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Title: History of the Spanish Conquest of Yucatan and of the Itzas - Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and - Ethnology, Hard University. Vol. VII.
Author: Means, Philip Ainsworth, 1892-1944
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the Spanish Conquest of Yucatan and of the Itzas - Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and - Ethnology, Hard University. Vol. VII." ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

Transcriber's notes:
1. Page scan source:
2.  [=a] represents a with a macron above it.
3.  The "open o" symbol ( like a reversed "c") is used here to
    represent the sound of [ts] (following Gates); this is the
    unicode Ɔ and ɔ.
4.  [va], [vi] represents "a", "i" with an caron.
5.  Errata have been corrected in the text as indicated.

                                 OF THE


                                Vol. VII

                           *   *   *   *   *

                           OF YUCATAN AND OF
                               THE ITZAS

                         PHILIP AINSWORTH MEANS

                           *   *   *   *   *

                            Cambridge, Mass.
                        Published by the Museum

                            Copyright, 1917,
            By the Peabody Museum of American Archæology and
                     Ethnology, Harvard University

                 The University Press, Cambridge, Mass.


Substitute the accompanying page for the preliminary Note on Page iii.

Page 25. For the last two lines read "Cozumel. They also visited las
Mugers which takes its name from the female idols found there by the
Spaniards. This."

Page 58, note. For "may be" read "was."

Page 104, line 2 and elsewhere. For "Arumendi" read "Arismendi."

Page 180, line 30. For "was destroyed" read "were devastated."


This Paper is the result of work carried on by Mr. Means as a graduate
student in the Division of Anthropology during the years 1915-1917. It
consists mainly of translations of early Spanish books and manuscripts.

It is gratifying to note that this is the first publication by the
Museum based upon the large collection of photographic reproductions of
early manuscripts from Mexico and Central America brought together by
Professor W. E. Gates of Point Loma, California, and presented to the
Museum by Mr. Charles P. Bowditch. Among these manuscripts is
Avendaño's account of his journey to Peten, the greater part of which
is included in the present paper. The original of this manuscript is in
the British Museum. Cano's account of a trip to Guatemala is also given
here. This manuscript is in the Brinton Collection at the University of
Pennsylvania. It is through the kindness of Dr. George B. Gordon,
Director of that Museum, and of Miss Adela C. Breton, who copied the
manuscript, that it is possible to publish it at this time. The
Avendaño and the Cano manuscripts were translated by Mr. Bowditch and
Señor G. Rivera.

                                       CHARLES C. WILLOUGHBY


In the library of the Peabody Museum of Harvard University there is an
invaluable collection of photographs of old manuscripts relating to
Middle America. These photographs, made by Professor William E. Gates
of Point Loma, California, were given to the Peabody Museum by Charles
P. Bowditch, Esq., of Boston. One of the volumes contains a
photographic reproduction of an original manuscript entitled _Relación
de las dos Entradas que hizé a Peten Ytza_. The author, Fray Andrés de
Avendaño y Loyola, of the Order of Saint Francis, will receive much of
our attention later. Fortunately Mr. Bowditch and Sr. Guillermo Rivera
have deciphered and translated the crabbed old text, so that we have at
hand an account of the subjection of the Itzas of Tayasal, or Peten
Itza, which is not only invaluable as being the work of an eyewitness
of that subjection, but which also is filled with a rare charm. It was
largely with a view to bringing this old manuscript to the attention of
students that Mr. Bowditch and Dr. Tozzer asked me to work it up into a
study of the Itzas of Tayasal. At the same time we must not neglect to
notice here the translation, made by Mr. Bowditch and Sr. Rivera, of
another inedited work on the same subject. I refer to the account by
Fray Alonso Cano, which will be of great use to us later.

Though Avendaño and Cano are, so to speak, the prime reasons for the
writing of this study, they have been supplemented in no inconsiderable
degree by two other early Spanish writers on the history of Yucatan and
its people, Diego Cogolludo and Juan de Villagutierre y Sotomayor. A
few comments on the works of these two authors will later prove useful
to the reader.

Though Villagutierre's Spanish style is far superior to that of such
writers as Fernando Montesinos and Antonio de la Calancha, it is,
nevertheless, atrocious. Although he wrote about 1700, Villagutierre's
style is excessively archaic; his grammatical construction can hardly
be called construction at all, so formless and ambiguous is it.
Villagutierre never hesitates to write several long sentences without a
single main verb between them, nor does he often refrain from going on
and on for a page or so without using a period. In the use of capitals
he is most whimsical; usually he has them when they are called for, but
he has many that are out of place as well.

The style of Cogolludo, on the other hand, is very good, and that, be
it noted, despite the fact that Cogolludo wrote prior to 1688. One
remarks with considerable surprise that in several cases Villagutierre
and Cogolludo use almost the same words. For example, in speaking of
the visit which Cortes made to the island of Tayasal, Cogolludo says:
"... _y aun la ida de Cortes se tuvo por ossadia, y demasiada
confianza...._" Villagutierre, in the same connection says: "... _que
lo tenian a grandissima temeridad, y ossadia, y por demasiada
confianza...._" This is an interesting point, and perhaps it is
significant that Cogolludo's book was published in 1688, whereas that
of Villagutierre was not brought out until 1701. It is to be noted that
Cogolludo, the earlier writer, uses only two epithets, and that
Villagutierre, the later writer, uses the same two, plus a new one of
his own. I know of two other cases where equally close and significant
similarity exists between the two. It is possible, then, that
Villagutierre copied (not to say plagiarized) the work of Cogolludo
without giving credit for it. But the important point for us in this
matter does not concern the personal integrity of Villagutierre. Rather
does the importance of the matter lie in this: if Villagutierre was
acquainted with the history of Yucatan by Cogolludo to such a degree
that he frequently borrowed whole phrases from it, he must have had a
very good reason for diverging widely now and again from the version of
events given by Cogolludo. Such a reason could only be supplied by the
fact that Villagutierre possessed information which he regarded as
superior to and more official than that of Cogolludo. Therefore, since
in several instances (as in his account of the events leading up to the
visit of Cortes to Tayasal) Villagutierre occasionally departs from the
footsteps of Cogolludo, we may safely assume that he was at once more
critical and better informed than the latter, whom, however, he valued
enough to be willing to draw from his work much of his information and
even some of his phraseology.

The virtues and defects of Avendaño and of Cano are less subtle; so
much so, indeed, that it would be absurd to attempt a criticism of them
here. The reader will have ample opportunity to see their qualities for
himself in the body of the book.

A word as to the method adopted in translating is in order. In the
various passages taken from Cogolludo and Villagutierre I have
preserved the spelling and capitalization of proper names that appear
in the text. All passages from Avendaño and Cano are from the
translations made by Mr. Bowditch and Sr. Rivera.

All the other works used are so well known that comment on them is

Finally, I wish to express my gratitude to Mr. Bowditch and to Dr.
Tozzer, both of whom have spent much time and thought in going over the
manuscript of this work. Among the others who have shown me kindness
and courtesy during the preparation of this study are Mr. Putnam of the
Library of Congress; Dr. George Byron Gordon of the University Museum,
Philadelphia; Professor Holmes of the United States National Museum;
Dr. Edward Luther Stevenson of the Hispanic Society of America, New
York; and, lastly, my mother, Mrs. James Means. These and others have
generously given me much of their time and information.

                                            PHILIP AINSWORTH MEANS

February 23, 1917

                           TABLE OF CONTENTS

                               CHAPTER I

                      AND OF THE ITZAS, 1445

  Migratory period
  The Golden Age or Old Empire of the Maya
  The Colonization period
  Transitional period
  Renaissance or League period
  The period of the Toltec mercenaries
      Note: Cogolludo's account of the early history of the Mayas and
        of some of their customs

                               CHAPTER II

             THE ITZA STATE DURING THE PERIOD OF 1445-1697

  The significance of the Itzas
  The location of Peten or Tayasal
  Description of Peten and its surroundings
  The lake neither rises nor falls
  The temples of Tayasal described by Avendaño
  The palace of Canek, Chief of the Itzas
  The districts of Peten Itza
  Extent of the Itza dominion under the Chief Canek
  Further information about the region
  The Itzas described

                              CHAPTER III


  The first Spaniards in Yucatan
  Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba, 1517
  Juan de Grijalva and others, 1518
  Cortes in Mexico, 1519
  Villagutierre's account of the entrada of Cortes, 1524-1525
  Cortes starts for Honduras
  Cortes arrives at Izancanac
  Description of a large town
  The Spaniards suspect treachery
  The Indians explain why their town was deserted
  Cortes takes leave of them in a friendly spirit
  The deer hunt
  The army of Cortes proceeds on its way
  The lake
  They capture an Indian
  The Indian is sent to Tayasal
  Some Indians come to Cortes from Tayasal
  Canek himself comes and is courteously received
  Canek hears Mass and promises to put away his idols
  Cortes goes to Tayasal with Canek
  The Itzas give Cortes news of Olid
  Cortes takes leave of Canek, leaving Morzillo
  Idols not burnt
  Cortes arrives in Honduras
  Comparison of Villagutierre with other authorities
  Canek's attitude toward Cortes

                               CHAPTER IV


  Francisco de Montejo and his son
  Montejo's preparations and sacrifices
  He sets out
  Montejo and his men go along the shore of Yucatan
  Description of the campaign
  Dávila and Vazquez search vainly for gold in the region of Chetemal
  Foundation of Villa Real de Chetemal
  Hardships of those who were at Chichen
  Continual misfortunes
  Chichen Itza and Villa Real both deserted
  Dávila goes to Honduras
  The Elder Montejo goes to Tabasco in 1535
  The Franciscans enter Yucatan, 1535
  Renewal of the subjection of Yucatan by Montejo, 1537
  Hostility of the Indians
  The Elder Montejo's instructions to his son
  The Younger Montejo founds Campeche, 1540-1541
  Tutul Xiu of Mani offers his aid
  Foundation of Merida and of Valladolid, 1542-1543
  Bishop Bartolomé de las Casas arrives in Yucatan

                               CHAPTER V


  The name Canek
  Increased power of the Itzas
  The mock embassy from Tayasal
  The mock embassy considered to be a rebellion
  A new period in the history of the Itzas
  Fuensalida and Orbita
  Preliminaries to the departure of the Padres
  Briceño's opposition
  The Padres set out
  Their route
  The journey up the river from Tipu
  Arrival at Tipu
  Events at the village of Tipu
  The friendliness of Carrillo and the Indians
  Don Christoval Na, Cacique of the Indians of Tipu
  Francisco Cumux goes with an embassy to Canek
  Cumux returns from Canek with two chiefs of Tayasal
  The two chiefs are cordially received
  The Padres prepare to travel to Tayasal
  Delays; the Padres' anger
  The return to Tipu
  All precautions taken, they set out once more
  Lake Yaxha is crossed; arrival at Lake Zacpeten
  The Padres camp beside Lake Peten
  The Padres arrive at Tayasal and are well received
  Mass is said
  Fuensalida preaches; Orbita destroys an idol
  The Padres urge the Itzas to be Christians
  They refuse because the appointed time has not come
  After a few days the Padres leave Tayasal

                               CHAPTER VI

                    EVENTS THAT FOLLOWED, 1621-1624

  Padre Fray Diego Delgado's offer to christianize the Itzas
  Delgado travels to the convent of Xecchacan
  He is well provided with guides and other Indians
  The proposal of Mirones
  Mirones and the Governor make an agreement
  Mirones raises an army for his entrada
  Mirones arrives at Zaclun
  The wanton and foolish oppression caused by Mirones
  Delgado opposes Mirones
  Delgado determines to anticipate Mirones
  Delgado's message to Canek
  Delgado receives permission from Canek to come to Tayasal
  The treachery of the Itzas
  Delgado and others are put to death
  Mirones sends Ek after Delgado
  Revolt of the Indians
  An epidemic of apostasy; the third phase of the conquest of the Itzas

                              CHAPTER VII

                      FROM THAT COUNTRY, 1694-1695

  The Indian tribes of Guatemala
  Account of the Cakchiquel and of the Quiché
  The government and the cities of the Cakchiquel and of the Quiché
  Spanish conquest
  Gallegos and Delgado
  The Indians are friendly to them
  The route taken by the two Padres
  Several villages founded
  The Dominicans and the Franciscans
  Struggles between the Dominicans and the Indians
  The inception of the plan to subdue the Itzas, 1689
  Soberanis ordered to coöperate
  Ursua to succeed Soberanis in office
  A letter from Ursua y Arizmendi to the King of the Spains
  The King grants all that Ursua asks
  President Barrios aids in the undertaking
  Arrangements for the entrada; supplies, etc.
  The voluntary contributions
  Quarrels between Soberanis and the Bishop of Yucatan
  President Barrios decides to join the entrada in person
  The expedition sets out from Guatemala City
  Events at Huehuetenango
  Ursua's activities
  An army sets out from Yucatan for the Montaña
  Padres Cano and Avendaño y Loyola
  Cano's account of the entrada from Guatemala
  The route followed by Cano
  The Chols and the Mopanes
  From Mopan to the lake
  Cano advises return
  Explanations of their withdrawal sent to Guatemala
  The decree of the General Assembly
  Quarrels among the soldiers and the officials
  The writers of the decree punished

                              CHAPTER VIII

                         OF TAYASAL, 1695-1699

  Preparations for the journey
  The start
  Indian singers
  Arrival at Cauich
  Departure from Cauich
  Aguada of Hobon Ox; Chunzalam, Vecanxan
  Nohhalal, Th[=a] Ayn, Sucte
  Ix Kata-Kal
  Hardships suffered by the Padres
  Oppol; a bridge built across a river
  Deserted village of Temchay
  Lack of supplies
  Paredes seizes some farms
  Fifty-one Indians of Buete surrender
  Avendaño argues with Paredes about his plundering
  The royal decrees are mentioned by Avendaño
  Paredes promises to return the plunder
  Paredes fails to keep his word
  Tzucthok, once before reduced, had rebelled
  The Padres endeavor to instruct the Indians
  The captains promise to give warning before fighting
  A skirmish
  The avarice of Paredes
  Chunpich is reached
  Zuviaur goes to the Itzas; the Padres return
  Further troubles
  The Padres determine to get to the Itzas some other way
  Letter to the captains
  Governor Ursua vexed by the captains' letter
  Return to Merida

