache that had engaged the Sajkab'chen musketeers but were unable to find them, and Avendaño returned to Mérida. This battle marked the final conquest of the northern portion of the Yucatán Peninsula. Francisco de Montejo, who would eventually conquer much of the peninsula, was captain of one of the ships;[73] Pedro de Alvarado and Alonso d'Avila captained the other ships. [187] Alvarado sent 40 men to cover the exit from the cave and launched another assault along the ravine, in single file owing to its narrowness, with crossbowmen alternating with musketmen, each with a companion sheltering him with a shield. By the latter half of the 18th century, the local inhabitants consisted entirely of Spaniards, mulattos and others of mixed race, all associated with the Castillo de San Felipe de Lara fort guarding the entrance to Lake Izabal. On 23 January, Tutul Xiu, the lord of Mani, approached the Spanish encampment at Mérida in peace, bearing sorely needed food supplies. [159], In 1524 Luis Marín led a small party on a reconnaissance expedition into Chiapas. D'Avila returned overland to Xelha, and transferred the fledgling Spanish colony to nearby Xamanha,[107] modern Playa del Carmen, which Montejo considered to be a better port. [197] The piragua longboat used to cross the San Pedro River was also transported to the lake to be used in the attack on the Itza capital. [54] They set themselves adrift in one of the ship's boats, with bad oars and no sail; after thirteen days during which half of the survivors died, they made landfall upon the coast of Yucatán. In the decades before the Spanish invasion the Kaqchikel kingdom had been steadily eroding the kingdom of the K'iche'. [12] The climate of Petén varies from tropical in the south to semitropical in the north; temperature varies between 12 and 40 °C (54 and 104 °F), although it does not usually drop beneath 18 °C (64 °F). [88], From the lake, Cortés continued south along the western slopes of the Maya Mountains, a particularly arduous journey that took 12 days to cover 32 kilometres (20 mi), during which he lost more than two-thirds of his horses. The Spanish Conquest had begun. At Quetzaltepeque a lengthy battle was fought between the Tzeltal Maya and the Spanish, resulting in the deaths of a number of Spanish. [70] The two captured Maya survived the voyage to Cuba and were interrogated; they swore that there was abundant gold in Yucatán. [265], In 1540 Montejo the Elder, who was now in his late 60s, turned his royal rights to colonise Yucatán over to his son, Francisco Montejo the Younger. [108] Salamanca de Acalán proved a disappointment, with no gold for the taking and with lower levels of population than had been hoped. Around this time, the news began to arrive of Francisco Pizarro's conquests in Peru and the rich plunder that his soldiers were taking there, undermining the morale of Montejo's already disenchanted band of followers. [68] The battle had lasted only an hour,[67] and the Spanish named the locale as the Coast of the Disastrous Battle. [67] When the surviving Spanish reached the safety of the ships, they realised that they had lost over fifty men, more than half their number. In response, the K'iche' warriors attacked the Spaniards' indigenous allies and killed one of the Spanish soldiers. Monument in Mérida to Montejo the Elder and his son. [277] Soon after their arrival at the Itza capital, the Itza seized and sacrificed the Spanish party. [245] Captain Rodriguez Mazariegos, accompanied by Fray de Rivas and 6 other missionaries together with 50 Spanish soldiers, left Huehuetenango for San Mateo Ixtatán. Hernández died soon after from his wounds. [241] The governor joined Captain Rodríguez Mazariegos in San Mateo Ixtatán on 3 February; he ordered the captain to remain in the village and use it as a base of operations for penetrating the Lacandon region. Whenever the Spanish located a centre of population in this region, the inhabitants were moved and concentrated in a new colonial settlement near the edge of the jungle where the Spanish could more easily control them. Votes: 39 [136] The expedition advanced south into Kejache territory, which began at Chunpich, about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) north of the modern border between Mexico and Guatemala. [44] Members of the Maya aristocracy wore quilted cotton armour, and some warriors of lesser rank wore twisted rolls of cotton wrapped around their bodies. [327] There was a drastic depopulation of Lake Izabal and the Motagua Delta due to constant slave raids by the Miskito Sambu of the Caribbean coast that effectively ended the Maya population of the region; the captured Maya were sold into slavery in the British colony of Jamaica. A second church was built at Bʼatkabʼ to attend to over 100 Kʼejache refugees who had been gathered there under the stewardship of a Spanish friar;[165] a further church was established at Tzuktokʼ, overseen by another friar. [229] The population of the Cuchumatanes is estimated to have been 260,000 before European contact. [59] Soconusco also suffered catastrophic population collapse, with an estimated 90–95% drop. [167] The former inhabitants of Iximche were dispersed; some were moved to Tecpán, the rest to Sololá and other towns around Lake Atitlán.