[168] From there they followed the small Acté River to a Chakʼan Itza town called Saklemakal. [237] The Lakandon were aggressive, and their numbers were swelled by refugees from neighbouring indigenous groups fleeing Spanish domination. The massed Maya warriors launched an assault and all of the Spanish party received wounds in the frantic melee that followed, including Hernández de Córdoba. [86] This was the first recorded contact between Europeans and the Maya. Captain Vildivia was sacrificed with four of his companions, and their flesh was served at a feast. The following morning, ten large canoes rowed out to meet the Spanish ships, and over thirty Maya boarded the vessels and mixed freely with the Spaniards. [240] To prevent news of the Spanish advance reaching the inhabitants of the Lacandon area, the governor ordered the capture of three of San Mateo's community leaders, and had them sent under guard to be imprisoned in Huehuetenango. He left garrisons on the east coast, and subjugated the northeast of the peninsula. They decided to abandon their smallest ship, the brigantine, although it was purchased on credit from Governor Velásquez of Cuba. At Belma, Montejo gathered the leaders of the nearby Maya towns and instructed them to swear loyalty to the Spanish Crown. Colonial opposition to the Dominicans was such that the Dominicans were forced to flee Ciudad Real in fear of their lives. Rice, Prudence M. (2009a). [49], We came here to serve God and the King, and also to get rich. At sunrise, the Spanish saw that they had been surrounded by a sizeable army. Las Casas arrived in Ciudad Real with 16 fellow Dominicans on 12 March 1545. The Spanish overran Uspantán and again branded all surviving warriors as slaves. [182] The warriors began to mingle freely with the Spanish party and a scuffle then broke out; a dozen of the Spanish party were forced into canoes, and three of them were killed. [123], In 1524,[112] after the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, Hernán Cortés led an expedition to Honduras over land, cutting across Acalan in southern Campeche and the Itza kingdom in what is now the northern Petén Department of Guatemala. The Kowoj were located around the eastern Petén lakes. To the south of this the limestone rises to form the low chain of Puuc Hills, with a steep initial scarp running 160 kilometres (99 mi) east from the Gulf coast near Champotón, terminating some 50 kilometres (31 mi) from the Caribbean coast near the border of Quintana Roo. [200], A waterbourne assault was launched upon Kan Ek's capital on the morning of 13 March. [186] On 7 March, Captain Díaz de Velasco led a party ahead to the lake; he was accompanied by two Dominican friars and by AjKʼixaw, an Itza nobleman who had been taken prisoner on Díaz's previous expedition. [189], Chiquimula de la Sierra ("Chiquimula in the Highlands") was inhabited by Ch'orti' Maya at the time of the conquest. [235] The Chuj of San Mateo Ixtatán remained rebellious and resisted Spanish control for longer than their highland neighbours, resistance that was possible owing to their alliance with the lowland Lakandon Ch'ol to the north. The town was fortified with a wooden palisade and was surrounded by a moat. Clendinnen 2003, p. 14. [121] By 1524, Soconusco had been completely pacified by Alvarado and his forces. (2000). [1] Most of the peninsula is formed by a vast plain with few hills or mountains and a generally low coastline. [143] At Tzakahá the Spanish conducted a Roman Catholic mass under a makeshift roof;[144] this site was chosen to build the first church in Guatemala. [250] The third group, under Juan Díaz de Velasco, marched from Verapaz against the Itza of northern Petén. [29] Ecab, Uaymil, Chetumal all bordered on the Caribbean Sea. Francisco Antonio de Fuentes y Guzmán was a colonial Guatemalan historian of Spanish descent who wrote La Recordación Florida. [77] The Old World diseases brought with the Spanish and against which the indigenous New World peoples had no resistance were a deciding factor in the conquest; they decimated populations before battles were even fought. [199] With discontent growing among his men, Montejo took the drastic step of burning his ships; this strengthened the resolve of his troops, who gradually acclimatised to the harsh conditions of Yucatán. 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. [57] The caravels anchored about one league from the shore. The southeastern portion of the peninsula has a tropical rainy climate with a short dry season in winter. Cochuah was also in the eastern half of the peninsula; it was southwest of Ecab and northwest of Uaymil. De León renamed the city as San Pedro Sacatepéquez. [82], From Cozumel, the fleet looped around the north of the Yucatán Peninsula and followed the coast to the Tabasco River, which Cortés renamed as the Grijalva River in honour of the Spanish captain who had discovered it. [88], In 1511 the Spanish caravel Santa María de la Barca sailed along the Central American coast under the command of Pedro de Valdivia. [88] His aim was to subdue the rebellious Cristóbal de Olid, whom he had sent to conquer Honduras; Olid had, however, set himself up independently on his arrival in that territory. [89] One of these was built on a rocky outcrop near a lake and a river that fed into it. Zubiaur ordered his men to fire a volley that killed between 30 and 40 Itzas. [122] Due to the economic importance of cacao to the new colony, the Spanish were reluctant to move the indigenous inhabitants far from their established cacao orchards. They are separated by the Depresión Central, containing the drainage basin of the Grijalva River, featuring a hot climate with moderate rainfall. [246] On 28 February 1695, all three groups left their respective bases of operations to conquer the Lacandon. Montejo continued to the eastern Ekab province, reaching the east coast at Pole. [209] Mazariegos proceeded with the policy of moving the Indians into