                               CHAPTER IX


  Orders of the Governor
  Departure of Avendaño
  The same route followed as before; Batcab is reached
  The hardships of the journey
  Approaching the Itzas
  Tan Xuluc Mul; temples on a great height
  Chakan Itza
  The Chakan Itzas
  Treatment of the natives
  The Padres please other Indians by means of little gifts
  The Padres renew their march
  Indians arrive from Tayasal
  Bravery of Avendaño
  The landing at Tayasal; the idol
  At the temple
  The Padres read the letters
  The curiosity of the Itzas
  A baptism performed
  Other Caciques arrive
  The Caciques in war paint
  Avendaño makes inquiries as to their manner of reckoning time
  Avendaño explains the prophecies
  Objection of Covoh
  Discussion with Canek and others
  Friendliness of Canek
  Demonstrations against Canek
  Leniency promised by the Padres
  Avendaño takes steps to protect the Itzas from further molestation
  The letter of counsel
  Before leaving Tayasal, Avendaño shames Covoh
  The hatred of the Chakan Itzas for the Padres increases
  Canek helps the Padres to escape
  Paredes' stupidity; the plot of the Chakan Itzas
  The Chakan Itzas are foiled by God
  The departure of the Padres from Tayasal
  Avendaño goes eastward to Yalain
  Trouble with soldiers
  The Padres suffer hardships and lose their way
  Hard travel in the wilderness for fifteen days
  Miracle of the bent branch
  An uncomfortable night
  Great want of food
  The situation grows still worse
  They find some miraculous honey
  Two Padres go ahead
  A desperate situation
  They find some edible thistles
  Some hills are reached
  Deserted buildings
  False hopes; further hardships
  They face starvation
  A sign from our Lady of the Apparition
  They climb some high hills
  Avendaño left alone
  The miracle of the sapote
  What had happened to the Indians whom Avendaño sent off
  The messenger from Tayasal
  Reasons for Avendaño's distrust

                               CHAPTER X

                      BY THE SPANIARDS, 1695-1696

  The expedition from Guatemala reaches Cahabon
  Preliminary movements and plans
  The fate of Diaz de Velasco; Amezquita follows him
  Conclusion of the subjection of the Itzas begun
  Paredes is ordered to march to Los Dolores
  Canek's ambassador, Can, arrives at Merida
  Zuviaur goes to the lake
  Ursua determines to take vigorous measures
  Lawsuits between Soberanis and Ursua
  Captain Paredes at Tzucthok
  Captain Hariza at Tipu
  The Cacique Cintanek's villages
  Can's report
  The commands of King Charles II
  Soberanis and Ursua in agreement at last
  The part to be taken by Indian villages
  The road completed as far as the lake
  Quincanek feigns friendliness
  The hostilities begin
  The captains urge Ursua to fight; the battle
  Tayasal becomes a Spanish possession
  Later history of Tayasal


I The Question of Orthography

II The Dialect of Peten. (From an unpublished manuscript by Dr. Berendt
in the Brinton Collection in the University Museum, Philadelphia)

III The Maps of Yucatan, 1501-1800

IV Itinerary of Avendaño, together with geographical information


                             LIST OF PLATES

Ia    Avendaño's Map of Lake Peten, circa 1697.

Ib    Avendaño's Map with English translation.

II    Peten Itza in the Middle of the Eighteenth Century.

III   Lake Peten and Flores.
IV    Sketch (with English translation) of a Map of Yucatan, circa
        1566, found with the Landa MS.

V     Sketch (with English translation) of another Map of Yucatan,
        circa 1566, found with the Landa MS.

VI    Map showing Entradas to Lake Peten.

                        YUCATAN AND OF THE ITZAS

                               CHAPTER I

                         AND OF THE ITZAS, 1445

In general it may be said that the Maya culture occupied the peninsula
of Yucatan, portions of the states of Tabasco and Chiapas in Mexico,
Guatemala, and the northern part of Honduras. That branch of the Mayas
who called themselves the Itzas and who form the chief subject of this
work occupied the southern portion of Yucatan and the greater part of
what is now the Department of Peten in Guatemala.

A few decades ago it was the fashion to credit the aboriginal peoples
of America with a civilization of enormous antiquity. But the whole
trend of modern scientific investigation tends to prove that the
American continent was one of the last parts of the world to be settled
and that, at the time of the Spanish conquest, the aboriginal cultures
were certainly not more than three thousand or so years old. Even this
estimate should be understood to include centuries of migratory
shiftings and centuries of development along lines which eventually led
to the erection of the earlier types of high culture in Middle and
South America. Roughly speaking, the time of Christ coincides with the
period at which the earliest high cultures in this hemisphere began to

For the sake of convenience we shall follow the chronology suggested by
Mr. Morley (1915) and divide the pre-Columbian history of the Maya race
into eight periods. The first seven of these periods we shall discuss
briefly in this opening chapter; the eighth will furnish the subject
matter for the remainder of the book. The dates given should be
regarded as merely approximate.

                                           APPROXIMATE DATES PERIODS
  PERIODS                                             A.D.

  I     Migratory period                                 ?-200
  II    Golden Age or Old Empire                       200-600
  III   Colonization period                            450-700
  IV    Transitional period                           700-1000
  V     Renaissance or League period                 1000-1200
  VI    The period of the Toltec mercenaries         1200-1450
  VII   Disintegration                               1450-1541
  VIII  Period of wars with Spain                    1519-1697

Before taking up our review of the first seven periods we must remind
ourselves that the prehistoric cultures of Middle America have a
certain unity, showing beyond doubt that they were all of a common
origin. It is impossible to tell at what epoch the Maya became separate
and distinct from the other highly cultured peoples scattered over
Mexico and Central America. Fortunately, however, owing to the
investigations in the Valley of Mexico, we have abundant material for
the reconstruction of the sequence of cultures. Three successive strata
of occupation have been found in the Valley of Mexico. The earliest of
these, the Archaic, is also found in many other places throughout
Mexico and Central America. There is some reason to suppose that this
culture was at one time fairly uniform throughout the greater part of
Middle America. The local developments seen in the Maya, the Zapotec,
and the early Mexican cultures may have been the result of
modifications of the Archaic culture. Above this Archaic stratum in the
Valley of Mexico is found the Toltec or Teotihuacan culture. This is
synchronous with late Maya of the sixth period on our table.
Manifestations of its art are found in the latest buildings at Chichen

I. Migratory Period (?-200 A.D.). The two earliest dated Maya
inscriptions that we have are those on the Tuxtla statuette and on the
Leyden plate. (Morley, 1915, p. 194 ff.; Holmes, 1916.) The former is
dated, in the Maya system of chronology, (about 100 B.C.);
the date on the latter is (about 50 A.D.).[1] Although, as
Mr. Morley points out, these are the earliest dates we know of from the
Maya area, it is to be noted that they do not differ essentially from
the more recent inscriptions. They ought, therefore, to be regarded as
introductory to the historic period, and it may be assumed that they
were themselves preceded by many decades of development during which
the first attempts at writing were gradually elaborated until the
extremely complex Maya hieroglyphics were evolved in the form in which
we know them.

II. The Golden Age or Old Empire of the Maya (200-600 A.D.). This
period extended, roughly, from (210) to (600).
In this time many cities rose, flourished, and fell. Of these Palenque,
Yaxchilan, Piedras Negras, Tikal, Seibal, Quirigua, Copan, and Nakum
are some of the more important. Like Seibal on the east and Piedras
Negras and Yaxchilan on the west, Tikal and Nakum were not far from the
Peten region to which our attention will be chiefly directed.[2]
Indeed, Lake Peten lies in what is almost the geographical center of
the area formerly occupied by the Old Empire. It is significant,
therefore, that Mr. Morley has found at the modern town of Flores (in
Lake Peten) two stelae dated approximately and
(580 and 600).

The various elaborate architectural features of the Old Empire cities
have been fully examined by many writers, and it is, therefore,
needless for us to speak of them except in the most general terms. One
predominating feature of all the ruins is the excessive use of
ornamentation. Because the country was devoid of any great natural
elevations which would give an effective setting for their buildings,
the people often used substructures of varying heights and
superstructures of several sorts. If one may judge from the sculptures
left by the inhabitants of the early cities, their life was mainly
taken up with an extremely involved ritualistic religion which, in the
hands of a priestly body, was at once the means by which they were
ruled and the outlet for the artistic gifts which they undeniably had.
Very probably the over-elaborate religion was responsible for the
tremendous mass of detail to be seen in so many of the ruined cities.
So great was the eagerness for space upon which to crowd ornamentation
that an architectural feature which served no purpose other than that
of affording more ample space for decoration was evolved. The roof-comb
is found in a high degree of development at Yaxchilan and elsewhere.
(Spinden, 1913, p. 112, fig. 148.) Sometimes, as at Tikal, this
cumbersome construction was carried to such lengths that the area
covered by walls was out of all natural proportion to that covered by

One can only conjecture what brought about the downfall of these
ancient cities in which a very advanced culture once flourished. It is
not impossible that the priesthood became so oppressive that an
emigration took place; or, owing to a lack of proper agricultural
knowledge, the fields probably became spent so that the people were
forced to seek new homes; possibly also there was some sort of an
invasion from the west or east. Any one or all of these causes may have
brought about the succeeding period, one which lies within and at the
end of the Golden Age.

III. The Colonization Period (450-700 A.D.). This period is chiefly
notable for us because it marks the beginning of documentary history
and because the Itzas are first specifically mentioned in connection
with it.[3]

About 450 Ziyan Caan or Bakhalal was built, to be occupied only some
sixty years. (Spinden, 1913, Table 2; Brinton, 1882, Chr. I.) According
to Chronicle V the use of the name Itza dates from the founding of
Chichen Itza, an event which took place about 510.[4] At this time
there also occurred important changes in the calendar system, an event
symbolized in the Chronicles by the phrase "Pop was set in order."

There is, then, in this period of colonization, a well-defined
migration northward. The ancient cities in the south did not die out at
once, and we may suppose that the sixth century of our era was a time
of great cultural activity. It is interesting to know that the old Maya
culture and the Tiahuanaco culture (the two greatest American
civilizations) were probably in part at least contemporaries. (Cf.
Means, 1917.)

The Chronicles are vague and divergent on the question of how long the
first occupation of Chichen Itza lasted. Chronicle I says 120 years;
Chronicle II says 200; Chronicle III says 240. As two of the three
important Chronicles place the length of occupation at 200 years or
more, we may assume that it lasted from about 500 to 700 of our era.

To this period we may confidently attribute some of the structures at
Chichen. It has been shown that the Casa de Monjas at Chichen underwent
several periods of construction. It is what Mr. Thompson has called
"Old Chichen," however, that is most surely associated with the period
we are now discussing. In that portion of the ruins Mr. Thompson found
a lintel dated (about 610). As the building in which the
lintel was found is one of a group that is quite distinct from the rest
of the ruins, it may be believed that they all date from the first

We have, of course, no satisfactory data from which to derive an
opinion as to the territorial expansion of the kingdom ruled from Old
Chichen (if, indeed, it was ruled from there). Spinden (1913, p. 201),
however, has found ample reason for believing that Xcalumkin, Xlabpak,
Sayil, Kabah, and Tabi were flourishing at this period. Briefly, the
presence of a modified form of the "manikin scepter" and of the stela
(both characteristic of the ancient cities) convinces him that all
these places were erected before the influence of the Old Empire cities
had died out.

IV. Transitional Period (700-1000 A.D.). The Maya-Itza stock now
reëntered upon their migrations. They moved, about 700, to Chakanputum,
where they stayed until about 950. The Chronicles all agree as to the
length of time the Itzas were at Chakanputum. Of this site we know
little beyond the fact that Cortes, when he visited it in 1519, found a
large village there.

Just before the Itzas left Champoton, or perhaps just after, Uxmal was
founded by Ahcuitok Tutul Xiu, who, according to the tradition,
probably came from the west. The lords of this city were destined to
have an important part to play in the history of the Itzas. About the
year 1000 the cities of Uxmal, Chichen, and Mayapan formed a
confederation which has been called the League of Mayapan. After three
or four hundred years of unrest after the disintegration of the Old
Empire a New Empire was about to begin its career.

V. Renaissance or League Period (1000-1200 A.D.). In the Golden Age or
Old Empire the civilization of the Maya race had centered about Lake
Peten, in the extreme south of the peninsula of Yucatan. In the time of
the New Empire the old cities in the south were gradually forgotten and
new ones, quite as remarkable, sprang up in the northern portion of the
peninsula. Three cities probably shared the sovereign power, forming,
by their alliance, the celebrated League of Mayapan. These cities were
Uxmal, ruled by the Xiu family, Mayapan, possibly ruled by the Cocom[5]
family, and Chichen Itza. The latter is, of course, our chief concern;
but as it has been often described we will only say that it may have
had, at one time, as many as one hundred thousand inhabitants and that
the culture that throve there was of a high order.

The political features of the League of Mayapan are difficult to
describe with accuracy. Each of the three great cities had its ruling
family. Below these was an order of personages called _batab_, each of
whom held and ruled a portion of the country. The _batab_ stood in much
the same relation to the ruler of the large city as a medieval baron to
the king. Doubtless each _batab_, ruling from his own city, had a
hierarchy of officers under him. Probably Labna, Kabah, Chacmultun,
Sayil, Hochob, Aké, Tihoo, Acanceh, Tinum, Kewick, and all the other
cities in northern Yucatan were once seats of _batabs_ who were more or
less intimately connected with the ruler of one of the three great
cities. There was ample machinery for the administration of justice,
and crimes were fittingly punished. Such positions as the Halach Uinic
(Real Man, i.e., king) of Mayapan and the office of batab of some
lesser city usually were inherited according to the rules of
primogeniture, but this custom could, for sufficient cause, be set

VI. The Period of the Toltec Mercenaries (1200-1450 A.D.). However much
in the dark we may be as to the details of the events which brought
about the downfall of the League of Mayapan, we are in no doubt as to
the main causes of its disruption. Speaking in very general terms, the
situation was as follows. The ruler of Mayapan seems to have been the
trouble maker. Becoming ambitious to extend his power over the other
Halach Uinicil, he called in a number of mercenaries from Mexico. With
the aid of these allies the Halach Uinic of Mayapan made himself master
of the whole northern part of Yucatan, but he had to pay a heavy price
in the shape of giving Chichen Itza to his allies.

During all these troubles the Xius at Uxmal seem to have preserved a
certain amount of independence; certainly as time went on and as the
power of Mayapan became more and more tyrannically oppressive, the Xius
gradually became the champions of the oppressed. It was but natural
that those of the Itza _batabs_ who still remained at Chichen should
resent the alien dominion placed over them. If we may believe Chronicle
I, they made at least one attempt to get back their old power. The
discontent of the Itza element of the population, a discontent always
shared in by the Xius at Uxmal, continued to increase during two
hundred and fifty years. In that period Chichen Itza, under the
influence of its Toltec rulers, witnessed its final period of
architectural development. The Ball Court, the Castillo, the Group of
the Columns, and other buildings were erected under Toltec influence.
It is easy to recognize and identify the structures of this period
because they are usually distinguished by such features as serpent
columns, _tlaxtli_ or ball courts, Atlantean supports, feathered
monsters, and speech scrolls.