[173]. "The Highland Maya". Again the inhabitants offered armed resistance before abandoning their town to the Spanish. Pak'ek'em was sufficiently far from the new Spanish road that it was free from military interference, and the friars oversaw the building of a church in what was the largest mission town in Kejache territory. The party was initially received in peace at the Itza capital,[127] but as soon as the Spanish soldiers let their guard down, the Itza seized and bound the new arrivals. The Poqomam then received reinforcements, and the two armies clashed on open ground outside of the city. [137] He rounded up some natives to be moved into colonial settlements, but met with armed Kejache resistance. They decided that a night-time retreat would be too risky; instead, they posted guards and waited for dawn. [105] The Maya inhabitants of Cozumel fled the Spanish and would not respond to Grijalva's friendly overtures. [159], Juan de San Buenaventura's small group of Franciscans arrived in Chuntuki on 30 August 1695, and found that the army had opened the road southwards for another seventeen leagues (approximately 44.2 miles or 71.1 km), almost half way to Lake Petén Itzá, but returned to Chuntuki due to the seasonal rains. [45], Christopher Columbus discovered the New World for the Kingdom of Castile and Leon in 1492. [137] On 8 February 1524 Alvarado's army fought a battle at Xetulul, (modern San Francisco Zapotitlán). In 1618 and in 1619 two unsuccessful Franciscan missions attempted the peaceful conversion of the still pagan Itza. [79] The introduction of Catholicism was the main vehicle for cultural change, and resulted in religious syncretism. [140] At the lakeshore, within sight of Nojpetén, the Spanish encountered such a large force of Itzas that they retreated south, back to their main camp. Hernández, Christine; Anthony P. Andrews; Gabrielle Vail (2010). In the darkness the Spaniards could hear the movements of large numbers of Maya warriors. Rice, Prudence M. (2009a). [76] Grijalva did not land at any of these cities and turned back north from Ascensión Bay. [67], The few men who had not been wounded because they were manning the ships during the battle were reinforced with three men who had suffered relatively minor wounds; they put ashore at a remote beach to dig for water. Cortés reported that the town of Tiac was even larger and was fortified with walls, watchtowers and earthworks; the town itself was divided into three individually fortified districts. Many local Maya fled into the forest and Spanish raiding parties scoured the surrounding area for food, finding little. This name was hispanicised to Lacandon. [111] Aj Canul, the lord of the attacking Maya, surrendered to the Spanish. In 1549, the first reduction (reducción in Spanish) of San Mateo Ixtatán took place, overseen by Dominican missionaries,[234] in the same year the Q'anjob'al reducción settlement of Santa Eulalia was founded. "The Archaeology of the Kowoj: Settlement and Architecture at Zacpetén". Native resistance to the new nucleated settlements took the form of the flight into inaccessible regions such as the forest or joining neighbouring Maya groups that had not yet submitted to the Spanish. By 1514, Guerrero had achieved the rank of nacom, a war leader who served against Nachan Chan's enemies. [178] By now he only had 90 soldiers plus labourers and porters. Montejo's soldiers began to abandon him to seek their fortune elsewhere; in seven years of attempted conquest in the northern provinces of the Yucatán Peninusla, very little gold had been found. The defending Itza soon fled from the withering Spanish gunfire. Morán moved Spanish soldiers into the region to protect against raids from the Itza to the north. In 1797, the Spanish conquered the last independent Maya kingdom in Central America, at a place called Lago Peten Itza in the Peten jungle of northern Guatemala. [41] Portocarrero established Spanish dominion over a number of Tzeltal and Tojolabal settlements, and penetrated as far as the Tzotzil town of Huixtan. [180], A year after Luis Marín's reconnaissance expedition, Pedro de Alvarado entered Chiapas when he crossed a part of the Lacandon Forest in an attempt to link up with Hernán Cortés' expedition heading for Honduras. Montejo the Younger was received in friendship by Namux Chel, the lord of the Chel province, at Dzilam. Clendinnen 2003, p. 21. [189], Chiquimula de la Sierra ("Chiquimula in the Highlands") was inhabited by Ch'orti' Maya at the time of the conquest. Alvarado was ultimately to prove successful. [106], At Champotón, the fleet was approached by a small number of large war canoes, but the ships' cannon soon put them to flight. Las Casas arrived in Ciudad Real with 16 fellow Dominicans on 12 March 1545. [133] These events ended all Spanish attempts to contact the Itza until 1695. Bernardino Ek, the scout, escaped and returned to Mirones with the news. [221], The Xiu Maya maintained their friendship with the Spanish throughout the conquest and Spanish authority was eventually established over Yucatán in large part due to Xiu support. The horse itself was not passive, and could buffet the enemy combatant. Western Petén and neighbouring Chiapas remained sparsely populated, and the Maya inhabitants avoided contact with the Spanish. The death of their lord only served to inflame Cupul anger and, in mid 1533, they laid siege to the small Spanish garrison at Chichen Itza. An example was the one-time well-populated province of Ecab occupying the northeastern portion of the peninsula. [195] Martín de Ursúa planted his standard upon the highest point of the island and renamed Nojpetén as Nuestra Señora de los