reducciones; this process was made easier by the much reduced indigenous population levels. [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. [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. [242] Governor Enriquez de Guzmán subsequently left San Mateo Ixtatán for Comitán in Chiapas, to enter the Lacandon region via Ocosingo. [69], In Guatemala the Spanish routinely fielded indigenous allies; at first these were Nahua brought from the recently conquered Mexico, later they also included Maya. The horse itself was not passive, and could buffet the enemy combatant. [87] It is likely that news of the piratical strangers in the Caribbean passed along the Maya trade routes – the first prophecies of bearded invaders sent by Kukulkan, the northern Maya feathered serpent god, were probably recorded around this time, and in due course passed into the books of Chilam Balam. Once ashore, the Spaniards clustered loosely together and advanced towards the city along a path among low, scrub-covered hillocks. [57] Although the location is not now known with certainty, it is believed that this first sighting of Yucatán was at Isla Mujeres. [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. The Uspantek and the Ixil were allies and in 1529 Uspantek warriors were harassing Spanish forces and the city of Uspantán was trying to foment rebellion among the K'iche'; the Spanish decided that military action was necessary. [91], In 1517, Francisco Hernández de Córdoba set sail from Cuba with a small fleet. By 1549, Spanish records show that only 80 tributaries were registered to be taxed, indicating a population drop in Conil of more than 90% in 21 years. 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. In the darkness the Spaniards could hear the movements of large numbers of Maya warriors. [82], These diseases swept through Yucatán in the 1520s and 1530s, with periodic recurrences throughout the 16th century. [196] The galeota carried 114 men and at least five artillery pieces. [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. [169] They arrived at the western end of Lake Petén Itzá to an enthusiastic welcome by the local Itza. In 1618 and in 1619 two unsuccessful Franciscan missions attempted the peaceful conversion of the still pagan Itza. [84] From Tabasco, Cortés continued to Cempoala in Veracruz, a subject city of the Aztec Empire,[84] and from there on to conquer the Aztecs. As Bartholomew explored the island with two boats, a large canoe approached from the west, apparently en route to the island. The rebellious eastern Maya were finally defeated in a single battle, in which twenty Spaniards and several hundred allied Maya were killed. By the time the Spanish Conquistadors arrived, most of the large Mayan sites had been all but abandoned for hundreds of years. [3] The Itza Maya and other lowland groups in the Petén Basin were first contacted by Hernán Cortés in 1525, but remained independent and hostile to the encroaching Spanish until 1697, when a concerted Spanish assault led by Martín de Urzúa y Arizmendi finally defeated the last independent Maya kingdom. The defeated Chontal Maya lords offered gold, food, clothing and a group of young women in tribute to the victors. [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. ", http://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/dcfichero_articulo?codigo=2775037, Sociedad de Geografía e Historia de Guatemala, "Material Culture and Colonial Indian Society in Southern Mesoamerica: The View from Coastal Chiapas, Mexico", "Consolidation of the Colonial Regime: Native Society in Western Central America", http://web.archive.org/web/20141002070945/http://www.chiapas.gob.mx/ubicacion, http://www.textosdeinvestigacion.unach.mx/ebooksbd/20140927_0954/, http://dialnet.unirioja.es/descarga/articulo/4502253.pdf, http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=I0SkqcbLubAC, http://www.uni-hamburg.de/mesoamerikanistik/eike_hinz/quanjobal.pdf, "Mapa y Descripción de la Montaña del Petén e Ytzá. In 1524, after the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, Hernán Cortés led an expedition to Honduras over land, cutting across Acalan in southern Campeche and the Itza kingdom in what is now the northern Petén Department of Guatemala. Lexile Levels 560L - 740L 750L - 890L 900L - 1040L . Mortality was high, with approximately 50% of the population of some Yucatec Maya settlements being wiped out. The Mam leader Canil Acab was killed and the surviving warriors fled to the hills. D'Avila continued southeast to Chetumal where he founded the Spanish town of Villa Real ("Royal Town"). [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. The expedition continued far enough to confirm the reality of the gold-rich empire,[80] sailing as far north as Pánuco River. ed (in es). [7] In contrast, the northeastern portion of the peninsula is characterised by forested swamplands. Alvarado wrote that they sent 4000 warriors to assist him, although the Kaqchikel recorded that they sent only 400. After six months of Spanish rule, Naabon Cupul was killed during a failed attempt to kill Montejo the Younger. The first Easter mass held in Guatemala was celebrated in the new church, during which high-ranking natives were baptised.[145]. [67], The 16th-century Spanish conquistadors were armed with one- and two-handed broadswords, lances, pikes, rapiers, halberds, crossbows, matchlocks and light artillery. His diplomatic overtures to the Champoton Kowoj were successful and they submitted to Spanish rule. Votes: 39 [69] The two ships sailed through a storm for two days and nights; Alaminos, the pilot, then steered a course for Florida, where they found good drinking water, although they lost one man to the local Indians and another drank so much water that he died. Godoy and Testera were soon in conflict and the friar was forced to abandon Champoton and return to central Mexico. Montejo the Younger was received in friendship by Namux Chel, the lord of the Chel province, at Dzilam. 