About 1450 the inevitable revolution against the tyranny of the Toltecs
took place, and with it civilization of the highest type came to an

VII. Disintegration (1450-1541 A.D.). Centralized feudalistic
government destroyed, Yucatan fell into a sad plight. Where one or two
strong states had been before there were now a score of weak ones. In
the wars of this period the once great cities of the League were
destroyed and abandoned; new and far less advanced cities were founded
to take their place. The remnant of the Xiu family retired to Mani; the
Cocom became lords of Zotuta. Itzamal seems to have become a sacerdotal
state under the dominion of the Chel family. The Itzas, in whom our
chief interest lies, probably withdrew far to the south and founded
their power in the region about Lake Peten. Brinton (1882, p. 25.)
gives this list of the small independent states found by the Spaniards:

      1 ACALAN (Bahia de Terminos)
      2 TIXCHEL (Telchac)
      3 KIN PECH (Campeche)
      4 CHAKANPUTUN (Champoton)
      5 CANUL
      7 CEHPECH (Merida region)
      8 ZIPATAN (northwest coast)
      9 CHOACA (northeast coast)
     10 EKAB (opposite Cozumel)
     11 CONIL (north coast, west of Choaca)
     12 -- -- -- -- -- --
     13 CHETEMAL (southern end of east coast)
     14 TAITZA (Itza, Peten district)
     15 AH KIN CHEL (Itzamal region)
     16 ZOTUTA (Cocom state, between Merida and Valladolid)
     17 MANI (Xiu state, southwest of Zotuta)

In number 14 we recognize the Itzas of Peten. The close of this period
of Disintegration (period VII) ushers in the eighth period, which will
take up the remainder of our attention.


It is well to present the account of the pre-Columbian history of the
Mayas as given by Cogolludo. It will be seen to differ greatly from the
more scientific view just given, but it presents points of interest. It
will be found in lib. iv, cap. 3.

"Neither from the peoples who populated this Kingdom of Yucatan nor
from their ancient Histories have I been able to find more than I shall
say here. In some writings which those who first learned how to write
left behind them, and which are in the native idiom (which is still
used among the Indians), it says that some of the people came from the
East and some from the West. With those who were from the Occident was
one who, as it were, was a Priest of theirs, called _Zamna_; and they
say that he it was who gave the names by which they are called in that
tongue to all the Ports of the Sea, points of land, estuaries, coasts,
and all the regions, sites, mountains (forests), and all the places of
this entire land; and certain it is that it is a thing worthy of
admiration if it was so, for such a division did he make of everything
in order that each spot might be known by its own name that there is
scarcely a palm of land which has not a name in their tongue. The
opinion that the settlers came to this land from the Occident (although
they do not know who they were nor how they came) is in accord with
what Padre Torquemada says in his Monarquia Indiana. (Lib. iii, cap.
13.) This is, That the Teochichimecas, after that terrible battle with
the Huexotzincas, remained lords of the territory of Tlaxcalan, and
made peace with the other nations on account of the fame of that
victory of theirs. These Teochichimecas must needs found their towns
and distribute their lands in such a manner that they were constantly
increasing their power and gradually occupying the country in such a
way that in a little more than 300 years they had spread through the
greater part of New Spain from one coast on the North to the other on
the South, a territory which includes all the inland regions which are
to the East, and especially those of this province of Yucathan as far
as the province of Hibueras or Honduras. From this it seems that the
Yucatecs are descended from Chichimec and Aculhua families which,
coming from the West by way of the stopping-places told of by Father
Torquemada in his first books, settled New Spain.

"If from the Orient came other peoples who settled in this land, there
is among the people now there neither tradition nor writing telling
with certainty from whence they came nor what people they were,
although, however, it is said (by some) that they came from the Island
of Cuba. Difficulty arises now, for some came from some regions and
others from very different ones, yet all speak a very ancient tongue,
nor has there been any information saying that any other has existed in
the land. But this might have been occasioned by some tribes being more
numerous than others, or by reason of war, or by trade and
communication which, by strengthening the relations of the one race
with the other, may have caused the idiom, usages, and customs of those
who were of the greatest number to prevail over and obliterate those of
the less numerous people. From the very differences which exist between
the Yucatec tongue and the Mexican, it seems that the Settlers of this
land must have been they who came from the East; and they may even have
been the most ancient people since the Indian Zamna who came with them
was he who first gave names to the places and lands, as has been told
already, for if the others had been the first, they would have done so.
Padre Lizana says the opposite because, first calling attention to the
fact that these Indians call the East _Cenial_, and the West,
_Nohnial_, the first of which signifies Small Descent and the second
Large Descent, he says: 'And it is a fact that they relate that from
the East descended upon this land a small race and from the West a
large one; and by that phrase do they understand little and much, East
and West, few from the one, many from the other.' The Reader will judge
which seems to him the better.

"This land of Yucathan, which the natives of it call _Maya_, was
governed for a long time by a Supreme Lord, and the last descendant of
these Lords was Tutul Xiu, he who was Lord of Mani and its neighborhood
when, voluntarily, he came to do homage, making himself a friend of the
Spaniards on the day of San Ildefonso, 1541, as has been told. Thus it
appears that there has ever been in the land a Monarchical government
which, according to the most weighty opinion among Writers, is the best
for the conservation of Realms. This King had for the capital of his
Monarchy a very populous City called Mayapan (from which must have been
derived the name of this land, Maya); this capital, through wars and
discords between the King and his vassals, and because justice lay only
in the greatest power among them (unhappy the times in which the
Supreme Lord has not a power equal to his justice), this government
came to an end; many of the Lords and Caciques rebelled, each
dominating the greatest amount of land he could, and being always
engaged in continuous wars; thus the Spaniards found them (divided into
estates, like Dukes and Counts, albeit without recognizing any
Superior). When Yucathan was left entirely without a Supreme Lord, then
the ambition of private persons who united their forces and banded
together to effect their will, resulted in their ordering the
destruction of the City of Mayapan, Capital of the Kingdom; they
demolished it about the year of Our Lord fourteen hundred and twenty
(according to the computation of the ages [_Ahaus?_] of the Indians)
and about the 260th year of their establishment. By this rebellion he
who was King and Supreme Lord of all Yucathan was left only with the
Lordship of Mani whither he retired upon the destruction of the City of
Mayapan which was where now are to be seen the ruins of buildings, near
the Village of Telchaquillo. They left him with this small power partly
because of the fidelity of those vassals who did not deny him obedience
due, and partly because of the permission given by the rebels who knew
that he had not now more strength than any of themselves....

"When the Lords of the City of Mayapan were ruling all the land was
tributary to them. The tribute was in small cotton mantles, native
fowl, some cacao in those places where it was got, and a resin which
served as incense in the Temples, and all told it was very small in
quantity. All the citizens and dwellers who lived within the City of
Mayapan were free from tribute; and in the city all the nobles of the
land had houses; and by the year 1582 (in which was written the
relation from which all this is drawn) it is said that all those who
were held to be Lords and nobles of Yucathan still remembered, in that
place, their old lots. Now with the change of government and because of
the slight estimation in which they are held ... the descendants of
Tutul Xiu, who was King and by right natural Lord, if they do not work
with their hands at labor, have nothing to eat, and toil does not now
seem to them unworthy of consideration. In ancient times, the nobles of
Mayapan were wont to serve in the Temples of the Idols in the
ceremonies and feasts which were by right assigned to them, assisting
by day and by night; and though many themselves had vassals, they
recognized the Supreme Lord, and served him in his wars.

"They who dwelt without the City and in the rest of the Province were
vassals and tributaries, not being of those who had houses there in the
capacity of land-holders; but they were greatly favored by their Lords
because they themselves served them as Advocates looking out for their
welfare with great solicitude whenever anyone asked that it be so. They
(the vassals and tributaries) were not obliged to live in assigned
Villages since they had license to live and to marry with whomsoever
they wished; the object of this was to ensure multiplication, for they
said that if the people were hampered, there could not fail to result a
diminution. Lands were held in common, and so between the Villages
there were no boundaries or landmarks to divide them; although it is
true that between one Province and another because of wars, save some
fields for sowing fruit-bearing trees and land which had been bought
for some purpose of improvement [incomplete sentence in the Spanish].
Also the salt-works which are on the Shores of the Sea were held in
common, and those who dwelt nearest to them were wont to pay tribute to
the Lords of Mayapan with salt which they had got....

"The Lords were absolute in power and caused their orders to be
executed with severity. There were Caciques placed in the Villages, or
some other leading person to hear suits and public demands. This
officer received the litigants or disputants, heard the cause of their
coming, and, if the matter were a grave one, talked it over with the
Lord. In order to try the case, other Ministers were appointed who were
like Advocates and Constables and who always attended in the presence
of the judges.... They were not in the habit of writing down the
lawsuits, although they had characters (of which many are to be seen in
the ruins of their buildings). All was set forth in words by means of
the Ministers before referred to, and what was then and there
determined remained valid and permanent without either of the parties
venturing to work against it. But if the affair which was to be tried
concerned many, they had a great meeting of all the interested
together; then the gist was communicated, upon which followed the
decision of the matter.

"In sales and contracts they had neither writings to oblige them to
keep their word nor promissory notes with which to give satisfaction,
but still the contract remained valid provided only that the parties
drank together publicly before witnesses. This was particularly the
usage in sales of slaves or of cacao-lands, and even today (it is said)
they use it still among themselves in the sale of horses and cattle.
The debtor never denied the debt even though he could not pay at once;
but all was made certain by the debtor's confessing his debt, for the
wife, children and relatives of the debtor would pay the debt after his

"In the wars which because of their ambition they made upon one
another, some were taken prisoners, those of the conquered who were
taken remaining slaves. In this situation they were very rigorous,
treating the enslaved with asperity, and making use of them in all
sorts of bodily labor.

"In food-supplies there were no bargains, because they were always
fixed at one price, save Maize, which was wont to go up when crops were
poor, but it never passed what it is now worth, a _real_ or so, the
load (which is half a Castillian fanega).

"The money that they used was little bells and jingles of copper, which
had value according to their size, and some red shells, which were
brought from far away from this land, which they strung, after the
manner of rosaries. Also they used as money grains of cacao, and of
these they made the most use in commerce, and certain precious stones
and discs of copper brought from New Spain which they exchanged for
other things, as happens elsewhere...."

Cogolludo (lib. iv, cap. 5) continues with the following account of the

"For display and on gala occasions, they used to scarify themselves
with certain small points of stone on the breasts, arms and thighs;
they even went so far as to draw blood, and in the wounds they rubbed a
black earth or powdered carbon. When they scarified with these knives
the scars remained, shaped like Eagles, serpents, birds and animals,
and they perforated the nose as well.... The Cupules, who are the
people of the territory of the Town of Valladolid, used this practice a
great deal.

"In the times of their heathenry, as now, they danced and sang after
the manner of the Mexicans, and they used to have, as indeed they still
do have, a chief Singer (or Chanter) who intones, and who appoints what
they shall sing; and him they venerate and reverence, giving him an
honorable seat in Church, and at their assemblies and weddings. They
call him _Holpop_, and in his charge are the kettle-drums or _Tuncules_
and other musical instruments, such as the flutes, little trumpets,
tortoise-shells, and others that they used. The _Tuncul_ is of thick
wood, and there are some so large that they can be heard at a distance
of two leagues to leeward. To the accompaniment of these instruments
they sing their fables and old legends; all this will be reformed, or
rather, the Religious have already done so in many places, giving the
Indians Histories of Saints and some of the Mysteries of the Faith to
sing, at least at public dances, Easter celebrations, and festivities,
so that the ancient times will be forgotten.

"They have Babblers [Farfante = babbler, boaster; may mean jester,
buffoon] who repeat fables and ancient Histories, which I am certain
would be well done away with, or at least the costumes in which they
are represented, because it appears that they are like those of their
Heathen Priests; and when there is no worse harm than the preservation
among them of that memory, it appears a very pernicious thing, for it
inclines them all the more to the idolatrous practices which they
indulge in when wearing the costume; but every one will have his own
opinion in this matter, conformable, more or less, to what his
observation has taught him. The babblers are apt to be graceful at
mottoes and in the witty sayings which they tell to their elders and
Judges if they are over-rigourous, ambitious, avaricious, laying before
them the events that have taken place and even that which concerns the
officer's own duties. They thus speak to the officers' very faces, and
sometimes they rebuke them with a single word. But he who would
understand them must be a great linguist and must listen well. They are
very dangerous, these representations, when they are held at night and
in the Indians' own houses, for God knows what goes on there, and at
the very least many of them end up in drunkenness. They call these
Farfantes _Balzam_, and they apply the word metaphorically to him who
is talkative and scurrilous; and in their representations they mimic

"They held, and still do hold, banquets on the occasion of weddings and
betrothals, using up in one day many turkeys that they have been
breeding for a whole year. Those who are leaving the office of Alcalde
entertain those who are entering it, on the pain of disgrace, and on
election nights there is much drunkenness.

"The Indians of this land were and are very dextrous with the bow and
arrows, and so they are mighty huntsmen, and they grow dogs so that
they may fetch deer, wild boar, badgers. Tigers, some little Lions,
rabbits, armadillos, iguanas, and other animals. They shoot with their
arrows peacocks [sic], some birds they call _faysanes_ [pheasants], and
many others.

"At present they are great imitators of all the different sorts of
handiwork that are made, and so they learn all the trades with ease.
There are many Indians in their villages, beside those who live in the
City and in the Towns, who are great workers as smiths, locksmiths,
bridlemakers, shoemakers, carpenters, wood-carvers, sculptors,
saddlers, tradesmen who make many curious things out of shell,
bricklayers, stonecutters, tailors, painters, and so on. What causes
wonder is that there are many Indians who work at four or six trades
where a Spaniard would have but one ... but with that almost innate
coolness for work they supply their wants and turn out good work, which
they sell more cheaply than the Spaniards do, so that those tradesmen
who go to Yucathan fare badly at their trades; so there are but few of
them, and they seek other means of earning a livelihood.