Remedios y San Pablo, Laguna del Itza ("Our Lady of Remedy and Saint Paul, Lake of the Itza"). [247], The soldiers commanded by Barrios Leal conquered a number of Ch'ol communities. [347], File:Historia de la conquista de la provincia de el Itza.pdf, In 1688 colonial historian Diego López de Cogolludo detailed the expeditions of the Spanish missionaries in 1618 and 1619 in his Los trés siglos de la dominación española en Yucatán o sea historia de esta provincia ("The three centuries of Spanish domination in Yucatán, or the history of this province"); he based it upon Fuensalida's report, which is now lost. [32] The Yalain occupied a territory that extended eastwards to Tipuj in Belize. The eastern Maya were defeated in a single battle, which marked the final conquest of the northern portion of the Yucatán Peninsula. The first Spanish conquest in the Americas was the island of Hispaniola. The original plan was for the province of Yucatán to build the northern section and for Guatemala to build the southern portion, with both meeting somewhere in Chʼol territory; the plan was later modified to pass further east, through the kingdom of the Itza. The various provinces shared a common culture but the internal sociopolitical organisation varied from one province to the next, as did access to important resources. The Maya lacked key elements of Old World technology such as a functional wheel, horses, steel, and gunpowder; they were also extremely susceptible to Old World diseases, against which they had no resistance. [33] Other groups in Petén are less well known, and their precise territorial extent and political makeup remains obscure; among them were the Chinamita, the Icaiche, the Kejache, the Lakandon Ch'ol, the Manche Ch'ol, and the Mopan. [102] Montejo took 125 men and set out on an expedition to explore the north-eastern portion of the Yucatán peninsula. [253] As a result the Dominicans met substantial resistance from the Spanish colonists; this distracted the Dominicans from their efforts to establish peaceful control over the Land of War. [121] By 1524, Soconusco had been completely pacified by Alvarado and his forces. From the natives they received a few gold trinkets and news of the riches of the Aztec Empire to the west. The Spanish spotted three large Maya cities along the coast, but Grijalva did not land at any of these and turned back north to loop around the north of the peninsula and sail down the west coast. The expedition became lost in the hills and came close to starvation before they captured a Maya boy who led them to safety. [147], The Sajkabʼchen company of native musketeers pushed ahead with the road builders from Tzuktzokʼ to the first Kejache town at Chunpich, which the Kejache had fled. [269] The Contact Period in the Petén lowlands lasted from 1525 through to 1700. [174] Kan Ekʼ learnt of a plot by the Kowoj and their allies to ambush and kill the Franciscans, and the Itza king advised them to return to Mérida via Tipuj. [24] This Chontal Maya-speaking province extended east of the Usumacinta River in Tabasco,[27] as far as what is now the southern portion of Campeche state, where their capital was located. [107], At Campeche, the Maya amassed a strong force and attacked the city; the Spanish were able to fight them off, a battle in which the elder Montejo was almost killed. The Cupul Maya also rose up against the newly imposed Spanish domination, and also their opposition was quickly put down. [160] San Buenaventura was accompanied by two friars and a lay brother. [232] The inhabitants of Chajul immediately capitulated to the Spanish as soon as news of the battle reached them. [118] Eighteen Spaniards were surprised in the eastern towns, and were sacrificed. [170], On 19 January AjKowoj, the king of the Kowoj, arrived at Nojpetén and spoke with Avendaño,[172] arguing against the acceptance of Christianity and Spanish rule. [208], In 1528, captain Diego Mazariegos crossed into Chiapas via the Isthmus of Tehuantepec with artilley and raw recruits recently arrived from Spain. Avendaño tried to convince Kan Ekʼ to convert to Christianity and surrender to the Spanish Crown, without success. Following this battle, Marín headed into the central highlands of Chiapas; around Easter he passed through the Tzotzil Maya town Zinacantan without opposition from the inhabitants. [3] The hills reach a maximum altitude of 170 metres (560 ft). [178] The fortress possessed formidable defences, and Gonzalo de Alvarado launched an assault on the weaker northern entrance. [66] Most of the precious water casks were abandoned on the beach. [186] The leaders of the reinforcements surrendered to the Spanish three days after their retreat and revealed that the city had a secret entrance in the form of a cave. A large number of defenders had gathered along the shore of Nojpetén and on the roofs of the city. [177] After the fall of Zaculeu, a Spanish garrison was established at Huehuetenango, and Gonzalo de Alvarado returned to Tecpán Guatemala. [223], Montejo the Elder became embroiled in colonial infighting over the right to rule Honduras, a claim that put him in conflict with Pedro de Alvarado, captain general of Guatemala, who also claimed Honduras as part of his jurisdiction. However, they could see a Maya city some two leagues inland. The terrible plagues that swept the peninsula were recorded in Yucatec Maya written histories, which combined with those of neighbouring Maya peoples in the Guatemalan Highlands, suggest