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. Wise, Terence; McBride, Angus (2008) [1980]. [137] He rounded up some natives to be moved into colonial settlements, but met with armed Kejache resistance. [33] In the late 17th century, Spanish colonial records document hostilities between Maya groups in the lakes region, with the incursion of the Kowoj into former Yalain sites including Zacpeten on Lake Macanché and Ixlu on Lake Salpetén. "The Kowoj in Ethnohistorical Perspective". [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. In 1524, a band of ruthless Spanish conquistadores under the command of Pedro de Alvarado moved into present-day Guatemala. Monument in Mérida to Montejo the Elder and his son. [184], Martín de Ursúa was now convinced that Kan Ekʼ would not surrender peacefully, and he began to organise an all-out assault on Nojpetén. Highest temperatures are reached from April to June, while January is the coldest month; all Petén experiences a hot dry period in late August. They were now far from help and low on supplies; too many men had been lost and injured to sail all three ships back to Cuba, so one was abandoned. The Spanish called it Gran Cairo (literally "Great Cairo") due to its size and its pyramids. Many K'iche' and Tz'utujil also died; in this way the Kaqchikel destroyed all these peoples. The first Spanish conquest in the Americas was the island of Hispaniola. As the fleet returned to Cuba, the Spanish attacked Champotón to avenge the previous year's defeat of the Spanish expedition led by Hernández. [178] The fortress possessed formidable defences, and Gonzalo de Alvarado launched an assault on the weaker northern entrance. [105] At Cozumel Cortés heard rumours of bearded men on the Yucatán mainland, who he presumed were Europeans. Cochuah was also in the eastern half of the peninsula. [76], The fleet made its first landfall at Cozumel, and Cortés remained there for several days. [7] The native population of the northeastern portion of the peninsula was almost completely eliminated within fifty years of the conquest. [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 expedition became lost in the hills and came close to starvation before they captured a Maya boy who led them to safety. [40] His party followed the Grijalva upriver; near modern Chiapa de Corzo the Spanish party fought and defeated the Chiapanecos. A second church was built at B'atkab' to attend to over 100 K'ejache refugees who had been gathered there under the stewardship of a Spanish friar;[300] a further church was established at Tzuktok', overseen by another friar. In the southwest of the peninsula, the San Pedro River, the Candelaría River and the Mamantel River, which all form a part of the Gulf of Mexico drainage. [41] After failing to locate Cortés, the Alvarados returned to Guatemala. [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. In the decades before the Spanish invasion the Kaqchikel kingdom had been steadily eroding the kingdom of the K'iche'. 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. By the late 16th century, the reports of high fevers suggest the arrival of malaria in the region, and yellow fever was first reported in the mid-17th century, with a terse mention in the Chilam Balam of Chumayel for 1648. [180] By early September he had imposed temporary Spanish authority over the Ixil towns of Chajul and Nebaj. [20] A significant Maya presence remained in Petén into the Postclassic period after the abandonment of the major Classic period cities; the population was particularly concentrated near permanent water sources. [161], In 1531, Pedro de Alvarado finally took up the post of governor of Chiapa. All of the Spanish party received wounds, including Hernández de Córdoba. [115] This resistance was sufficiently tenacious that Montejo the Younger sent his cousin from Tabasco to Champoton to take command. [194], The Itzas' continued resistance had become a major embarrassment for the Spanish colonial authorities, and soldiers were despatched from Campeche to take Nojpetén once and for all. After this Spanish victory, the neighbouring Maya leaders all surrendered. 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. [185] Work on the road was redoubled and about a month after the battle at Chʼichʼ the Spanish arrived at the lakeshore, now supported by artillery. Again the inhabitants offered armed resistance before abandoning their town to the Spanish. [351], Works related to Historia de la Conquista de la Provincia de el Itza at Wikisource [295] Around 3 August García moved his entire army forward to Chunpich,[296] and by October Spanish soldiers had established themselves near the source of the San Pedro River. You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA. Most of their cities had fallen into ruin and were being overtaken by jungle. [43], Soconusco was an important communication route between the central Mexican highlands and Central America. [122] In May the expedition advanced to Sakalum, southwest of Bacalar, where there was a lengthy delay while they waited for reinforcements. The attack boat was rowed east towards the Itza capital; half way across the lake it encountered a large fleet of canoes spread in an arc across the approach to Nojpetén – Ursúa simply gave the order to row through them. [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. [34] At the time of Spanish contact the Yalain were allied with the Itza, an alliance cemented by intermarriage between the elites of both groups. Montejo discovered the thriving port city of Chaktumal (modern Chetumal). [193] Unable to reconcile the news with the loss of his men, and with appalling conditions in San Pedro Mártir, Amésqueta abandoned his unfinished fort and retreated to Guatemala. [117], Montejo the Younger next sent his cousin to Chauaca where most of the eastern lords greeted him in peace. In early 1541, Montejo the Younger joined his cousin in Champoton; he did not remain