"They wear clothes of very white cotton, of which they make shirts,
breeches, and certain mantles a vara and a half square which they call
_tilmas_ or _hayantes_. These can be made to serve as capes by drawing
the two corners up on the shoulder and making a knot; indeed, very many
people use ones made out of somewhat coarse woven wool, and even many
of stuffs brought from Spain, such as damasks and other silks. Some use
jackets, and many wear shoes and hempe sandals. The usual custom,
however, is to go barefoot, especially in their own houses and fields,
but the opposite is true of some Caciques and leading men, and of
women. Most of the men wear hats of straw or palm-leaves, and nowadays
many buy felt hats. The women use _Uaipiles_, which is a garment that
falls from the throat to the middle of the leg, with an opening at the
top, where the head goes, and two others at the top of the sides for
the arms, which are covered half-way down. Because this garment is not
tied in at the waist, it also serves as a shirt. From the waist to the
feet is another garment called _Pic_, and it is like petticoats and
goes under the outer garment. Most of these are worked with blue and
red thread, which makes them sightly. If a Spanish woman is seen in
this dress it looks, on her, most improper. Little Indian girls who are
growing up with Spanish women become great embroiderers, seamstresses,
and patchers, and they make things that are sold at large prices and
much esteemed.

"For Sundays and Feast-days when they go to Mass, and when they are to
be confessed, both men and women have cleaner and neater clothes, which
they keep for this. Other customs and things of theirs will be learned
through the laws that have been given to remedy them, which will be
related in the Fifth Book.

"There were Indians in the past days of their ancestors who had larger
bodies than those now common, bodies which were found in the sepulchres
of this land and which had gigantic stature. In 1647 in the village of
Vecal, on the royal road of Campeche, Padre Fray Juan de Carrión (now
Provincial Commissioner for the next General Chapter) ordered his
Indians to make an arbor for a reception he was to hold. They had just
set up the sticks with which it was to be made when the tools hit upon
a very large sepulchre made of flag-stones placed one over another
without any peculiarities of carving whatever. The Indians ran away
from it and went to call the Padre, who, on arriving, ordered them to
take out whatever was in the sepulchre. The Indians did not want to do
this, saying that it was prohibited for them to touch anything of that
sort. So the Padre, with the aid of a small boy, got out the bones of a
man of formidable size. There were in the sepulchre three bowls of very
fine pottery having three hollow balls in place of feet, and there was
a small black box of what appeared to be jasper. The Padre burned the
bones, threw them away, and filled up the hole, rebuking the Indians
for not wishing to touch it, on the plea that it was forbidden to them
to do so...."

                               CHAPTER II

                        THE PERIOD OF 1445-1697

The Significance of the Itzas. The dates of the Itza dominance over the
region around Tayasal are roughly those given above. Although the
Spaniards became a factor in the lives of the Itzas about 1525, their
presence does not alter the fact that this tribe was so powerful as to
be able to preserve its independence for a long time. The Itzas may be
considered as presenting, in diminished form, all the more important
political and social conditions that had formerly characterized the
great Maya states in the northern part of the peninsula. We will now
study these conditions so as to understand better the problems the
Spanish conquerors were called upon to meet and to solve later on. In
spite of the proximity of the Spaniards, it is doubtful whether the
Itzas changed much during the two hundred and fifty years they occupied
the Peten or Tayasal region.

The Location of Peten or Tayasal. The Itza stronghold was located at
Peten or Tayasal.[2.1] The present city of Flores, located on a small
island in the Lake of Peten, is sometimes thought to be the site of
ancient Tayasal. Others think that Tayasal was really on the peninsula
north of Flores. This latter opinion is held by Mr. Morley and Dr.
Tozzer, who have been on the spot. The former believes that the lake
was formerly higher than now, which would explain how the present
peninsula, formerly an island, attained its present condition. The
island of Flores is scarcely more than half a mile in diameter;
Avendaño says that Tayasal was half a league long. The reader is urged
to compare Plates II and III for the purpose of seeing how the modern
appearance of Tayasal or Peten is different from its appearance a few
centuries ago. As visitors to Tayasal usually either came or left by
way of Tipu, the distance from Tayasal to the shore which they
generally traveled was that from the village to the eastern end of the
lake, a journey often said to be six leagues in length, which is
approximately correct. Perhaps the most important piece of evidence is
that given by Avendaño's sketch map (Pls. Ia, Ib). He gives three
_cayos_ or islands in the lake. They are arranged in such a way that
the Cayo Grande (Tayasal) is to the east; just northwest of it is Otro
Cayo (Another Cayo). I believe that after the general level of the lake
fell these two _cayos_ were united and formed the present peninsula.
Flores is on the _cayo_ shown by Avendaño as just south and east of
these two. Maler, who is among those who have used the name Tayasal,
says that the name means "in the midst of green waters."

Description of Peten and its Surroundings. We will now give Padre
Avendaño's account of the region occupied by the Itzas and ruled by
their king, Canek: "Before we leave the said Peten Ytza, it is well to
give the clearest information about it, its territories and its people,
so that, in the future, historians may have clear light about it and
may give in full the necessary information. Peten Ytza is situated in
the middle of a great lake and there are not only this one on which the
King lives, but also four other _Petens_, or islands which also lie in
the said lake. Others say that these _Petens_ are seven in number, and
still others that there are thirty, and that this lake also surrounds
the seven, as some say, as well as the thirty which the others speak
of. What is certain is that I stopped there and asked purposely what
number of people and _Petens_ the Ytzalana nation contained, and they
told me that there were only five _Petens_. The lake which surrounds
them is large, its length I have not measured, nor have I gone over
more than the part of it by which I came, which was three leagues
across, more or less (entering it at the West and going eastward), till
one reaches the _Peten_ on which the King lives. But the length of the
said lake which runs from North to South (as far as we could see it),
although we did not succeed in seeing to its end, was probably from
eight to ten leagues.[2.2] There are some who say that the said lake is
sixty leagues long. If it is true that it surrounds the above thirty
_Petens_, it is not improbable that it is of that length. The principal
_Peten_ or island (the court where the King lives) must be more than
half a league long and is a high island from which many hills are seen
all around. The situation is very pleasant on account of these hills
being in sight, as well as the five _Petens_ which the lake encloses,
so that from the said _Petun_ any one is seen who comes across the lake
from a distance from any one of the four directions, as well as those
who go fishing on the lake...."

The Lake neither Rises nor Falls. "I asked them why they had their
houses so close to the shore of the lake, and if they had any trouble
with its risings and fallings. They told me that they had no trouble,
since the lake never rose or fell. From this it is inferred that
it is also true that no river enters it or flows out of it on the
surface,--either of rapid or gentle current, as many who speak of this
lake try to show; since, if such a stream entered it, or left it, it
could not fail to increase with the freshets, as in dry times to grow
smaller; although we should not be able to deny the hidden and
subterranean connection of this lake with other neighboring lakes,
because of its permanent preservation of level...."

The Temples of Tayasal Described by Avendaño. "In order to worship the
... idols[2.3] there are nine very large buildings, made in the form of
the churches of this Province,--all new, with traces of others which
had been burned, although they built them again, as I saw in the case
of two which had been rebuilt. All such buildings have a wall about a
yard and a half high and of the thickness of six quarters; the bench or
seat all around, which stands out from the middle inwards, is three
quarters thick and the rest, which stands out above, is three quarters
thick; so that both together form two rows of seats around the said
churches, and all repainted and polished."

The Palace of Canek, Chief of the Itzas. "Of this same workmanship is
the hall[2.4] which the King or Ah Canek has as a vestibule to his
house, in which he receives his guests as he did us, although in
addition it has the floor covered with bitumen and polished, which the
said temples do not have. At the entrance of the said hall stands a
large stone table more than two yards long and proportionally broad,
placed on stone columns, with twelve seats of the same around it for
the priests. This is the table of sacrifice, which they call in their
language _Mayactun_,--the first object which our eyes perceived in that
first reception, from which, with the preceding attempts on the lake,
we were able to conjecture that they would put us to death; and the
more so when we saw that the number of people who ran together at the
novelty of seeing us was so great, that besides filling all the hall
inside, those who could not find a place there, obstructed on the
outside all the light which the hall had, and which came in all around
it, so that they left us in such gloomy darkness, that, being seated,
as I was, in the midst of my companion Padres, we could only perceive
one another by the touch; but such a thing did not come into our
minds, but rather we understood that here was the room of welcome for

The Districts of Peten Itza. "I asked them how many districts that
_Peten_ had on which we were, and counting by the fingers on their
hands and the toes on their feet, they told me there were twenty-two,
which they went on to describe by their names, and they are as follows:

"Districts of Peten Ytza on which the King Ah Canek lives--

      That of King Ahcanek          That of Ach Cat Baca
      That of noh ah chata          That of ach cat halach Vinic
      That of Ah tze tzin batab     That of ach cat Mulcah
      That of the cacique nohche    That of ach cat Kinchil
      That of ach chatan ek         That of ach cat Kinchan
      That of ach cat Cixban        That of ach cat Kayom (?)
      That of noh tzo can Punab     That of ach cat Cit can
      That of noh tzo can noh       That of ach cat Ytza
      That of tzo can tzic          That of ach cat Pop
      That of ach can Matan cua     That of ach cat Camal
      That of ach cat Batun         That of ach cat Mas Kin

"These towns or districts bear the names of the cacique or head who
rules them, as seen by the table above, although all have separate
names of their own, and all are subject, as are also the other
_Petens_, to the King Ahcanek, and also all the communities which are
found in Cha Kan Ytza, besides those who are found on the main land
towards the East situated around the said _Petens_. This kingdom came
to him by inheritance, and so their Kings are always Ah Can Eks. But
not because of this are all the Caneks of royal blood or relations of
one another; since also all those of his own town or district are
called Caneks, and not on this account are they his relations, since
they also bear their lawful names and only have this one because of the
chief who rules them. It is well known to the King that he holds this
place through blood, since it is certain that he and his family have a
rare character and goodness, since he is so very good that all treat
him with some boldness, so that he is not able to govern what he

Extent of the Itza Dominion under the Chief Canek. It is from the
Franciscan Fray Alonso Cano, who wrote about 1696, that we derive the
clearest information as to the extent of the Itza dominions. He says:
"... The other forty-five leagues from Mopan to the Lake one travels
(though with various windings) from South to North, with some little
tendency to the North-west. This land belongs to the Mopanes and
Ahizaes, and it stretches to the East as far as the sea-coast ... Of
the boundaries of the Ahiza nation on the North the men of Yucatan will
give trustworthy information."

All the foregoing leads one to believe that the influence of Canek,
petty chief of the Itzas, and of his immediate subjects was felt
throughout the region east of Lake Peten, the region in which are
located Alain (or Yalain), San Clemente, Yaxha, and Tipu. Indeed
Villagutierre (p. 460) leaves us in no doubt as to the fact that
Chamaxculu, the aged chief of Alain, was the direct vassal of Canek.

Quincanek. So far we have been considering only the political aspect of
the Itza state. There was an important sacerdotal organization as well.
As to its exact nature there is, unfortunately, some confusion.
Villagutierre says that the head of the priesthood was the oldest
brother of Canek and that he bore the title of Quincanek. Cano says
that Cuin Kenek was the chief of Peten. Pedro Sanches de Leon,
writing in the eighteenth century, says (p. 146 ff.): "In that time
(1700-1703), or a little before, the conquest of the Lake of the
Ahitzaes took place, and the Indian kings were seen to enter Guatemala
as prisoners; they were called after baptism Don Jose and Don Francisco
Canek, and with them also was the high-priest of this nation, who was
also called Canek...." Maler uses the terms Canek and Kincanek
interchangeably. The question is not an important one, and I shall make
no attempt to solve it.

Further Information about the Region. "... In the northerly direction
lies the Kingdom of Yucathan; towards the South, the road which the men
of Gautemala have opened, starting from Vera Paz; on the West, Cha Kan
Ytza and the Cehaches; on the East, slightly North, the nation of the
men of Tipu; in the direction of the South, running from East to West,
are very high ridges, which are really the Sierra Madre, from which (in
New Spain) they exploit mines, and as there are mines there, there is
no doubt that there are some here, since it is one and the same ridge.
There must be mines in the environs of this nation of the Ytzaes,
because the most of the Indians (in some large ear drops which they
wear) have roses of silver hanging down, and others of silver and gold,
and as the Spaniards do not come to this nation, nor the Indians of
this Province of Yucathan, nor of the other provinces, because they are
afraid of them, I do not know where they could get this gold and silver
unless they took it from some mine. In the said southerly direction
running towards the East, the said Peten Ytzaes have their farms and
tilled fields on the main land; and in said fields they have their
houses as in Peten, so as to live there all the time that the
cultivation lasts, so that the houses are doubled in number as well as
the families. From this, people imagine that this nation is more
numerous than it really is.

"The largest and best calculation which I can make of this nation was
from the account which the King and his chiefs gave me, and this was
that the _Peten_ in which we stopped consisted of twenty-two districts
and towns, and they did not know how to give me the count of each town,
since they know how to count only up to twenty, and in going beyond
many twenties, they do not know how to explain it, for it appears to
them an infinite number.[2.5] I did not have much time to verify this,
for I preferred to employ the little time I had in baptizing; but
nevertheless from what I saw and understood of the number of the people
of all ages, I say that Peten Ytza, with the other _Petenes_, Cha Kan
Ytzaes and Tuluncies (?), with the communities, which are found on the
main land, will all come up to twenty-four or twenty-five thousand
souls,--a thousand more or less. This computation I make from the
_Peten_ on which the King lives, for he told me that all the _Petens_
were equal in the number of people, with but little difference."

The Itzas Described. "These Ytzaes are well-featured and, like
mestizos, nearly all of a light complexion and of very perfect stature
and of natural gifts. But the Devil has compelled them, in their
weakness, to make themselves hideous and witches, because it appears to
them a greater feat to frighten by their appearance than to conquer by
their strength. And so most of them have their faces cut and rubbed in
with black, and some streaked like black negroes. And this hideousness
many women also show in their ear lobes, so that it is not possible for
them to wear ear drops or pendants. Painting themselves or cutting on
their faces the form of the animal which they have as a charm, the men
consider themselves as more genteel than the women; and as they are of
this opinion, they dress themselves in this way, tying up their hair
with bands of cotton which are made by them, woven with many curious
designs of various colors, with cords and tassels at the ends, made
very beautifully. They clothe themselves with something like jackets
with half sleeves, and all from top to bottom woven at intervals with
stripes of various designs and incorporated in the same woof,--very
lovely to look at. And with all these elegantly ornamented clothes,
they always paint themselves red and black. All this vanity and
effeminate care to decorate themselves so much is a sign of what many
believe, that it is [due to] the wicked vice which is common among
them; for the women do not go about well clothed nor do the men pay
much attention to them; for the women wear only some skirts of cotton
from their waist down, but from the waist up they go bare and
uncovered, with their hair rolled up without as much care as the men.
The latter always go with little stools under their arms to sit on
wherever they go; and at night they muffle themselves up with sheets
woven of various stripes and designs of different colors, like cloaks;
their drink is always _posole_ or _saca_, which is a drink made of
cooked maize, and they always drink it lukewarm, but they never like to
drink clear or cold water...."