that smallpox was rapidly transmitted throughout the Maya area the same year that it arrived in central Mexico with the forces under the command of Pánfilo Narváez. [18] The 16th century Maya provinces of northern Yucatán are likely to have evolved out of polities of the Maya Classic period. Montejo the Younger was received in friendship by the lord of the Chel province. [150] By November Tzuktokʼ was garrisoned with 86 soldiers and more at Chuntuki. The Indians piled reeds before the visitors; this act was followed by a procession of armed Maya warriors in full war paint, followed by ten Maya priests. This battle marked the final conquest of the northern portion of the Yucatán Peninsula. [211] The first Spanish expedition against the Lakandon was carried out in 1559, commanded by Pedro Ramírez de Quiñones. [190] Amésqueta was extremely suspicious of the small canoes being offered by the Itza to transport his party across to Nojpetén; as nightfall approached Amésqueta retreated from the lakeshore and his men took up positions on a small hill nearby. Cortés then returned to Mexico by sea. Another Spanish conquistador was killed by hostile Maya. [196] The galeota carried 114 men and at least five artillery pieces. He looped around the north of the Yucatán Peninsula to sail down the west coast. With the defeat of the Itza, the last independent and unconquered native kingdom in the Americas fell to the Spanish. [58] The expedition sailed west from Cuba for three weeks, and weathered a two-day storm a week before sighting the coast of the northeastern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula. Eventually an agreement was reached, and the encomiendas of Espíritu Santo that lay in the highlands were merged those of San Cristóbal to form the new province. Cortés and his army left Acalan on 5 March 1525. D'Avila was sent from eastern Yucatán to conquer Acalan, which extended southeast of the Laguna de Terminos. [273] The friars returned in October 1619, and again Kan Ek' welcomed them in a friendly manner, but this time the Maya priesthood were hostile and the missionaries were expelled without food or water, but survived the journey back to Mérida. [116], In 1540, Montejo the Elder, who was now in his late 60s, turned his royal rights to colonise Yucatán over to his son, Francisco de Montejo the Younger. [191] In 1526 three Spanish captains invaded Chiquimula on the orders of Pedro de Alvarado. [39] At the time of the fall of Nojpetén in 1697, there are estimated to have been 60,000 Maya living around Lake Petén Itzá, including a large number of refugees from other areas. Also among the approximately 100-strong expedition members was Bernal Díaz del Castillo. Mortality was high, with approximately 50% of the population of some Yucatec Maya settlements being wiped out. [206] The Itza nobility fled, dispersing to Maya settlements throughout Petén; in response the Spanish scoured the region with search parties. [203], Pedro de Portocarrero, a young nobleman, led the next expedition into Chiapas after Alvarado, again from Guatemala. Martín de Urzúa y Arizmendi, governor of Yucatán, launched an assault upon Nojpetén in March 1697; the city fell after a brief battle. The Cholan Maya-speaking Lakandon (not to be confused with the modern inhabitants of Chiapas by that name) controlled territory along the tributaries of the Usumacinta River spanning eastern Chiapas and southwestern Petén. The conquest of the Maya was hindered by their politically fragmented state. From the natives they received a few gold trinkets and news of the riches of the Aztec Empire to the west. In early 1695 the Spanish began to build a road from Campeche south towards Petén and activity intensified, sometimes with significant losses on the part of the Spanish. Q'umarkaj was the capital of the K'iche' kingdom until it was burnt by the invading Spanish. The Spanish founded a new town at nearby Tecpán Guatemala. Champotón was by now the last Spanish outpost in Yucatán, isolated among a hostile population. 758–759, 760–761. But then, from about A.D. 800 to 900, nearly all Maya cities in the southern lowlands were abandoned. [117], Montejo the Younger next sent his cousin to Chauaca where most of the eastern lords greeted him in peace. Stormy weather prevented the Spanish from crossing to Cozumel, and nine Spaniards drowned in the attempted crossing. Before the Spanish conquest of Mexico and Central America, the Maya possessed one of the greatest civilizations of the Western Hemisphere. [19] The littoral zone of Soconusco lies to the south of the Sierra Madre de Chiapas,[20] and consists of a narrow coastal plain and the foothills of the Sierra Madre. [128] On his departure, Cortés left behind a cross and a lame horse that the Itza treated as a deity, but the animal soon died. Cortés left Tenochtitlanon 12 October 1524 with 140 Spanish soldiers, 93 of them mounted, 3,000 Mexi… Obregón Rodríguez, María Concepción (2003) (in es). There is no such thing as ‘religious’ change that is not also tied to other sorts of changes and indeed to continuity. Armed Maya warriors approached from the city while the water casks were being filled. [108] After waiting for d'Avila without result, Montejo sailed south as far as the Ulúa River in Honduras before turning around and heading back up the coast to finally meet up with his lieutenant at Xamanha. [204] Salamanca de Acalán proved a disappointment, with no gold for the taking and with lower levels of population