there long, and quickly moved his forces to Campeche. This tactic allowed the Spanish to break through the pass and storm the entrance of the city. Uaymil was in the southeast, and Chetumal was to the south of it; all three bordered on the Caribbean Sea. [40] The Spanish found that the Chamula Tzotzil had abandoned their lands and stripped them of food in an attempt to discourage the invaders. [115], After the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan fell to the Spanish in 1521, the Kaqchikel Maya of Iximche sent envoys to Hernán Cortés to declare their allegiance to the new ruler of Mexico, and the K'iche' Maya of Q'umarkaj may also have sent a delegation. Hernán Cortés was placed in command, and his crew included officers that would become famous conquistadors, including Pedro de Alvarado, Cristóbal de Olid, Gonzalo de Sandoval and Diego de Ordaz. Champoton was the last Spanish outpost in the Yucatán Peninsula; it was increasingly isolated and the situation there became difficult. [148], Around 3 August García moved his entire army forward to Chunpich,[149] and by October Spanish soldiers had established themselves near the source of the San Pedro River. [7] The area is crossed by low east–west oriented ridges of Cenozoic limestone and is characterised by a variety of forest and soil types; water sources include generally small rivers and low-lying seasonal swamps known as bajos. After two Kaqchikel messengers sent by Pedro de Alvarado were killed by the Tz'utujil,[155] the conquistadors and their Kaqchikel allies marched against the Tz'utujil. With the defeat of the Itza, the last independent and unconquered native kingdom in the Americas fell to the Spanish. [23], At the time of conquest, polities in the north included Mani, Cehpech and Chakan. [59] He organised a new expedition consisting of four ships and 260 men. Several musketeers were injured in the ensuing skirmish and, the Kejache retreated along a forest path without injury. At this point the Maya leader gave a shout and the Spanish party was ambushed by Maya warriors armed with spears, bows and arrows, and stones. [145] At the end of May three friars were assigned to join the Spanish force, accompanied by a lay brother. [203], At Campeche, a strong Maya force attacked the city, but was repulsed by the Spanish. [210] By now, Nuño de Guzmán was governor in Mexico, and he despatched Juan Enríquez de Guzmán to Chiapa as end-of-term judge over Mazariegos, and as alcalde mayor (a local colonial governor). Estimates of the number of kuchkabal in the northern Yucatán vary from sixteen to twenty-four. [143] With the capitulation of the K'iche' kingdom, various non-K'iche' peoples under K'iche' dominion also submitted to the Spanish. He was accompanied by the friendly Chel lord Namux Chel. D'Avila soon abandoned the new settlement and set off across the lands of the Kejache to Champotón, arriving there towards the end of 1530. [303] Kan Ek' 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. [180] They were also accompanied by about 40 Maya porters. [289], In mid-May 1695 García again marched southwards from Campeche,[289] with 115 Spanish soldiers and 150 Maya musketeers, plus Maya labourers and muleteers. [223] Godoy's attempt to subdue the Maya around Champoton was unsuccessful,[224] so Montejo the Younger sent his cousin to take command; his diplomatic overtures to the Champoton Kowoj were successful and they submitted to Spanish rule. [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. The Spanish stormed the wall, to find that the inhabitants had withdrawn under cover of torrential rain that had interrupted the battle. [117] 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 of the peninsula. [133] In order to counter Spanish encroachment into their territory, the local Maya maintained an uneasy friendship with British loggers operating in central Belize. [125] The Roman Catholic priests accompanying the expedition celebrated mass in the presence of the king of the Itza, who was said to be so impressed that he pledged to worship the cross and to destroy his idols. 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. [263] In response to the killing, a punitive expedition was launched, headed by Juan Matalbatz, a Q'eqchi' leader from Chamelco; the independent Indians captured by the Q'eqchi' expedition were taken back to Cobán and resettled in Santo Tomás Apóstol. He marched his men from Cahabón to Mopán, arriving on 25 February 1696. A second group of Franciscans would continue onwards independently to Nojpetén to make contact with the Itzas; it was led by friar Andrés de Avendaño, who was accompanied by another friar and a lay brother. Montejo continued to the eastern Ekab province. [206] They first travelled to Jiquipilas to meet up with a delegation from Zinacantan, who had asked for Spanish assistance against rebellious vassals; a small contingent of Spanish cavalry was enough to bring these back into line. 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. 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. His aim was to subdue the rebellious Cristóbal de Olid, whom he had sent to conquer Honduras, and who had set himself up independently in that territory. This conquest was hastened by their advanced technology and by the introduction of foreign disease’s that the Natives did not have resistance too. [105], The support ship eventually arrived from Santo Domingo, and Montejo used it to sail south along the coast, while he sent D'Avila over land. The Spanish introduced a number of Old World diseases previously unknown in the Americas, initiating devastating plagues that swept through the native populations. [154] On 3 August García advanced to Chunpich but tried to persuade Avendaño to stay behind to minister to the prisoners from Bʼukʼte. The indigenous population soon rebelled against excessive Spanish demands, but the rebellion was quickly put down in April 1530. [81] Cortés sent out messengers to them and was able to rescue the shipwrecked Gerónimo de Aguilar, who had been enslaved by a Maya lord. The newly acquired supplies would then be used in further expeditions to conquer and pacify still-independent regions, leading to a cycle of slave raids, trade for supplies, followed by further conquests and slave raids. [251] The Ch'ol of the Lacandon Forest were resettled in Huehuetenango, in the Guatemalan Highlands, in the early 18th century.