                              CHAPTER III


The First Spaniards in Yucatan. Although Fernando Cortes was the first
Spaniard to penetrate the region occupied by the Itzas, he was not, of
course, the first of his race to become acquainted with Yucatan and its
inhabitants. It will be remembered that Columbus received a hint of the
existence of Yucatan from some Indian traders at the Isla de Guanajo
(Isla de Piños) in the year 1502. (Cogolludo, lib. i, cap 1.)[3.1]
Although he failed to find it, we may say that from July, 1502, Yucatan
was known to the Spaniards. The first Spaniards who actually coasted
the shore of Yucatan were Juan Diaz de Solis and Vicente Yañez Pinzon,
in the year 1506.

In 1511 or 1512 Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, whose expedition was in Darien,
found it necessary to send to Hispaniola for supplies. He chose a
certain Valdivia for the errand, intrusted him with a caravel, and sent
him off. Valdivia was shipwrecked on Las Viboras, a reef near Jamaica,
and only about twenty of his men escaped. (Molina, p. 11 ff.;
Montesinos, vol. ii, p. 28 ff.; Landa, p. 15.) They were all captured
by some Indians from Yucatan, who sacrificed all except Jerónimo de
Aguilar and Gonzalo Guerrero. The latter of these learned the language
and went to Chectemal, where he married an Indian woman and became a
member of the tribe. (Landa, pp. 14-16. Chectemal = Salamanca = Bacalar
= Bakhalal.)

Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba, 1517. All the Spaniards mentioned thus
far are connected only very remotely with our subject. In 1517,
however, under the auspices of Diego Velazquez, Governor of Cuba, an
expedition was fitted out under the command of Don Francisco Hernandez
de Cordoba. (Bernal Diaz, vol. i, p. 11; Landa, p. 16 ff.) As this and
one other expedition immediately preceded the entrada of Cortes, and as
they both came in contact with members of the Maya race, it is well
that a short account of the expeditions of Cordoba and of Grijalva
should be given.

Cordoba, with three ships provided by himself. Lope Ochoa de Caicedo,
and Cristoval Morante, left Cuba on February 8, 1517. The avowed
purpose of the expedition was to capture slaves for the Cuban market,
and although it was directly against the royal will, Velazquez himself
was interested in the project. After a sail of twenty-one days the
three ships sighted a large town some two leagues from shore. This spot
was named Cape Catoche by the Spaniards. A brisk fight took place there
between the natives and the white men, in which the latter were the
victors. Many Indian towns and settlements were seen as the Spaniards
went along the shore toward the west. Everywhere the Indians crowded
out of their houses, temples, and idol houses to see the newcomers. At
length the town of Champoton was reached. There, it will be remembered,
the Itzas had lived for many years. However demoralized the Maya race
may have become elsewhere, here at least it was vigorous enough, for
the Indians of Champoton or Potonchan inflicted a great defeat on the
Spaniards. (Bernal Diaz, vol. i, p. 24; Landa, p. 20.) The party went
back to Cuba very shortly, and Cordoba reported to Velazquez as to what
had been found.

Juan de Grijalva and Others, 1518. In the spring of 1518 Velazquez
caused another expedition to be fitted out. Juan de Grijalva was to be
the commodore, and Alonso de Avila, Francisco de Montejo, and Pedro de
Albarado were each to have command of a ship. From our point of view
the most important thing this expedition did was to visit the island of
Cozumel. They also visited las Mugers which takes its name from the
female idols found there by the Spaniards. This party also touched at
Champoton and even went as far as San Juan de Ulloa and the Rio

Cortes in Mexico, 1519. The next year, 1519, witnessed the setting out
of Fernando or Hernando or Hernan Cortes. His achievements in Mexico in
the years 1519-1524 in nowise concern us. In the latter year, however,
he inaugurated the bold project of reaching Honduras by land from
Mexico. As an inevitable result of this plan he entered the territory
of the Itzas. Villagutierre's account (lib. i, caps. 7, 8) of this
expedition is so complete that it is best for us to quote it in full.
The reader is urged to study Plate VI in order to learn the routes
followed by Cortes and others.

Villagutierre's Account of the Entrada of Cortes, 1524-1525. "The
Itzalana nation, having reached its place of retirement, was now
fortified in those Islands and Lakes which they occupied in the midst
of many other barbarous forest nations, for none of the rest was as
powerful as they.... After much fighting, Don Fernando Cortes had, by
force of arms and with many brilliant deeds, captured the Great City of
Mexico, Capital of the Northern American Empire. Also he had subjugated
many other regions, nearly all of New Spain, by 1521.

"In 1524, being desirous of settling Hibueras or Honduras, which is a
very good land, albeit far from Mexico, he [Cortes] had armed five
ships and a brigantine, all well provided with every sort of equipment.
In these he sent off four hundred Spaniards and thirty horses[3.3]
under the charge of Christoval de Olid, who had orders to take on at
Havana as many more troops as were ready to go. Afterwards they were
all to go and settle on the coast of Honduras, which was the purpose of
the voyage. But Christoval de Olid rose in rebellion with the ships and
soldiers. At length he arrived in Honduras, having taken prisoner Gil
Gonzalez de Avila. When all this was learned by Don Fernando Cortes he
sent Francisco de las Casas with two ships and some soldiers against
the rebel. Him also did Christoval de Olid take prisoner. Afterwards
occurred the great revolts, quarrels and murders which the historians
relate, but which I will not repeat."

Cortes Starts for Honduras. "Don Fernando Cortes was greatly enraged
that Christoval de Olid, his old friend, should thus have risen up
against him, causing so much ruin. So he determined to go in person to
punish Olid. Nor did the thought of the great loss his absence would be
to Mexico suffice to dissuade him....

"No arguments in the least changed his decision. He assembled all the
Spaniards he could; there were more than four hundred infantry and
cavalry, besides much artillery and baggage. In addition, there were
between three and four thousand Indian warriors from Mexico, among whom
were King Quatemoz, the successor of the great Motezuma,... and the
Lords of Tacuba and Tezcuco, cities on the Lake of Mexico, and other
Mexican Lords. With these, Cortes took his march by land, and through
regions so rough and impenetrable that they had never been pressed by
human feet. They forced their way through the forests, opening paths
and building very large bridges of wood so disproportionately thick
that some of them are still standing today and are called 'Bridges of
Cortes.' Cortes and his followers suffered hunger, bruises, illnesses,
hard roads, worse lodgings, and other insupportable trials, so that to
tell them all entire books would be needed."

Cortes Arrives at Izancanac. "Don Fernando Cortes and those who were
with him arrived at the city of Izancanac[3.4] in the Province of
Acalan. There was discovered the plot which King Quatemoz, the Lord of
Tacuba, and other Mexican chiefs had made between themselves to attack
the Spaniards while they were crossing some river or marsh. When all
the Spaniards were killed, the Mexicans planned to recover their
dominions, breaking forth from their captivity. Having held a trial
(although some say he did not do so) Cortes gave orders that Quatemoz
should be hanged, together with the Lord of Tacuba, his cousin, and
other principal Mexicans. Eight, it is said, were hung...."

Description of a Large Town. "When these events had been completed, and
while the army was marching forward over bad roads, they came upon a
pueblo very large and new, in which the houses had been but recently
completed. The place was surrounded with very thick stockades of logs
and of very sturdy planks. Before the entrance were deep trenches. This
wall encircled the town in two rings, both very high. One was like a
barbican, having towers and loopholes for the archers. In another
place, but near the town, on some lofty rocks, were their watch-towers
of stone, worked by hand and provided with adequate railings. On
another side was a deep marsh, and all these things served to make the
pueblo a great fortress.

"The Spaniards entered the town without hindrance and found it deserted
and lonely. The Indians, its inhabitants, receiving news that the
Spaniards were coming, had withdrawn to some large marshes some
distance from the pueblo. On inspecting the town and entering the
houses our men found in all and each one of them a great quantity of
turkeys all prepared and dressed for eating by those Indians. Besides
these things they also found much corn-bread and other supplies such as
drinks, and a dish made of meat mixed with corn-bread called by those
Indians _tamales_. They were all amazed at seeing such a novelty, and
they were, at the same time, delighted to see so much good food, as
they had suffered so much from hunger and lack of nourishment."

The Spaniards Suspect Treachery. "All this set them to thinking,
because it was such a new state of affairs, and they were puzzled to
know the plans of the Indians of that town, as much because of the
novelty of the situation as because they found in the middle of the
village a house full of lances, bows, arrows, _macanas_, and other arms
used by those Indians in their wars. And going out to see if any troops
were to be found outside of the village, they found no one, nor was
there, in the _milpas_ or farms, a single grain of maize or any other
vegetable; so that the Spaniards were all the more confounded, and they
marveled, asking one another what it could mean.

"While the Spaniards were in this suspense, fifteen Indians came from
outside the town who, as it was learned afterward, were very important
men; and when they arrived they went into the presence of Don Fernando
Cortes. Placing their hands upon the ground, and kissing the earth with
great humility, and half weeping, they begged Cortes to favor them by
not burning their village, for they had come there but recently to
fortify themselves against some other Indians called Lacandones,[3.5]
who were their enemies. These had been making a cruel war upon them,
killing many men and leveling and burning their villages, which they
had formerly had on the plains, as the Spaniards would see for

"Don Fernando Cortes assured them by means of the Indian, Doña Marina
(whom he had had with him ever since he entered Tabasco), that no harm
should be done them, nor would he permit any of his men to misuse
anything which was theirs. Thereupon the Indians recovered their
upright position, and then Don Fernando Cortes asked, with great
curiosity, why so many turkeys and fowls and all sorts of food had been
prepared for his coming."

The Indians Explain why their Town was Deserted. "The Indians replied
promptly that it was because they had been expecting their mortal
enemies, the Lacandones, who were coming to attack them. If the
Lacandones won in battle, they knew that all their property and fowls
would be taken away. If the outcome was of that sort, they did not want
their enemies to enjoy and avail themselves of their goods, so they had
intended to eat them themselves. For if they should conquer the
Lacandones in battle, they would go to their villages and take away all
that they had, so that they would feel no lack of what they had already
eaten in their own houses."

Cortes Takes Leave of them in a Friendly Spirit. "Don Fernando Cortes
said to them that he was much grieved by their wars and quarrels, and
that, because he was forced to continue his journey, he could not stop,
nor could he aid them and defend them against those enemies of theirs.
But, he added, had the situation been otherwise, he would have done so,
and they would see, what they could not well imagine, how he would
leave the Lacandones well punished and these Indians in peace and
security in their houses."

"With these affectionate speeches, and seeing that no harm was done to
them, those Indians were greatly contented. They gave thanks, after
their fashion, to Cortes and his men, and at the same time, they gave
him guides so that he might proceed with his army, which he did. Other
large pueblos were encountered which, like this one from which they
started out, they called the Mazotecas. This is the same as Villages of
Deer, and the name was given because of the large numbers there are in
that level country whence they set out."

The Deer Hunt. "The deer ran away so little and were so free from
fright at the men that our soldiers on horseback were able to come up
with them and kill them as they wished. In this way the men killed many
of them and ate them for some days after. The Indian guides, who were
showing the Spaniards everything and all those villages of their people
which had been burned and razed, on being asked why it was that having
so many deer at hand, they permitted them to be so tame. The Indians
replied that in their villages they held the deer to be gods, for their
greatest idol had appeared to them in that form and commanded them not
to kill the deer, nor frighten them. They had executed this command,
and as a result the deer were not easily scared, nor did they flee from
the soldiers, and they were very numerous...."

"Cortes and his men set forth from these villages of the Mazotecas and
from the province of Acalan (which in after years, during the conquest
of the Kingdom of Yucatan, was subjected by Captain Francisco de Tamayo
Pacheco, who had come out in quest of it from the City of Merida)...."

The Army of Cortes Proceeds on its Way. "Once more the army of Cortes
went forward through rough and broken country. As always, he sent
camp-scouts ahead on horseback and single soldiers afoot; these
encountered two Indians from another village further on, who were out
hunting and were carrying a large lion [puma, jaguar?] as well as a
great quantity of iguanas, which are a kind of small serpent and very
good to eat. These Indians led them [the army] to their village, and
from there the army took its road towards the mountains, asking all
whom they met whether they had seen bearded men like them, for they
were seeking them. Some of the Indians who were questioned replied,
saying: That those of whom they spoke were ahead, and were journeying
in the same direction...."

The Lake. "When the army left the place where it had spent the night,
and while it was mounting the slope of the mountains, but a short time
had elapsed when those in the vanguard began to catch glimpses of great
Laguna, in the middle of which was an island with a large town, which,
as was afterwards learned, was the chief place of that whole Province
of Itza. [These were the people who had withdrawn one hundred years
before from Yucatan, as has been said.] And it was possible to enter
this town only by means of boats."

They Capture an Indian. "The camp-scouts had by now reached the shore
of the Lake itself, and they brought to Cortes an Indian whom one Pedro
de Ayuda, one of the explorers, had taken from a canoe. Then Cortes
asked this captured Indian (as he did to all the rest) whether or not
the Spaniards or Bearded Men, like him and his men, had been through
that region or were still in it, as he had been given to understand was
the case.

"The Indian replied that in that town nothing was known of such men as
they. He added, that if they wished to go to the town, there were some
cultivated fields near the largest arm of the Lake where they could
take many boats from the laborers who were tilling their fields, and he
offered to lead them thither if it pleased them that he should do so.

"Don Fernando Cortes, with twelve crossbowmen, followed this Indian on
foot by a very bad path which, after passing for a long distance
through swamps with mud up to the knee, at length led to the water. And
because the party had delayed a long time in reaching the farms, on
account of the badness of the path, it was discovered by the laborers,
who, judging that harm was intended, fled into their canoes and made
for the island in the Lake, rowing as hard as possible.

"The army encamped in the farms on the shore of the Lake and fortified
itself very well, because that Indian guide had told Cortes that the
Itzas were a people well skilled in war and that they were feared by
the whole region. And also this Indian told the Spaniards that if they
would let him go he would cross to the city in his canoe and would
speak to Canek, Lord of those Lands of the Itzas, and would tell him of
their intention, and of their arrival."