than had been hoped. de las Casas, Bartolomé (1997) [1552]. [192] However, the region was not considered fully conquered until a campaign by Jorge de Bocanegra in 1531–1532 that also took in parts of Jalapa. [184], Map of the principal entry routes and battle sites of the conquest of Guatemala, In 1525 Pedro de Alvarado sent a small company to conquer Mixco Viejo (Chinautla Viejo), the capital of the Poqomam. The Spanish conquest of Yucatán was the campaign undertaken by the Spanish conquistadores against the Late Postclassic Maya states and polities in the Yucatán Peninsula, a vast limestone plain covering south-eastern Mexico, northern Guatemala, and all of Belize. [62] They were led amongst large buildings until they stood before a blood-caked altar, where many of the city's inhabitants crowded around. [70], Maya armies were highly disciplined, and warriors participated in regular training exercises and drills; every able-bodied adult male was available for military service. The Spanish, by now disappointed with the scarce pickings, decided to retreat to Coatzacoalcos in May 1524. [99] Xelha was renamed Salamanca de Xelha and became the first Spanish settlement on the peninsula. He marched his men from Cahabón to Mopán, arriving on 25 February 1696. Cortés marched into Maya territory in Tabasco; the army crossed the Usumacinta River near Tenosique and crossed into the Chontal Maya province of Acalan, where he recruited 600 Chontal Maya carriers. [132] In 1574, fifty households of Manche Ch'ol were relocated from Campin and Yaxal, in southern Belize, to the shore of Lake Izabal, but they soon fled back into the forest. [166], Franciscan Andrés de Avendaño left Mérida on 13 December 1695, and arrived in Nojpetén around 14 January 1696, accompanied by four companions. [222] Montejo the Younger remained behind in Dzilam to continue his attempts at conquest of the region but soon retreated to Campeche to rejoin his father and Alonso d'Avila, who had returned to Campeche shortly beforehand. In Prudence M. Rice and Don S. Rice (eds.). [49], We came here to serve God and the King, and also to get rich. Crossbows had 0.61-metre (2 ft) arms stiffened with hardwoods, horn, bone and cane, and supplied with a stirrup to facilitate drawing the string with a crank and pulley. Lexile Levels 560L - 740L 750L - 890L 900L - 1040L . Hocaba and Sotuta were landlocked provinces north of Mani and southwest of Ah Kin Chel and Cupul. The conquistadors were met with a barrage of missiles and boiling water, and found the nearby town defended by a formidable 1.2-metre (4 ft) thick defensive wall. Ah Canul was the northernmost province on the Gulf coast of the peninsula. Hernán Cortés followed the Yucatán coast on his way to conquer the Aztecs. He found it was a Maya trading canoe from Yucatán, carrying well-dressed Maya and a rich cargo that included ceramics, cotton textiles, yellow stone axes, flint-studded war clubs, copper axes and bells, and cacao. [143], In mid-May 1695 García again marched southwards from Campeche,[143] with 115 Spanish soldiers and 150 Maya musketeers, plus Maya labourers and muleteers; the final tally was more than 400 people, which was regarded as a considerable army in the impoverished Yucatán province. Articles containing Spanish-language text, Pages containing links to subscription-only content, Pages containing cite templates with deprecated parameters, Articles incorporating text from Wikipedia, Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España, "The Political Geography of the Sixteenth Century Yucatan Maya: Comments and Revisions", "Historia y Evolución del Curato de San Pedro Sacatepéquez San Marcos, desde su origen hasta 1848",, "Relaciones de Verapaz y las Tierras Bajas Mayas Centrales en el siglo XVII", Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología,, "El Santo Ángel. The Maya fought back valiantly. [40] The Spanish found that the Chamula Tzotzil had abandoned their lands and stripped them of food in an attempt to discourage the invaders. He immediately reinstated the old name of San Cristóbal de los Llanos upon Villa Real. A large contingent put ashore to fill their water casks. Ten days later the Spanish declared war on the Kaqchikel. [151], In May 1695 Antonio de Silva had appointed two groups of Franciscans to head for Petén; the first group was to join up with García's military expedition. [74] Bernal Díaz del Castillo served on the crew; he was able to secure a place on the expedition as a favour from the governor, who was his kinsman. The fleet sailed south from Cozumel, along the east coast of the peninsula. [5], The Petén region consists of densely forested low-lying limestone plain featuring karstic topography. The Montejos, after reuniting at Dzikabal, founded a new Spanish town at Dzilam, although the Spanish suffered hardships there. [170] The following day, the current Aj Kan Ekʼ travelled across the lake with eighty canoes to greet the visitors at the Chakʼan Itza port town of Nich, on the west shore of Lake Petén Itza. Maya written histories suggest that smallpox was rapidly transmitted throughout the Maya area the same year that it arrived in central Mexico. [135], The governor of Yucatán, Martín de Ursúa y Arizmendi, began to build the road from Campeche south towards Petén. Montejo continued to the eastern Ekab province, reaching the east coast at Pole. [290] The expedition was joined by two companies of Maya musketeers. [204] With the defeat of the Itza, the last independent and unconquered native kingdom in the Americas fell to the European colonisers.