[252]. The colonists quickly ran short of food and responded by taking up arms and riding against the Indians in search of food and slaves. [324] Kan Ek' was soon captured with help from the Yalain Maya ruler Chamach Xulu;[325] The Kowoj king was also soon captured, together with other Maya nobles and their families. In the far north of Petén the Mirador Basin forms another interior drainage region. This style of settlement can still be seen in the villages and towns of the area. [182] Alvarado entered Chiapas from Guatemala via the territory of the Acala Ch'ol; he was unable to locate Cortés, and his scouts eventually led him to Tecpan Puyumatlan (modern Santa Eulalia, Huehuetenango),[183] in a mountainous region near the territory of the Lakandon Ch'ol. [9] The largest lake is Lake Petén Itza, near the centre of the drainage basin; it measures 32 by 5 kilometres (19.9 by 3.1 mi). The Spanish, by now disappointed with the scarce pickings, decided to retreat to Coatzacoalcos in May 1524. [140] Almost a week later, on 18 February 1524,[141] a 30,000-strong K'iche' army confronted the Spanish army in the Quetzaltenango valley and was comprehensively defeated; many K'iche' nobles were among the dead. [128] The soldiers were sacrificed to the Maya gods. [105], The fleet made its first landfall at Cozumel; Maya temples were cast down and a Christian cross was put up on one of them. [274] In May the expedition advanced to Sakalum, where they waited for reinforcements. [83] In Tabasco, Cortés anchored his ships at Potonchán,[84] a Chontal Maya town. Clendinnen 2003, p. 20. The Spanish then continued to Ake, where they engaged in a major battle, which left more than 1,200 Maya dead. The Cupul Maya also rose up against the newly imposed Spanish domination, and also their opposition was quickly put down. [75], At Champotón, where the inhabitants had routed Hernández and his men, the fleet was approached by a small number of large war canoes, but the ships' cannon soon put them to flight. [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. [204] After waiting for d'Avila without result, Montejo sailed south as far as Honduras before turning around and heading back up the coast to finally meet up with his lieutenant at Xamanha. Shortly after their first expeditions to the region in the 16th century, the Spanish attempted to subjugate the Maya polities several times. In Matthew Restall and Florine Asselbergs. 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. Bartolomé de Fuensalida and Juan de Orbita were accompanied by some Christianised Maya. [71] The small fleet was stocked with crossbows, muskets, barter goods, salted pork and cassava bread. The Spanish Conquest and the Decline of the Maya. The Maya occupied a wide territory that included southeastern Mexico and northern Central America; this area included the entire Yucatán Peninsula, and all of the territory now incorporated into the modern countries of Guatemala and Belize, as well as the western portions of Honduras and El Salvador. Cortés left Tenochtitlan on 12 October 1524 with 140 Spanish soldiers, 93 of them mounted, 3,000 Mexican warrio… The Spanish founded a new town at nearby Tecpán Guatemala. [41] The Coxoh Maya held territory in the upper reaches of the Grijalva drainage, near the Guatemalan border,[42] and were probably a subgroup of the Tojolabal. [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. The Mopan River and the Macal River flow through Belize and join to form the Belize River, which empties into the Caribbean Sea. "The Highland Maya". 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.The Spanish conquest of the Yucatán Peninsula was hindered by its politically fragmented state. [322] With the defeat of the Itza, the last independent and unconquered native kingdom in the Americas fell to the European colonisers. [29] In the southern portion of the peninsula, a number of polities occupied the Petén Basin. [38] Those areas of the peninsula that experience damper conditions, particularly those possessing swamplands, became rapidly depopulated after the conquest with the introduction of malaria and other waterborne parasites. "The Lowland Maya, from the Conquest to the Present". Cortés left Tenochtitlanon 12 October 1524 with 140 Spanish soldiers, 93 of them mounted, 3,000 Mexi… [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. From there Juan Ponce de Leon conquered Puerto Rico and Diego Velazquez took Cuba. [50] It is likely that news of the piratical strangers in the Caribbean passed along the Maya trade routes – the first prophecies of bearded invaders sent by Kukulkan, the northern Maya feathered serpent god, were probably recorded around this time, and in due course passed into the books of Chilam Balam. The fleet sailed south from Cozumel, along the east coast of the peninsula. [46] In the first decades after the discovery of the new lands, the Spanish colonised the Caribbean and established a centre of operations on the island of Cuba. In 1530 D'Avila established Salamanca de Acalán as a base from which to launch new attempts to conquer Yucatán. [214] The Dominicans soon saw the need to reestablish themselves in Ciudad Real, and the hostilities with the colonists were calmed. The politically fragmented state of the Yucatán Peninsula at the time of conquest hindered the Spanish invasion, since there was no central political authority to be overthrown. [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. [52] The ship was sailing to Santo Domingo from Darién to inform the colonial