The Indian is Sent to Tayasal. "Cortes acceded to this request, and
gave orders that he should be set free. At midnight the Indian returned
to the army. As it was two leagues from mainland to the Island or
_Peten_ (as they called it), he could not return earlier. He brought
with him two chiefs of that City who came to visit Cortes by order of
Canek, who had told them to see on his behalf the Captain General of
that army and learn from his lips what it was he wished."

Some Indians Come to Cortes from Tayasal. "Don Fernando Cortes gave
these personages some Spanish soldiers as hostages, so that the Canek
or Lord might be able to come to the Royal camp. And after Cortes had
treated them with so much courtesy, kindness, and graciousness that
those Indians were delighted with him, as well as with the Spaniards'
beards, clothes, arms, and horses, he took leave of them and they went
away. And on the following day Canek came to the camp with thirty-two
chiefs and many _Zamaguales_ or common people, who came in their
canoes, bringing with them the Spanish hostages and without showing any
signs of fear or of hostility."

Canek himself Comes and is Courteously Received. "Don Fernando Cortes
received Canek with much love and urbanity. After saluting one another,
and speaking by means of interpreters, Cortes, to honor him and to show
Canek how the Christians adored their God, had a mass sung with all
solemnity to the sound of the reed instruments, sackbuts, or flageolets
which he had with him, and he had out his best table ornaments, so as
to treat Canek with great majesty."

Canek Hears Mass and Promises to Put away his Idols. "Canek listened to
the mass with great attention and took good notice of the Ceremonies,
decorations, and the altar-service, and he derived much pleasure from
what was shown him. He praised highly the music, saying that such a
thing had never been heard before, and those who were with him were
astonished and fascinated at seeing and hearing it.

"And when the religious and clerics had finished the divine office,
they preached to Canek, urging him to put away his idols and see how
good was the Law of God.... They told Canek that his idols were but
pieces of stone or old wood harboring demons and that he was deceived
in them and that all who believed in them would lose their souls and
would be carried to the Infernal regions.

"Canek replied that he would willingly leave his Idols and that he
wished to know the manner in which they venerated the True God of whom
they told him and whom they declared unto him, and he asked for a cross
in order to place it in his village. Don Fernando Cortes told him that
soon it would be given to him, as it had been done in the other pueblos
through which they had passed. The Padres said the same and added that
as soon as possible men should be sent to him to instruct him and all
his vassals in the Faith of Christ our Lord, for at present it could
not be done, as many important things were pressing....

"Don Fernando Cortes made to Canek a very full and eloquent speech
about the Emperor Charles V and his many dominions and his great
sovereign power; Cortes begged Canek and urged him with affectionate
arguments to be the vassal of the Emperor, as were already the Lords of
the great Kingdom of Mexico and many others. Canek replied, saying that
he thus gave himself up; for, many years before, men of Tabasco, when
passing through his lands into the wilderness, had told him that
certain Strangers had arrived at their villages and that they fought
much and well, for they had conquered the Tabascans in three battles.

"And Cortes told Canek that he himself was the Captain of those of whom
the Tabascans spoke, and that he had conquered them and subjected them
to his will. Thereupon the conversation came to a close and they all
sat down to eat with much ostentatious magnificence. And it was
suitable that it should be so, in order that those Indians might come
to esteem and fear the Spaniards, and thus know how majestic was their

"Canek ordered his vassals to bring from the canoes birds, fishes,
cakes, honey, and gold (though only a little of the latter), and beads
of red snail-shells, which the Indians value highly. They ate, and
Cortes gave Canek a shirt, and a cap of black velvet, and some little
things of iron, such as scissors and knives.

"Once again Don Fernando Cortes asked Canek about some Spaniards of his
who should be on the coast of the sea, not far from there. To this
Canek replied that he indeed had news of them and that he would give
Cortes a man who should lead him to where they were without wandering
from the road, although it was rough and bad on account of the great
forests, rivers, and marshes that had to be traversed; once the sea was
reached the going would not be so difficult."

Cortes Goes to Tayasal with Canek. "Don Fernando Cortes thanked him
very much, but told him that the horses could not go in the canoes in
order to cross the Lake and continue their journey. Canek replied that
after a matter of three leagues the Lake would be left behind, and he
begged that while the army was marching around by land Don Fernando
Cortes should come with him to his city to see him burn the idols. Don
Fernando Cortes did so, against the advice of all his captains, who
held that he was of great foolhardiness and overconfidence."

The Itzas Give Cortes News of Olid. "Cortes embarked with thirty
crossbowmen, Canek, and the chief Indians for the town on the Island,
which town was very large, and from a long way off they saw the
whiteness of its many houses and adoratoria. And on reaching the town
Canek received Cortes with great rejoicing, regaling him, as well as he
could, with a present of poor gold of little value (for it is not found
in that country) and some mantles. And there the Indians informed
Cortes of where the two villages of the Bearded Men (as they call the
Spaniards) were. They said that one of them was called Pueblo de Nito
(Ferns) and was on the coast to the north, while the other was called
Pueblo de Naco and was inland.

"This news brought great joy to Cortes and his men on account of the
great desire they all had to find the Spaniards in search of whom they
had undertaken this perilous journey.

"Those of the army who were marching along the shore of the Lake went
with great care, being suspicious lest the affability of Canek was but
a piece of premeditated craftiness to enable him to perpetrate some

Cortes Takes Leave of Canek, Leaving Morzillo. "But things did not take
such a course as they had feared. Indeed, Don Fernando Cortes was ahead
of time (at the meeting place) with all his crossbowmen, and when he
joined with the main body of his army he rid the rest of all the
anxiety they had suffered during his absence.

"He took leave of Canek and the Itza Indians who had accompanied him to
the mainland. He left in their charge his horse Morzillo, which had
been injured in the ankle, charging them to take good care of him, and
to cure him. Cortes said that he would send after the horse from the
place where he should meet those Spaniards for whom he was seeking.
Such horses were, he said, esteemed highly, for it was a good horse."

Idols not Burnt. "There was no burning of the idols, nor anything else
of the sort, in that city of Tayasal (as they call it) or Chief City of
Canek. Some say, however, that the idols were burnt in the presence of
Cortes, but in truth, from the time when he left his horse among the
Itza Infidels, they had a worse and more abominable idol than they had
had before, as we shall see later...."[3.6]

Cortes Arrives in Honduras. "With ... innumerable other excessive
trials, at the end of many days, they arrived at Honduras and met the
Spaniards in search of whom they had come, in the villages of Naco and
Nito, which Gil Gonzalez de Avila and Christoval de Olid had settled
with Spaniards. The town of Nito was founded by Avila and was called
San Gil de Buena Vista. All that happened is to be found and read in
the Histories of the Indies and it does not concern this History.

"Only this concerns us: on account of a variety of circumstances Don
Fernando Cortes neither returned himself through the land of the Itzas,
nor did he send after his horse, nor did he send the Missionary Fathers
to the Itzas, as he had offered to do.... So that that wretched little
ruler, Lord of the Itzas or Canek, and all his subjects, remained as
barbarous and idolatrous as they were before, and even daily grew more
so, as well as becoming more horrible, cruel, atrocious, and
formidable. And in this state we must leave them until the time comes
for us once more to speak of them...."

Though this account of the entrada made by Cortes into the country of
the Itzas seems full enough, it differs, nevertheless, from some of the

Comparison of Villagutierre with Other Authorities. In the first place
Villagutierre tells us that the motive which led Cortes into sending an
expedition to Honduras was that "it was a very good land," and when,
because of Olid's treachery, it became necessary for him to go thither
himself, Villagutierre says he took four hundred Spaniards and thirty
horses. Bernal Diaz (vol. iv, p. 283 ff.) differs widely from this
account in several respects. He says that Cortes hoped to find a
passage to the Spice Islands, and that it was for that purpose that he
sent out Olid, on whom he believed he could rely. Olid, though brave
enough, was not a wise or faithful man. He fell a victim to the
machinations of Diego Velazquez, Governor of Cuba, who was a mortal
enemy of Cortes.

According to Cogolludo (lib. i, cap. 13) it was very much against the
advice of his associates in Mexico that Cortes went in person to
Honduras. He tells us that the vanguard of the Spaniards, after
capturing ten Indian men and two Indian women, who were treated kindly,
sent one of their canoes to the island of Tayasal with six Indians and
two Spaniards, who were to give Canek some small Castilian presents. As
a result of this, when the main body of the army, under Cortes himself,
reached the shore of the lake, Canek and several of his chiefs were
waiting for them. The rest of the account of Cogolludo is the same as
that of Villagutierre.

In his Fifth Letter, Cortes furnishes some interesting details with
which we will complete our account of the first entrada into the Itza
territory. He tells us (The Letters of Cortes to Charles V, MacNutt's
translation, vol. ii, p. 259) that Apospolon. Lord of Izancanac, first
pretended to be dead, being in fear of Cortes, but that later he took
the Spaniards to Izancanac, which was "quite large, and has many
mosques." This Apospolon was a sort of merchant prince and had
widespread trading connections. At Nito, where Cortes met Gil Gonzalez
de Avila, a whole quarter "was peopled with his agents under command of
one of his brothers." The articles of trade were, of course, only such
things as cocoa, mantles, red shells, and dyes. As the people of
Izancanac were near neighbors of the Itzas, and as the latter lay
between them and Nito, it seems as if it must have been almost
inevitable that the two tribes, the subjects of Apospolon and those of
Canek, should have had much in common.

When Cortes left Izancanac he passed through the fortified village, the
name of which no one mentions, and later came to that of Tiac, which
was still larger and very well built. From the province of Mazatlan (in
which was Tiac) to that of Taiza (Itza) was a matter of four nights. At
length he reached the lake, which he thought to be an arm of the sea,
and from the shore he saw Tayasal. He found that his scouts had
captured an Indian, who gave valuable information. From this point the
account of Cortes agrees absolutely with that of Villagutierre, even to
the number of the crossbowmen (twelve) whom Cortes took with him.

Now that we have compared all the important accounts of this entrada we
must summarize our impressions. In the first place it is clear enough
that a possibility may exist of Villagutierre having copied Cogolludo
minutely. In the second place it is equally clear that in those
instances where Villagutierre puts aside Cogolludo he draws from
someone else of even more authority. Therefore we may safely believe
that in quoting the accounts of various events given by Villagutierre
we shall be availing ourselves of the best possible information.

Canek's Attitude toward Cortes. At the time when Cortes was at Tayasal
(1525) a tolerant attitude toward the white men was prevalent. Far from
resenting the proposed change in religion, the Canek of that day seems
rather to have welcomed the new faith, and one can readily believe that
had Cortes been able to do all that he promised, an early
Christianization of the Itzas would have taken place. Instead, however,
as we shall see, their idolatrous ways were to continue for many
decades, and their attitude was to suffer a great change which, we must
concede, is largely to be accounted for by Spanish brutality and bad

The foregoing is all in harmony with what Gomara says. He especially
emphasizes the friendly attitude of Canek. (Gomara, 1826, vol. ii, p.
136 ff.)[3.7]

                               CHAPTER IV

                    HIS SON, AND THE ARRIVAL OF THE
                         FRANCISCANS, 1526-1542

Francisco de Montejo and his Son. Although northern Yucatan was reduced
to the condition of an orderly Spanish possession some one hundred and
fifty years before the Peten region, it was done, nevertheless, only at
the cost of many years of desperate struggling. Two men, Don Francisco
de Montejo the Elder and Don Francisco de Montejo the Younger, his son,
were the leading figures in the undertaking. The elder Montejo seems to
have been a man of gentle birth and of fairly good property. He came to
America about 1514 under Pedrarias Dávila. Soon after that, however, he
left Dávila and settled in Cuba, where he served under Velazquez. He
also served, a few years later, under Cortes in Mexico.

Soon after the granting of a patent or general order Francisco de
Montejo the Elder set forth on his undertaking. Several officials were
appointed to accompany him. Alonso Dávila was Contador (Paymaster),
Pedro de Lima was Tesorero (Treasurer), and Hernando Moreno de Quito
was Veedor de las Fundiciones (Overseer of the Smelters). (Cogolludo,
p. 73.)[4.1] Of these three offices the last was a sinecure by reason
of the absence of mines in Yucatan. Dávila had taken an active part in
the conquest of Mexico.

Montejo's Preparations and Sacrifices. The expedition numbered some
four hundred soldiers, in addition to the crews who manned the four
ships. The expense, all borne by Montejo, was heavy. To furnish the
necessary arms, horses, and munitions the Adelantado found himself
obliged to sell a Mayorazgo (entailed estate) yielding one thousand
ducats a year ($2500, equal to about $10,000 of modern money). The
seamen received pay, but the rest of the expedition received no money,
depending on their fortune in the New World for remuneration. Only one
cleric, Francisco Hernandez, accompanied the expedition; he was its
chaplain. He later attributed the failure of the expedition to the lack
of priests.

He Sets out. Setting out in 1527, the expedition arrived at Cozumel,
where a landing was effected. There, as elsewhere, the Spaniards found
themselves at a great disadvantage in having no interpreter. By various
makeshifts, however, they made themselves understood, and poor Montejo,
misled by the seeming docility of the natives, flattered himself that
he had an easy task before him.

Montejo and his Men Go along the Shore of Yucatan. Skirting the eastern
shore of Yucatan, the fleet arrived at a point near the first site of
Valladolid, where all the soldiers landed, leaving the seamen to guard
the ships and supplies. What seemed a sufficient number of horses,
munitions, and provisions was taken. As usual on such occasions, the
first thing to be done was to take formal possession of the land for
the King of Castile. Accordingly appropriate ceremonies were carried
through, and the standard bearer, Gonzalo Nieto, unfurled the royal
banner. Cogolludo is very definite as to the region in which the
conquest of Yucatan had its beginning. Valladolid,[4.2] not Bakhalal or
Campeche, is, he says, the site of the first operations. He quotes as
his authority on this point the Bachiller Valencia, a native of
Valladolid, whose Relación was made in 1639. Coni, a village in the
province of Choaca,[4.3] was reached. Some of the chiefs of the region
came to see the Adelantado and were well received; they, however, were
treacherously minded, but their attempt to kill or injure Montejo was
foiled. From Coni the Spaniards went to the village of Choaca, where
their real trials began.