[209]. Montejo remained in Spain for seven years, and eventually succeeded in acquiring the hereditary military title of adelantado. But then, from about A.D. 800 to 900, nearly all Maya cities in the southern lowlands were abandoned. The Tz'utujil kingdom had its capital on the shore of Lake Atitlán. Tutul Xiu was the ruler of the most powerful province of northern Yucatán and his submission to Spain and conversion to Christianity had repercussions throughout the peninsula, and encouraged the lords of the western provinces of the peninsula to accept Spanish rule. Estimates of the number of kuchkabal in the northern Yucatán vary from sixteen to twenty-four. As a result, the inhabitants of Soconusco were less likely to be rounded up into new reducción settlements than elsewhere in Chiapas, since the planting of a new cacao crop would have required five years to mature. [228] The Spanish were attracted to the region in the hope of extracting gold, silver and other riches from the mountains but their remoteness, the difficult terrain and relatively low population made their conquest and exploitation extremely difficult. Ecab was a large province in the east. The Spanish engaged in a strategy of concentrating native populations in newly founded colonial towns; they viewed the taking of prisoners as a hindrance to outright victory, whereas the Maya prioritised the capture of live prisoners and of booty. [81] Modern knowledge of the impact of these diseases on populations with no prior exposure suggests that 33–50% of the population of the Maya highlands perished. [146] García ordered the construction of a fort at Chuntuki, some 25 leagues (approximately 65 miles or 105 km) north of Lake Petén Itzá, which would serve as the main military base for the Camino Real ("Royal Road") project. [203], The city fell after a brief but bloody battle in which many Itza warriors died; the Spanish suffered only minor casualties. [221] Montejo the Elder returned to Campeche, where he was received with friendship by the local Maya. The Xiu Maya maintained their friendship with the Spanish throughout the conquest and Spanish authority was eventually established over Yucatán in large part due to Xiu support. [208] By this time, the indigenous population had been greatly reduced by a combination of disease and famine. 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Shortly after their first expeditions to the region in the 16th century, the Spanish attempted to subjugate the Maya polities several times. As Alvarado dug in and laid siege to the fortress, an army of approximately 8,000 Mam warriors descended on Zaculeu from the Cuchumatanes mountains to the north, drawn from towns allied with the city;[179] the relief army was annihilated by the Spanish cavalry. Maya states did not maintain standing armies; warriors were mustered by local officials who reported back to appointed warleaders. Lovell, W. George; Christopher H. Lutz (April 1984). They were mutually hostile; the Xiu Maya of Mani allied themselves with the Spanish, while the Cocom Maya of Sotuta became the implacable enemies of the European colonisers. When nine Spaniards were drowned in a storm off Cozumel and another was killed by hostile Maya, rumours grew in the telling and both the Cupul and Cochua provinces once again rose up against their would-be overlords. You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA. Aguilar and Guerrero were held prisoner and fattened for killing, together with five or six of their shipmates. This allowed the Spanish to storm the entrance and break the defences. The Spanish conquest of the Maya was a protracted conflict during the Spanish colonisation of the Americas, in which the Spanish conquistadores and their allies gradually incorporated the territory of the Late Postclassic Maya states and polities into the colonial Viceroyalty of New Spain. An advance party was led into an Itza trap and 87 expedition members were lost, including 50 soldiers, two Dominicans and about 35 Maya helpers. The lord of the Canul Maya refused to submit and Montejo the Younger sent his cousin against them (also called Francisco de Montejo); Montejo the Younger remained in Campeche awaiting reinforcements. [278] Soon afterwards, on 27 January 1624, an Itza war party led by AjK'in P'ol caught Mirones and his soldiers off guard and unarmed in the church at Sakalum and slaughtered them. Tases, Hocaba and Sotuta were all landlocked provinces. Grijalva put into Havana five months after he had left.[105]. [2] The first contact between the Maya and European explorers came in the early 16th century when a Spanish ship sailing from Panama to Santo Domingo was wrecked on the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in 1511. Aguilar had learnt the Yucatec Maya language and became Cortés' interpreter. [233], In 1529 the Chuj city of San Mateo Ixtatán (then known by the name of Ystapalapán) was given in encomienda to the conquistador Gonzalo de Ovalle together with Santa Eulalia and Jacaltenango. [22] When the Spanish discovered Yucatán, the provinces of Mani and Sotuta were two of the most important polities in the region. Thompson, J. Eric S. (October–December 1938). Montejo carved up the province amongst his soldiers. [114], Godoy's attempt to subdue the Maya around Champoton was unsuccessful and the local Kowoj Maya resisted his attempts to assert Spanish dominance