authorities there of ongoing conflict between conquistadors Diego de Nicuesa and Vasco Nuñez de Balboa in Darién. [178] By now he only had 90 soldiers plus labourers and porters. [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. He sent his brother Bartholomew to scout the island. The ship foundered upon a reef somewhere off Jamaica. [36] In the centuries preceding the arrival of the Spanish the K'iche' had carved out a small empire covering a large part of the western Guatemalan Highlands and the neighbouring Pacific coastal plain. Their capital was Nojpetén, an island city upon Lake Petén Itzá; it has developed into the modern town of Flores, which is the capital of the Petén department of Guatemala. [186], There are no direct sources describing the conquest of the Chajoma by the Spanish but it appears to have been a drawn-out campaign rather than a rapid victory. [75] Antón de Alaminos once again served as pilot. This strategy resulted in the gradual depopulation of the forest, simultaneously converting it into a wilderness refuge for those fleeing Spanish domination, both for individual refugees and for entire communities. Clendinnen 1989, 2003, p. 21. [342], The Tlaxcalan allies of the Spanish wrote their own accounts of the conquest; these included a letter to the Spanish king protesting at their poor treatment once the campaign was over. 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. [92] Cortés accepted an invitation from Kan Ekʼ to visit Nojpetén (also known as Tayasal), and crossed to the Maya city with 20 Spanish soldiers while the rest of his army continued around the lake to meet him on the south shore. The Spanish could not pursue them because 300 canoes sent by the Kaqchikels had not yet arrived. [322] After the battle the surviving defenders swam across to the mainland and melted away into the forests, leaving the Spanish to occupy the abandoned town. [5], The Petén region consists of densely forested low-lying limestone plain featuring karstic topography. 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 Peninsula, very little gold had been found. A contemporary account described the slaughter of over 400 allied Maya, as well as livestock. 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. [209] Mazariegos entered into protracted three-month negotiations with the Spanish settlers in Coatzacoalcos (Espíritu Santo) and San Cristóbal de los Llanos. Before the conquest, Maya territory contained a number of competing kingdoms. A number of local Maya men and women had also been killed, and the attackers burned the town. [12] This dense forest covers northern Petén and Belize, most of Quinatana Roo, southern Campeche and a portion of the south of Yucatán State. The Spanish returned to the Kaqchikel capital on 23 July 1524 and on 27 July Pedro de Alvarado declared Iximche as the first capital of Guatemala, Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala ("St. James of the Knights of Guatemala").[154]. [198], Montejo garrisoned Xelha with 40 soldiers and posted 20 more at nearby Pole. [83] Cortés left Tenochtitlan on 12 October 1524 with 140 Spanish soldiers, 93 of them mounted, 3,000 Mexican warriors, 150 horses, a herd of pigs, artillery, munitions and other supplies. The Spanish party retreated in defensive formation to the safety of the ships. [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. Iberian Peninsula and South America (1762–63), Banda Oriental and Rio Grande do Sul (1762–63), History of the Spanish Conquest of Yucatan and of the Itzas, "The Spanish Conquest of Yucatán (1526–46)", "Los estilos tecnológicos de la cerámica Postclásica con engobe de la región de los lagos de Petén", "Gonzalo Guerrero, primer mexicano por voluntad propia", "Domingo Fajardo: vicario y defensor de indios en Petén. A large quantity of defenders had gathered along the shore of Nojpetén and on the roofs of the city. [102] With discontent growing among his men, Montejo took the drastic step of burning his ships; this strengthened the resolve of his troops, who gradually acclimatised to the harsh conditions of Yucatán. To the north of the lakes region bajos become more frequent, interspersed with forest. The Kowoj were located to the east of the Itza, around the eastern Petén lakes: Lake Salpetén, Lake Macanché, Lake Yaxhá and Lake Sacnab. It is estimated that 88% of them died during the first ten years of colonial rule owing to a combination of disease and war. Maya civilization flourished for many centuries. [192] At San Pedro Martír he received news of an Itza embassy to Mérida in December 1695, and an apparent formal surrender of the Itza to Spanish authority. In 1530 d'Avila established Salamanca de Acalán as a base from which to launch new attempts to conquer Yucatán. [253][nb 5] Paradoxically, it was simultaneously known as Verapaz ("True Peace"). [106], At Champotón, the fleet was approached by a small number of large war canoes, but the ships' cannon soon put them to flight. [334] Some indigenous elites such as the Xajil Kaqchikel noble family did manage to maintain a level of status into the colonial period. The Spanish named the headland Cape Catoche, after some words spoken by the Maya leader, which sounded to the Spanish like cones catoche. [101], Montejo garrisoned Xelha with 40 soldiers under his second-in-command, Alonso d'Avila, and posted 20 more at nearby Pole. [205] This served as a base of operations that allowed the Spanish to extend their control towards the Ocosingo valley. [266] The provinces of Cupul, Cochua, Sotuta, Tazes, Uaymil, Chetumal and Chikinchel united in an effort to drive the invaders from the peninsula; the uprising lasted four months. Xocolo became infamous among the Dominican missionaries for the practice of witchcraft by its inhabitants. [41] Native resistance to the new nucleated settlements took the form of the flight of the indigenous inhabitants into inaccessible regions such as the forest or joining neighbouring Maya groups that had not