Description of the Campaign. In their early wanderings the Spaniards
suffered greatly from lack of proper water and from bad roads. Often
they found the villages deserted by their inhabitants or, still worse,
bristling with armed warriors. Led by an Indian whom they had picked up
at Coni, Montejo and his followers traveled through the province of
Choaca to a place called Aké. On the way they ran into an ambush of
armed Indians. The weapons of these latter consisted of arrows hardened
by fire, lances with sharp flint points, two-handed swords of very hard
wood, and shields made of very large tortoise shells adorned with snail
shells and antlers; their bodies were naked save for breech clouts of
flimsy material, and they were all painted. Since the Indians were as
stubborn as they were brave, and as the Spaniards found themselves at a
disadvantage, being unable to use their horses properly on account of
the rough country, the fight was a fierce one; the Adelantado himself
acted well, showing the less experienced of his followers the best way
to combat the Indians. The Spaniards, greatly outnumbered, kept up the
fight all day, receiving many lance wounds in their faces and bodies;
many died; more were seriously wounded. The horses and bloodhounds also
suffered greatly. Only after a second day of fighting did the Indians
finally flee, leaving twelve hundred of their companions dead behind
them. This first victory over the Indians took place in the last weeks
of 1527. Cogolludo dwells at great length on the errors of Herrera
(Dec. ix, lib. iii, cap. 3) concerning the founding of Tihoo or Merida
and of Chichen Itza. According to Herrera, Montejo went to Tihoo, where
he came into contact with the Cheles, who showed him Chichen Itza,
seven leagues away. The Tutul Xiu, Lords of Mani, were then ruling
there, and with them, Herrera says, the Spaniards made a peaceful
arrangement. All this, according to Cogolludo, is wrong. In the opinion
of Cogolludo, events were as follows. After the battle of Aké, Montejo
determined to proceed cautiously and to endeavor by peaceful means to
win over the natives to obedience to the king. Slowly he made his way
to Chichen Itza, which, by reason of its great buildings, seemed to him
a suitable place for one of the two fortresses he was to build. Having
fortified himself against attacks, he set about subduing the country.
He managed to win the friendship of the Indians of that neighborhood. A
village of Spaniards with houses built after the native plan was
erected. The dwellings were made of vertical wooden logs and had
palm-leaf roofs. One hundred and seventy Spaniards were left in the new
settlement. One of the first things done was to divide the land among
them. Cogolludo thinks that the name first given to the new village was
that of Salamanca. Misled by the seeming peacefulness of the Indians,
Montejo determined to divide them up into _encomiendas_. The plan was
carried out, to the secret disgust of the Indians, who determined to
get free as soon as an opportunity offered.

Dávila and Vazquez Search vainly for Gold in the Region of Chetemal.
From the map which Montejo had with him it was learned that there were
gold mines in the vicinity of Bakhalal, which place the Indians called
Vaymil or Chetemal. Because no sign of gold had been seen in that part
of the country through which they had hitherto been, the soldiers were
getting downhearted, and Montejo determined to send a party in search
of mines. Captain Alonso Dávila, the Royal Paymaster, with fifty
Spaniards and sixteen horses, was sent to found a village at a place
called Tulma (Tuloom?) in the province of Cochva. A mine expert, one
Francisco Vazquez, accompanied the party in the hopes of earning the
reward of three hundred ducats which Montejo offered to the discoverer
of gold mines. When Tulma was reached it was found to be entirely
unsuitable for a village, and the explorers went on to the now deserted
town of Chablé, which was a place reported to have gold mines. The
cacique of Chablé received them well; but the cacique of Chetemal was
bellicose and would give no aid when Montejo sent to find out whether
there were gold mines at Bakhalal, a town in his domain. With twenty
men and eight horses the Adelantado set forth to punish this chief. At
the end of a hard journey he found Chetemal deserted.

Foundation of Villa Real de Chetemal. Chetemal, however, seemed to have
been admirably adapted for the site of a town, and so, when the rest of
his men, together with some Indians, had arrived from Chablé, the town
of Villa Real de Chetemal was established by Dávila. The cacique of
Chetemal was treacherous in his intentions; several skirmishes took
place between his men and the Spaniards, in which the latter, through
superior arms, were the victors. An attempt made by Dávila to get to
Montejo a report of all that had been done in the last two months was
foiled by some Indians, who killed Dávila's messengers.

Hardships of those who Were at Chichen. Meanwhile those Spaniards who
had remained behind with the Adelantado in Chichen Itza were also in
grave straits, not only because of the hostility and ill-will of the
Indians, but also because of the lack of various things they had
brought from Spain but had been left behind in their ships which were
not now to be reached. Their condition daily grew worse.

Dávila and his men wandered back and forth between Villa Real and
Chablé (where the Indians were more or less friendly) in search of gold
and in the hope of establishing their power. At length even the Indians
of Chablé grew weary of them, and the Spaniards under Dávila set off on
their journeys once more. Finally they came to Bakhalal, where some
seemingly friendly Indian chiefs offered to carry letters to Montejo.
They, however, like all the rest, were traitorous, and the Indians of
the province of Cochva were so turbulent that Dávila determined to make
war on them. To do this he had the help of the chief men of Vaymil, and
he hoped for that of those of Chablé. When he returned to the latter
place, he found that it had rebelled against his authority.

Continual Misfortunes. In the events which follow one note, misfortune,
makes itself heard above the confusion. Battles, skirmishes, and
murders filled the lives of Dávila and his men. Their wanderings lay
mainly in the region of the province of Bakhalal. (Cogolludo, lib. ii,
cap. viii.) Chablé and Villa Real de Chetemal were the places they most
often visited. In many cases villages were found to be deserted. All
through the discouraging period Dávila was seeking for some means of
letting Montejo know the straits he was in. Once more he found Indians
whom he believed to be willing to act as messengers, and once again he
was tricked. Worse even than this was the unmistakable evidence that
the Indians were making elaborate preparations to attack Villa Real.
The fact that one of their own chiefs was being held as a hostage for
the safe delivery of the letters did not seem to deter them in the
least. One fortunate circumstance, however, does appear in this mass of
misfortunes: Dávila was forewarned of his danger, for he sent out
Francisco Vazquez with ten men in seven canoes to get supplies. Two of
the party were killed by Indians; the remainder returned to Villa Real
with at least a small amount of supplies.

If Dávila and his men were badly off in Villa Real, Montejo and his
party at Chichen Itza were equally if not more precariously situated.
The chief causes of their misfortunes were the lack of men, and of the
most common necessities, the want of certainty as to the best course to
be followed, and the knowledge on the part of the Indians that the
number of the Spaniards was daily growing less on account of the
ceaseless skirmishes. Food was so scarce that parties had to be formed
on purpose to make sallies from the fortifications in search of it. As
Cogolludo (p. 86) graphically puts it, "Their dinners now cost them
their life-blood."

Although, as we have already seen, centralized power was at an end long
since in the peninsula, a revival of the old-time feeling of unity is
to be seen in the determination the Mayas had to get rid of the
Spaniards. Cogolludo (p. 87) says, "For this purpose almost all the
people of that land had made an agreement, so that the multitude [of
Indians] was very great. The Indians who led the attack were of a
vigorous and proud nature, and so, confident in their great number,
they surrounded the Spaniards, who, in no direction, could be reached
by help." At length, seeing themselves faced with the choice of dying
by inches from starvation or of being put to death fighting their
enemies bravely, the Spaniards determined to make a sally when as good
an opportunity as possible should present itself. Both sides were
desperate: the invaders were fighting for their lives; the Indians for
their liberty. The havoc wrought by the superior arms of the Spaniards
was, however, more than counterbalanced by the overwhelming numbers of
the Indians. At last, seeing the utter hopelessness of further efforts,
Montejo gave the signal to retreat. One hundred and fifty soldiers died
at the hands of the Indians in this engagement. An anecdote which
Cogolludo tells as an explanation of the unity and determination of the
Indians is a possible light upon the cause of their resistance. A
cacique named Cupul, in the early days of the Spanish occupation of
Chichen Itza, feigned friendliness toward the invaders and went about
freely among them. One day, when Montejo was off his guard, Cupul went
up behind him, snatched his sword away, and tried to kill him.
Fortunately a Spaniard, one Bias Gonzalez, cut off Cupul's arm just in
time to prevent the blow. It was to avenge the injury thus done to a
chief that the Indians shut off the Spaniards' food supply.

Chichen Itza and Villa Real both Deserted. For our purpose it is
unnecessary to give further details of the first expedition of Montejo.
We need only say that both the settlements made by the Spaniards,
Chichen Itza and Villa Real de Chetemal, were deserted for the time
being. Cogolludo, after reviewing the various accounts of the further
wanderings of Montejo and his son, Francisco Montejo the Younger, comes
to the conclusion that the son remained at a port called Zilam, while
his father went by sea to Campeche (Kin Pech), where he remained till
1534 without entirely deserting Yucatan. He did go, however, to New
Spain in an effort to get more men so that he might continue the
conquest. Those whom he already had remained at Campeche. Cogolludo's
authority for these statements are the depositions written by Gonzalo
Nieto and Bias Gonzalez, who were two soldiers of the Adelantado's

Dávila Goes to Honduras. Captain Alonso Dávila stayed in Villa Real de
Chetemal until 1532, constantly suffering from hunger and his struggles
with the natives. His efforts to communicate with the Adelantado were
constant. Finally it was decided to move to some place nearer Honduras.
As no suitable place for a settlement was found, Dávila and his
followers went to the town of Trujillo in Honduras. On the journey they
lacked for every comfort and even for proper food. When they reached
Trujillo they found the people there little better off than they.
Dávila agreed with Andrés de Zerezeda, who was governing Trujillo, that
a vessel should be built to be sent out in search of the Adelantado and
also for things from Spain. At about this time two ships from Cuba
brought news of the discovery of Peru, and in one of these ships Dávila
and his men went off. Ultimately they rejoined the Adelantado at

Even after he was rejoined by Dávila and his followers at Campeche,
Montejo still had plenty of trouble with the natives. Like all the
rest, the Indians of Campeche were bitterly opposed to the Spaniards
and gave them much trouble. It is pleasant to know that Queen Juana
recognized the sacrifices made by Montejo in a cedula given at Ocaña on
April 24, 1534.

The Elder Montejo Goes to Tabasco in 1535. Nothing daunted by all his
misfortunes, the Adelantado bought some ships and gathered some
soldiers to continue his conquest. In New Spain, also, he obtained new
supplies of munitions and other necessary things. Apparently Montejo
the Elder was ordered to pacify the province of Tabasco, which was in
revolt. As a result of this Tabasco became, and for a long time
remained, a part of the province of Yucatan. The ships, under Gonzalo
Nieto, went on to Campeche to get all the Spaniards there were in
Yucatan and bring them to Tabasco, for the subjugating of that province
was found to be more difficult than had at first been thought. The
motive which led Montejo thus to make sure of his grasp on Tabasco
speaks well for his generalship: he knew only too well how few were the
men available as fighters, and so he wished to make sure that there
were no revolted provinces in his rear at the time when he should begin
again his attack on Yucatan.

In the year 1535 the Spaniards deserted Yucatan proper, retiring to
Champoton[4.4] and to Tabasco.

The Franciscans Enter Yucatan, 1535. At this juncture a very important
incident took place: the Religious of the Order of San Francisco
entered Yucatan. (Cogolludo, lib. ii, cap. 12.) At that time,
1534-1535, Antonio de Mendoza[4.5] was in possession of the post of
Viceroy of New Spain, and he had long before received orders from Queen
Juana signed at Madrid, September 22, 1530, to the effect that
Religious must at once be sent to Yucatan to fulfill the conditions
under which that province had been granted to Francisco de Montejo. As
there were no Religious in Yucatan there was nothing for Mendoza to do
but send some from his own dominions. When the project was made known
it was answered by Fray Jacobo de Testera, who, although he was the
occupant of a high post in Mexico, offered to go to Yucatan to
evangelize the country. In 1531 he, with Fray Lorencio de Bienvenida
and two others, went to Tabasco. On March 18 of the same year they
reached Champoton. Having asked leave of the natives to enter, the
Mexican Indians in the party were welcomed by those of Champoton. The
beginning was fortunate enough; the end of the mission was unfortunate.
The cause of the change was the resentment the Indians felt against the
Padres, who burned up their idols. Campeche was the farthest point from
Mexico that they reached. (Remesal, lib. v, cap. 6.) Disgruntled by
their failure, the Padres finally returned to Mexico. Cogolludo is very
explicit as regards the exaggeration of Spanish cruelty by some
writers, notably Remesal, Las Casas, and others.

In 1536 another band of friars, led by Fray Antonio de Ciudad-Rodrigo,
preached in Coazacoalco, Santa Maria de la Victoria de Tabasco,
Xicalango, Champoton, and Campeche, returning to New Spain two years

Renewal of the Subjection of Yucatan by Montejo, 1537. Cogolludo (lib.
iii, cap. 1) expatiates upon the difficulty of setting an accurate date
for the renewal of the pacification of Yucatan. It is plain enough,
however, that Montejo wisely decided to begin this time with Tabasco,
on which he already had a hold. This was accomplished with the aid of
Diego de Contreras with a ship, men, and supplies. The task was
completed by 1537. In all his undertakings Montejo seems to have been
hampered by a scarcity of men, which may, as Cogolludo suggests, be
accounted for by the recent discovery of Peru, with its alleged great
wealth. There is some doubt as to whether Francisco de Montejo or his
son led this second expedition; Cogolludo suggests that the former may
have gone to Yucatan in person to start the work and that he may then
have returned to Tabasco, leaving his son in charge.

Hostility of the Indians. Champoton was the place selected for the
Spanish headquarters. The camp was established there in 1537.
Mochcovoh, Halach Uinic of the place, treated them well at first.
(Landa, pp. 82-83.) Before very long, however, the latent hostility of
the Indians burst out and there was a battle which resulted in the
flight of the Indians. The Spaniards foolishly neglected to follow up
this advantage, preferring to bury their not numerous dead. In the days
which followed there was a cessation of hostilities, which seems to
have misled the Spaniards, who thought that the Indians were cowed. As
a matter of fact they were forming a great army composed of warriors
from many neighboring districts. In the battle which was soon
precipitated the Spaniards were driven to their ships, and the royal
camp was sacked. Stung and enraged by the insults of the seemingly
victorious Indians, the Spaniards turned and faced them so boldly that
the victory, in the end, was a Spanish one. Most of the Spaniards went
home to their lands in New Spain after this battle; nineteen, however,
remained at Champoton waiting for an opportunity to proceed with the
conquest. Several of the names of these intrepid adventurers are given
by Cogolludo (p. 117). They all speak, In their Relaciones, of the
younger Montejo as a good leader.

Matters continued for some time in very much the same way as
heretofore. Towns were founded; troubles with the Indians occurred; the
Adelantado went back and forth between Tabasco and Champoton; Don
Francisco Montejo the Younger went to New Spain to get more soldiers,
things went on in a fairly satisfactory manner until 1539, when, with
some twenty cavalrymen from New Spain, Don Francisco went to Campeche.
At about this time the chief command and the powers laid upon him by
the king were passed by the Adelantado Francisco de Montejo to his son
of the same name. The Instructions of the Adelantado are so important
that we will give an extract of them paragraph by paragraph as
described by Cogolludo.