of the region. As a result of these rumours, Hernán Cortés set sail with another fleet. [92] By this time the remnants of the expedition had been reduced to a few hundred; Cortés succeeded in contacting the Spaniards he was searching for, only to find that Cristóbal de Olid's own officers had already put down his rebellion. [161] The Province of Chiapa had no coastal territory, and at the end of this process about 100 Spanish settlers were concentrated in the remote provincial capital at Villa Real, surrounded by hostile Indian settlements, and with deep internal divisions. [248] The most important of these was Sakb'ajlan on the Lacantún River, which was renamed as Nuestra Señora de Dolores, or Dolores del Lakandon, in April 1695. [100] One of the ships was left at Santo Domingo as a supply ship to provide later support; the other ships set sail and reached Cozumel in the second half of September 1527. [60] The casks brought from Cuba were leaking and the expedition was now running dangerously low on fresh water; the hunt for more became an overriding priority as the expedition advanced, and shore parties searching for water were left dangerously exposed because the ships could not pull close to the shore due to the shallows. [271] In 1628 the towns of the Manche Ch'ol were placed under the administration of the governor of Verapaz, with Francisco Morán as their ecclesiastical head. [67], The 16th-century Spanish conquistadors were armed with one- and two-handed broadswords, lances, pikes, rapiers, halberds, crossbows, matchlocks and light artillery. Kayb'il B'alam, seeing that outright victory on an open battlefield was impossible, withdrew his army back within the safety of the walls. Cortés then returned to Mexico by sea. [281] These events ended all Spanish attempts to contact the Itza until 1695. [145] At the end of May three friars were assigned to join the Spanish force, accompanied by a lay brother. All odds were against this tiny band of adventurers who would soon venture into unknown territory to topple the mighty Aztec Empire. Eighty of the defenders were wounded in the initial barrage of missiles, and two Spaniards were captured in the frantic mêlée that followed. The two conquistadors eventually met up in Huixtan. Over the course of 1695 and 1696 a number of Spanish expeditions attempted to reach Nojpetén from the mutually independent Spanish colonies in Yucatán and Guatemala. The Spanish and their allies arrived at the lakeshore after a day's march, and Alvarado rode ahead with 30 cavalry along the lake shore until he engaged a hostile Tz'utujil force, which was broken by the Spanish charge. [112], While his son had been attempting to consolidate the Spanish control of Cupul, Francisco de Montejo the Elder had met the Xiu ruler at Maní. Hernández died soon after from his wounds. [120] Alvarado was received in peace in Soconusco, and the inhabitants swore allegiance to the Spanish Crown. [89] One of these was built on a rocky outcrop near a lake and a river that fed into it. [124] En route to Nojpetén, Delgado believed that the soldiers' treatment of the Maya was excessively cruel, and he left the expedition to make his own way to Nojpetén with eighty Christianised Maya from Tipuj in Belize. [165] After taking the deserted Chamula, the Spanish expedition continued against their allies at Huixtan. [114], Montejo the Elder became embroiled in colonial infighting over the right to rule Honduras, a claim that put him in conflict with Pedro de Alvarado, captain general of Guatemala, who also claimed Honduras as part of his jurisdiction. ed (in es). [43] An example of the effect on populations of this strategy is the province of Acalan, which occupied an area spanning southern Campeche and eastern Tabasco. Recinos 1986, p. 18. In 1618 two Franciscan friars set out from Mérida on a mission to attempt the peaceful conversion of the still pagan Itza in central Petén. Some of the inhabitants had fled Tixchel for the forest, while others had succumbed to disease, malnutrition and inadequate housing in the Spanish reducción. [116] In 1522 Cortés sent Mexican allies to scout the Soconusco region of lowland Chiapas, where they met new delegations from Iximche and Q'umarkaj at Tuxpán;[117] both of the powerful highland Maya kingdoms declared their loyalty to the King of Spain. ed (in es). [164] A day after their initial approach, Marín found that the Chamula Tzotzil had gathered their warriors upon a ridge that was too steep for the Spanish horses to climb. A new expedition was organised, with a fleet of eleven ships carrying 500 men and some horses. The Cochua Maya resisted fiercely but were soon defeated. [211], In 1684, a council led by Enrique Enríquez de Guzmán, the governor of Guatemala, decided on the reduction of San Mateo Ixtatán and nearby Santa Eulalia. [82], After Zaculeu fell to the Spanish, the Ixil and Uspantek Maya were sufficiently isolated to evade immediate Spanish attention. The Spanish could not pursue them because 300 canoes sent by the Kaqchikels had not yet arrived. To the north of the lakes region bajos become more frequent, interspersed with forest. [166], Pedro de Alvarado rapidly began to demand gold in tribute from the Kaqchikels, souring the friendship between the two peoples,[167] and the Kaqchikel people abandoned their city and fled to the forests and hills on 28 August 1524. [350] Juan de Villagutierre Soto-Mayor was a Spanish colonial official who wrote the Historia de la Conquista