yet submitted to the Spanish. [143] Pedro de Alvarado led 60 cavalry, 150 Spanish infantry and an unspecified number of Kaqchikel warriors. They were decapitated, and the heads were displayed in the plazas of towns throughout the colonial Partido de la Sierra in what is now Mexico's Yucatán state. [63], The small fleet continued for six more days in fine weather, followed by four stormy days. [28], At the time of conquest, polities in the northern Yucatán peninsula included Mani, Cehpech and Chakan;[25] further east along the north coast were Ah Kin Chel, Cupul, and Chikinchel. The soldiers caught up with him just before Tipuj, but he was determined to reach Nojpetén. [210], After the battle of Quetzaltepeque, Villa Real was still short on food and Mazariegos was ill; he retreated to Copanaguastla against the protests of the town council, which was left to defend the fledgling colony. Unknown to Mazariegos, the king had already issued an order that the settlements of San Cristóbal de los Llanos be transferred to Pedro de Alvarado. Works related to Recordación Florida at Wikisource, Pedro de Alvarado describing the approach to Quetzaltenango in his 3rd letter to Hernán Cortés, Exploration of the Yucatán coast, 1517–1519, Preparations for conquest of the Highlands, 1522–1523, Hernán Cortés in the Maya lowlands, 1524–25, Fringes of empire: Belize, 16th-17th centuries, Conquest of the Maya Highlands, 1524–1526, Kaqchikel alliance and conquest of the Tz'utujil, 1524, Reconnaissance of the Chiapas Highlands, 1524, Pedro de Alvarado in the Chiapas Highlands, 1525, Central and eastern Guatemalan Highlands, 1525–1532, Conquest of the Chiapas Highlands, 1527-1547, Founding of Ciudad Real, Chiapa, 1531–1535, Establishment of the Dominicans in Chiapa, 1545–1547, Francisco de Montejo and Alonso d'Avila, Yucatán 1531–35, San Marcos: Province of Tecusitlán and Lacandón, 1533, Campaigns in the Cuchumatanes and Lacandon Forest, Western Cuchumatanas and Lacandon Forest, 1529–1686, Conquest and settlement in northern Yucatán, 1540–46, Franciscan expeditions, September 1695 – January 1696. [41] In the early years of conquest, encomienda rights effectively meant rights to pillage and round up slaves, usually in the form of a group of mounted conquistadores launching a lightning slave raid upon an unsuspecting population centre. [47] By August 1521 the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan had fallen to the Spanish. At Quetzaltepeque a lengthy battle was fought between the Tzeltal Maya and the Spanish, resulting in the deaths of a number of Spanish. There is no such thing as ‘religious’ change Once again, the encomiendas of Chiapa were transferred to new owners. [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. [132], Following these killings, Spanish garrisons were stationed in several towns in southern Yucatán, and rewards were offered for the whereabouts of AjKʼin Pʼol. The ships finally made port in Cuba, where Hernández de Cordóba wrote a report to Governor Velázquez describing the voyage, the cities, the plantations, and, most importantly, the discovery of gold. Upon his release, he met up with his son in Xicalango, Tabasco, and they then both rejoined d'Avila at Champotón. These cave rooves are subject to collapse forming deep sinkholes; if the bottom of the cave is deeper than the groundwater level then a cenote is formed. [12] The climate is divided into wet and dry seasons, with the rainy season lasting from June to December,[15] although these seasons are not clearly defined in the south;[16] with rain occurring through most of the year. [52] Many of the Spanish were already experienced soldiers who had previously campaigned in Europe. [62], The crossbows and early firearms were unwieldy and deteriorated rapidly in the field, often becoming unusable after a few weeks of campaigning due to the effects of the climate. [94], Over the next fifteen days the fleet followed the coastline west, and then south. This battle marked the final conquest of the northern portion of the Yucatán Peninsula. They found some and brought it back to the ships, although it sickened those who drank it. [82], After Zaculeu fell to the Spanish, the Ixil and Uspantek Maya were sufficiently isolated to evade immediate Spanish attention. The new settlement immediately suffered a drop in population, but although the Amatique Toquegua were reported extinct before 1613 in some sources, Mercedarian friars were still attending to them in 1625. the Spanish arrival at Iximche on 12 April rather than 14 April) based on vague dating in Spanish primary records. 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 European conquerors. The Spanish campaign, sometimes termed “The Spanish Conquest of Yucatán,” would prove to be a lengthy and dangerous exercise for the invaders from the outset, and it would take some 170 years an… [337] Gonzalo de Alvarado y Chávez wrote an account that mostly supports that of Pedro de Alvarado. The Maya governor of Oxkutzcab, Fernando Kamal, set out with 150 Maya archers to track the warleader down; they succeeded in capturing the Itza captain and his followers, together with silverware from the looted Sakalum church and items belonging to Mirones. Hernández died soon after from his wounds. During the dry season, rainfall averages 300 millimetres (12 in); in the wet season this increases to an average 800 to 900 millimetres (31 to 35 in). The Spanish regrouped in a defensive formation and forced passage to the shore, where their discipline collapsed and a frantic scramble for the boats ensued, leaving the Spanish vulnerable to the pursuing Maya warriors who waded into the sea behind them. They wore padded cotton armour to protect themselves. [62] They were led amongst large buildings until they stood before a blood-caked altar, where many of the city's inhabitants crowded around. In … Ten days later the Spanish declared war on the Kaqchikel. The king of the Itza, cited Itza prophecy and said the time was not yet right. [6] Bacalar Lake empties into Chetumal Bay. [203] Montejo the Younger founded Salamanca de Xicalango as a base of operations. [311], A Guatemalan expedition against the Itza set out from Cahabón in early 1696. [28] The Itza spoke a variety of Yucatecan Maya. [22], The first large Maya cities developed in the Petén Basin in the far south of the Yucatán Peninsula as far back as the Middle Preclassic (c. 600–350 BC),[23] and Petén formed the heartland of the ancient Maya civilization during the Classic period (c. AD 250–900). [270], The leaders of Xocolo and Amatique, backed by the threat of Spanish action, persuaded a community of 190 Toquegua to settle on the Amatique coast in April 1604. A number of lords submitted peacefully, including the ruler of the Xiu Maya. 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. [142] This battle exhausted the K'iche' militarily and they asked for peace, and invited Pedro de Alvarado into their capital Q'umarkaj. Those who managed to retreat down the neighbouring valley were ambushed by Spanish cavalry who had been posted to block the exit from the cave, the survivors were captured and brought back to the city. [70] The two captured Maya survived the voyage to Cuba and were interrogated; they swore that there was abundant gold in Yucatán. [307] They were also accompanied by about 40 Maya porters. [153] The Spanish only stayed briefly before continuing to Atitlan and the Pacific coast. [109] During a colonial power struggle in Tabasco, the elder Montejo was imprisoned for a time. Maya warriors wore body armour in the form of quilted cotton that had been soaked in salt water to toughen it; the resulting armour compared favourably to the steel armour worn by the Spanish. Annual precipitation is high, varying from a mean of 1,198 millimetres (47.2 in) in the northeast to 2,007 millimetres (79.0 in) in central Petén. 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. Mazariegos had arrived with a mandate to establish a new colonial province of Chiapa in the Chiapas Highlands. MINEDUC (2001). [52] There were just twenty survivors from the wreck, including Captain Valdivia, Gerónimo de Aguilar and Gonzalo Guerrero. [341] Dominican friar Bartolomé de las Casas wrote a highly critical account of the Spanish conquest of the Americas and included accounts of some incidents in Guatemala. In the ten years after the fall of Zaculeu various Spanish expeditions crossed into the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes and engaged in the gradual and complex conquest of the Chuj and Q'anjob'al. The eastern Maya were defeated in a single battle, which marked the final conquest of the northern portion of the Yucatán Peninsula. [116] But Cortés' allies in Soconusco soon informed him that the K'iche' and the Kaqchikel were not loyal, and were harassing Spain's allies in the region. [319] The galeota, commanded by Ursúa, rowed east with 108 soldiers; half way across the lake it encountered a large fleet of canoes blocking the approach to Nojpetén – and simply rowed through them. One Spaniard was killed and fifty were wounded in the ensuing battle, including Grijalva. Guerrero became completely Mayanised and by 1514 Guerrero had achieved the rank of nacom, a war leader who served against Nachan Chan's enemies. [13], The climate becomes progressively drier towards the north of the peninsula. [255], In 1555 Spanish friar Domingo de Vico offended a local Ch'ol ruler and was killed by the Acala Ch'ol and their Lakandon allies. [225], Montejo the Younger's cousin met the Canul Maya at Chakan, not far from T'ho. [129] After their sacrifice, the Itza took Delgado, cut his heart out and dismembered him; they displayed his head on a stake with the others. The colony of Guatemala at this time consisted only of the highlands and Pacific plain. Montejo the Younger was received in friendship by the lord of the Chel province. Maya states did not maintain standing armies; warriors were mustered by local officials who reported back to appointed warleaders. The mounted conquistador was highly manoeuvrable and allowed groups of combatants to quickly displace themselves across the battlefield. Sharer and Traxler 2006, pp. The Montejos founded a new Spanish town at Dzilam, although the Spanish suffered hardships there. [161] The Mazariegos family managed to establish a power base in the local colonial institutions and, in 1535, they succeeded in having San Cristóbal de los Llanos declared a city, with the new name of Ciudad Real. [151][nb 2] The Kaqchikel kings provided native soldiers to assist the conquistadors against continuing K'iche' resistance and to help with the defeat of the neighbouring Tz'utujil kingdom. 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. [21] The highland K'iche' dominated the Pacific coastal plain of western Guatemala. [191] In the early hours of the morning he ordered a retreat by moonlight. While he set up a fortress at Campeche, he sent his son Francisco Montejo the Younger inland with an army. [107], Montejo was appointed alcalde mayor (a local colonial governor) of Tabasco in 1529, and pacified that province with the aid of his son, also named Francisco de Montejo. Grijalva put into Havana five months after he had left.[105]. The nervous Sajkabʼchen sentries feared that the residents were returning en masse and discharged their muskets at them, with both groups then retreating. [226] The Spanish founded a village nearby at Candacuchex in April that year, renaming it as San Marcos.[227]. [97] In 1527, he left Spain with 400 men in four ships, with horses, small arms, cannon and provisions. 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. In Prudence M. Rice and Don S. Rice (eds.). In 1531 the Spanish moved their base of operations to Campeche, where they repulsed a significant Maya attack. Learn more about the Maya here. They established themselves nearby in two indigenous villages, the old site of Villa Real de Chiapa and Cinacantlán.