de la Provincia de el Itza, reduccion, y progressos de la de el Lacandon, y otras naciones de indios barbaros, de la mediacion de el Reyno de Guatimala, a las provincias del Yucatan en la América Septentrional ("History of the Conquest of the Province of the Itza, reduction, and advances in that of the Lakandon, and other nations of barbarous indians, and the intervention of the Kingdom of Guatemala, and the provinces of Yucatan in Northern America"). [143] Pedro de Alvarado led 60 cavalry, 150 Spanish infantry and an unspecified number of Kaqchikel warriors. The Sajkabʼchen company followed the path and found two more deserted settlements with large amounts of abandoned food. On 23 January, Tutul Xiu, the lord of Mani, approached the Spanish encampment at Mérida in peace. [93] The following day the conquistadors put ashore. Maya, the Mesoamerican Indians occupying a nearly continuous territory in southern Mexico, Guatemala, and northern Belize. Most of their cities had fallen into ruin and were being overtaken by jungle. [170] The king of the Itza, cited Itza prophecy and said the time was not yet right. [190] The first Spanish reconnaissance of this region took place in 1524. Aguilar and Guerrero managed to escape their captors and fled to a neighbouring lord, who took them prisoner and kept them as slaves. [268], The Petén Basin covers an area that is now part of Guatemala; in colonial times it originally fell under the jurisdiction of the Governor of Yucatán, before being transferred to the jurisdiction of the Audiencia Real of Guatemala in 1703. By the late 16th century, malaria had arrived in the region, and yellow fever was first reported in the mid-17th century. The Cochua Maya resisted fiercely but were soon defeated by the Spanish. [71] The small fleet was stocked with crossbows, muskets, barter goods, salted pork and cassava bread. [52] Many of the Spanish were already experienced soldiers who had previously campaigned in Europe. [114], The Franciscan friar Jacobo de Testera arrived in Champoton in 1535 to attempt the peaceful incorporation of Yucatán into the Spanish Empire. Its borders are poorly understood and it may have been landlocked, or have extended to occupy a portion of the Caribbean coast between the latter two kuchkabaloob. In 1524, a band of ruthless Spanish conquistadores under the command of Pedro de Alvarado moved into present-day Guatemala. [238] Repeated expeditions into the Lacandon Forest succeeded in destroying some villages but did not manage to subdue the inhabitants of the region, nor bring it within the Spanish Empire. Cortés and his army left Acalan on 5 March 1525. [18] At the eastern end of the Central Highlands is the Lacandon Forest, this region is largely mountainous with lowland tropical plains at its easternmost extreme. The canoe was carved from one large tree trunk and was powered by twenty-five naked rowers. There were also units of full-time mercenaries who followed permanent leaders. The Mopan River and the Macal River flow through Belize and join to form the Belize River, which empties into the Caribbean Sea. On 6 January 1542, he founded the second permanent town council, calling the new colonial town Mérida. His initial efforts were proving successful when Captain Lorenzo de Godoy arrived in Champoton at the command of soldiers despatched there by Montejo the Younger. [206], By 1528, Spanish colonial power had been established in the Chiapas Highlands, and encomienda rights were being issued to individual conquistadores. The Tz'utujil leaders responded to Alvarado's messengers by surrendering to Pedro de Alvarado and swearing loyalty to Spain, at which point Alvarado considered them pacified and returned to Iximche;[158] three days later, the lords of the Tz'utujil arrived there to pledge their loyalty and offer tribute to the conquistadors. [231] The victorious Spanish branded surviving warriors as slaves. [101] The battle had lasted only an hour. Attempts to convert the Itza failed, and the friars left Nojpetén on friendly terms with Kan Ekʼ. The nervous Sajkabʼchen sentries feared that the residents were returning en masse and discharged their muskets at them, with both groups then retreating. The Yucatán Peninsula is bordered by the Caribbean Sea to the east and by the Gulf of Mexico to the north and west. They were approached by about fifty finely dressed and unarmed Indians while the water was being loaded into the boats; they questioned the Spaniards as to their purpose by means of signs. In … [169] They arrived at the western end of Lake Petén Itzá to an enthusiastic welcome by the local Itza. [25] Cupul and Chinkinchel are known to have been mutually hostile, and to have engaged in wars to control the salt beds of the north coast. The Spanish forces were routed with heavy losses; many of their indigenous allies were slain, and many more were captured alive by the Uspantek warriors only to be sacrificed. [71] Most warriors were not full-time, however, and were primarily farmers; the needs of their crops usually came before warfare. The Spanish hold on the eastern portion of the peninsula remained tenuous and a number of Maya polities remained independent, including Chetumal, Cochua, Cupul, Sotuta and the Tazes. [266] As a result of the uprising and the Spanish response, many of the Maya inhabitants of the eastern and southern territories fled to the still unconquered Petén Basin, in the extreme south.

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