The Elder Montejo's Instructions to his Son

1. You, my son Don Francisco de Montejo, are to do the following in
your conquest of Yucatan and Cozumel and in your fulfillment of the
powers which I hold from His Majesty.

2. You are to see that your men live like good Christians and speak
well of God, and you are to punish wrong-doers.

3. On your arrival at San Pedro (Champoton) you are to punish any who
may have enslaved Indians against their will, and you are to thank the
Indians of Champoton for having treated our men so well for two and
one-half years.

4. Leaving the Indians of Champoton well contented, and taking with you
some of their chief men, you will go to Campeche, where you will tell
the leaders that you have come to take that land in His Majesty's name
and mine in order to win it for the Holy Faith. You will punish those
who will have no knowledge of God and who will not obey His Majesty.
Those who do come into the faith and are obedient you will favor and
shelter. Then, taking two chiefs of the said _Pueblo_ and two of that
of Champoton, you will let the rest go home; thereupon you will enter
the province of Acanul, taking great care to do no harm to the natives.

5. In this province you will endeavor to meet a Lord called Vua
Chancan, who has always been a friend of the Christians and most
helpful in time of war. You will treat him very well, and will try to
find out through the other leaders of the province whether they wish
war. And if they do, you will give them to understand that you come in
peace and that if they receive you in His Majesty's name and mine they
will be well treated and favored. If they do not yield you will have to
make war upon them.

6. Having arrived at the _Pueblo_ of Tihoo, which is in the province of
Quepeche, you will establish there a _Cabildo_ and Government if it
seems to you that the region is such as to favor it. There you will
labor to bring the whole land to peace, and if some hold back you will
make war upon them in fulfillment of His Majesty's commands.

7. Afterwards you are to pacify the provinces which are to serve the
said City. They are those of Acanul, Chacan, Quepeche, Kin Chel,
Cocola, Tutul Xiu, and Kupules; these are the greatest provinces of the

8. You are to give _repartimientos_ to not more than one hundred men
because the land is large and the Indians many. This city is to be the
chief of all. Besides the _repartimientos_ which you make and besides
that which I have kept for myself, you will leave a number of villages,
without giving them permanently, for the use of persons who most
forward the service of His Majesty. It is customary to do so in new

9. And you are to make a general inspection of all that you conquer in
the provinces hereinbefore mentioned; you will especially be informed
of the number and quality of villages and houses. In each village you
will establish Spanish citizens suitable for each village. You will
also make _Cedulas_ of _encomienda_ and _repartimiento_ wherever you
think best, in fulfillment of His Majesty's command.

10. And having done all this, you will labor to see to it that all
build their houses and other buildings well, and you the first of all,
so that others may take your example. And you will endeavor to see that
the Indians are well treated and taught our Holy Catholic Faith and are
made to lose their bad habits.

11. At the same time you are to open roads to the sea and between all
the principal cities. In all this you will place all the diligence and
care possible, because I trust you. Signed in this Royal City of
Chiapa, 1540.

12. Furthermore you will grant me again the provinces of Tutul Xiu,
Techaque, Campeche and the village of Champoton.

The Younger Montejo Founds Campeche, 1540-1541. Before setting out with
the main body of his forces Don Francisco de Montejo, the son, sent
four picked men in advance to Campeche to ascertain the attitude of the
Indians. At a place called Cihoo in the province of Telchac (Cogolludo,
pp. 126, 127) these scouts found some Indians fortified. They warned
the army of the danger. A fight took place in which the Spaniards were
the victors. They took the Indians' deserted town and recuperated there
for a number of days. From Cihoo, Montejo went to Campeche, where he
established the town of San Francisco de Campeche in 1540 or 1541.

All that was necessary for the establishment of government at Campeche
having been done, it was time for Don Francisco to attend to the
founding of Merida at Tihoo. He sent his cousin with fifty-seven or so
men to conquer it; he himself remained behind. There was some trouble
with the Indians, and it transpired that the friendship of a chief
named Na Chancan, Lord of Acanul, was feigned. The Spaniards passed
through the village of Pokbac.

Tutul Xiu of Mani Offers his Aid. Having reached Tihoo, the Spaniards
established their camp on a hill near the present cathedral.
(Cogolludo, lib. iii, cap. 6.) They had not been there long when some
Indians brought the news that a large war-party was about to attack
them. The Spaniards resolved to be the aggressors; they went in search
of their enemies and beat them in a sharp fight. On his return to
Tihoo, Montejo set his followers to work building the town. They were
soon interrupted once more, this time by the arrival of the Lord of
Mani, who came in peace. Voluntarily he submitted to Spanish authority
and asked to be made a Christian. As it was the day of San Ildefonso,
Archbishop of Toledo, the new town was placed under his patronage
because of this good fortune. The date was February 23, 1541. Tutul Xiu
said that he had been won over by the valor of the Spaniards.

Accompanying the Lord of Mani (Tutul Xiu) were numerous vassals whose
names are interesting for us. I give the spelling of Cogolludo (pp.
130-131). They were: Ah Na Poot Xiu, son of Tutul Xiu; Ah Ziyah, a
governor; and Ah Kin Chi, a priest. These three are said to have been
lieutenants of Tutul Xiu at Mani itself. Others of the vassals were: Yi
Ban Can, Governor of the pueblo of TeKit; Pacab, Governor of Oxcutzcab;
Kan Caba of Panabchen, which is now deserted; Kupul of Zacalum; Nauat
of Teab; Uluac Chan Cauich, whose home is unknown; Zon Ceh of Pencuyut;
Ahau Tuyu of Muna; Xul Cumche of TipiKal; Tucuch of Mama; Zit Couat of
Chumayel. Just before he left, Tutul Xiu promised to send ambassadors
of his to other great lords in the country urging them to accept
Christianity and Spanish sovereignty. He did as he said he would.
Ambassadors were sent to the Cocomes of Zotuta and to other chiefs. The
chief of Zotuta at this time was Nachi Cocom; he killed all the
ambassadors save Ah Kin Chi, who was sent back to Mani with the news.

While the Indians of Mani and those of Zotuta were at odds, a number of
Indians from the country around Tihoo came to yield obedience to the
Spaniards. Warned by their ally, the Spaniards learned that Nachi Cocom
had made a league against the Spaniards, comprising all the people from
the country east of Tihoo as far as Ytzamal. In the end, according to
Cogolludo (p. 137), no less than seventy thousand hostile Indians came
against the Spaniards. As a result of the great battle that took place
the main part of the Indians' resistance was destroyed.

Foundation of Merida and of Valladolid, 1542-1543. On the Feast of the
Kings, January 6, 1542, Señor Don Francisco de Montejo and Rodrigo
Alvarez, scrivener, established the city of Merida with the entire
province of Quepech subject to it. Aside from its Indian population,
however, Merida had only one hundred citizens. Cogolludo (p. 137) gives
a complete list of the first Alcaldes and Regidores.

On March 13, 1542, Montejo made arrangements for the founding of the
city of Valladolid, a task which he intrusted to one of his relatives.
In May of the same year he himself set forth from Merida to subdue the
Cocomes of Zotuta or Sotuta, while at the same time another relative
went to conquer the province of Choaca, the inhabitants of which were
very warlike. After more or less resistance the Cocomes were beaten and
the city of Zotuta fell into Spanish hands.

On January 1, 1543, the Cabildo elected the second set of municipal
officers for Merida. From that time the city increased in permanency;
_solares_ or lots were given out; the Spanish rule was firm.

On May 28, 1543, the city of Valladolid in the province of Choaca was
founded and a church was established, the town being placed under the
protection of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios. Cogolludo (lib. iii, cap.
14) gives a full list of all the officers and citizens.

It is uncertain where the site of the first settlement of Valladolid
is. It is quite certain, however, that the city was soon moved from its
first position "six leagues from the sea." The reason why the site was
changed was the unhealthful locality in which the first settlement was
placed. The new site was the _pueblo_ of Zaqui, where the present city
of Valladolid now stands. In 1544 the city of Salamanca de Bacalar was
founded on or near the site of Bakhalal.

Bishop Bartolomé de las Casas Arrives in Yucatan. At this time,
1544-1545, Bishop Bartolomé de las Casas and his friars of the Order of
Santo Domingo arrived in Yucatan, going first to Campeche and later
spreading their influence through the country, the natives of which
greatly needed improvement. From this time onwards we may consider that
the Spanish rule was firmly established throughout the northern
portions of the peninsula, although, as we shall see, a long time was
still to pass before the southern regions were subjected. Montejo and
those associated with him came no nearer to the Itzas than Bakhalal.
All this is not meant to imply that there were no further revolts and
resistance against Spanish authority, for there still were sporadic
efforts on the part of the Indians to maintain their freedom. In
Valladolid, for example, in the year 1546, there was a very serious
rebellion, which was crushed only with great difficulty. (Landa, p.
93.) In general, nevertheless, Spanish power daily grew more firm, and
the power of the Religious grew constantly greater, despite hostility
from both Spaniards and Indians.

                               CHAPTER V

                              ORBITA, 1618

The next entrada was made by two members of the Franciscan Order, which
has done so much in many parts of the world to bring unbelievers into
the Church. As we shall very shortly see, their coming inaugurated a
new period in the conquest of the Itzas.

From lack of any sort of information we must assume that from 1524 to
1614 the Itzas of Tayasal or Peten were unmolested by Spaniards. There
are numerous hints of their formidableness during this period, and the
event of which we shall soon learn shows that they were not without a
certain grim humor.

The Name Canek. Cortes, when he visited Peten, found the governmental
power in the hands of a personage bearing the name or title of Canek.
Cogolludo and Villagutierre both say that this term was a name arrived
at by combining the family names of the ruler's parents. This seems to
me difficult to believe. Rather, I think the word Canek to be a title.
My reason for so thinking is this: in 1524 the ruler was called Canek,
and ninety years later the then ruler was also Canek. It could hardly
have been the same individual, and it is equally unlikely that the
parents of two rulers should have exactly the same name. It is
possible, of course, that the first king of Peten or Tayasal had the
name of Canek, derived as the two historians suggest, and that this
family name later took on the attributes of a title. The same thing
happened in the case of the Pharaohs, the Seleucidae, the Roman
emperors (Caesar), and the Incas.

While the northern part of the peninsula was being made a Spanish
dominion, the southern woodland remained unconquered, causing much
annoyance to the authorities. If we look upon the year 1545 as marking
the completion of the conquest of northern Yucatan, we may say that a
century and a half elapsed before the subjection of the Itzas was
consummated. To gain an idea of the events of the time we can do
nothing better than to give Villagutierre's account. (Lib. ii, cap. 1.)

Increased Power of the Itzas. "It is now many years that the Barbarous
Itzaex,[5.1] more than any other Nation of Infidels, have been
terrifying all those Provinces. For, since the time when D. Fernando
Cortes passed through their land and those events which have already
been told happened to them, no further attempts had been made to bring
about their Reduction or to make war upon them in order to subjugate
them, and this was on account of the prohibition given by the King in
Cedulas and orders.

"They had increased greatly in numbers, pride, cruelty and Power,
making war upon and capturing and eating others of the Gentile Nations
who dwelt in those Mountains and Forests, and also infesting, by their
Raids, the Reduced and quiet Villages on the Confines of their Lands,
and especially those of the Province of Yucatan, destroying them, and
causing the Indians and Spaniards great agitation.

"They trusted in the great Fortress and the great security they had in
their Lake, and especially at the City or Great Village of Tayassal
which was situated on the Peten or Island in the Lake; because of which
nothing molested them nor was it possible even to pass near their
Confines. And although the Governors of the Province of Yucatan
regretted this extremely, yet they did not venture to make war upon
them because the King had prohibited it by his orders and Royal
Cedulas, as has been said elsewhere."

The Mock Embassy from Tayasal. "In the year 1614, while Don Antonio de
Figueroa was governing those Provinces of Yucatan, some of the Itzaex
came to the City of Merida, feigning an embassy (?) in order to cover
other and more private ends. Or perhaps because it seemed to them that
they could thereby make derision or sport of the Spaniards, they gave
out that they had come voluntarily to render obedience to His Majesty,
and in his Name to the Governor of those Provinces, saying that their
King and Lord, Canek, and all his Vassals, were desirous of the
Friendship of the Spaniards and were coming to ask for Peace.

"As nothing was to be lost thereby the Governor believed them, and
received their obedience which they gave. He appointed Justices from
among themselves, and gave them the usual Staffs of Alcaldes; and
having shown them all sorts of kindness he let them go, well pleased.
And the Governor was well-satisfied, judging that now they would
voluntarily be his subjects and that they would be Christians. But
later it was seen that all this was a fantastic make-believe, poured
out in the Mould of their mendacious evilness, which they frequently
indulged in, as we shall see further on.

"The Governor, considering it as an insult to His Majesty and to
himself, or else being zealous or piqued by the sly treatment given by
those Barbarous Infidels, in order to convert them and knowing that he
could not make war upon them, he appealed to the Council of the Indies,
asking that the Authority be granted to him to overcome and subject
them by force of arms. And he pointed out the continuousness of their
wickedness, the perfidy of their idolatry, the wariness of their
tricks, the terror and fear in which they held those Provinces, and
what was necessary in order to punish and subject them by force."

The Mock Embassy Considered to be a Rebellion. "Especially, since they
had now given their obedience (though pretendingly) and since they had
departed from it, the prohibition to make War on them was at an end.
For, if His Majesty had indeed so prohibited War, these Indians were
now Vassals of the King, and failure in vassalage was a species of
Rebellion and Uprising. And if they had given their obedience
feigningly and craftily or with any improper end, it was a piece of
rudeness worthy of not being left without very severe chastisement.[5.2]

"It does not appear whether this Governor divined what was to occur in
the future from the obstinacy, cruelty, and malevolence of these
Barbarians, and how many efficacious Means were to be insufficient to
reduce them to Peace; but that of War (is the best). But he pressed for
permission to make use of it in order to bring them to subjection."

Here it may be well to compare Cogolludo's account of these same events
with that of Villagutierre. Cogolludo (lib. ix, cap. 1) says that these
events took place in the reign of Bishop Don Fray Gonzalo de Salazar.
In 1609 a great plague did much harm in Yucatan. In 1610, at the end of
August, Salazar arrived to take the post of Bishop of Yucatan. At about
that time two Indians called Alonzo Chable and Francisco Canul gave out
that they were respectively the Pope and the Bishop, and they made the
wretched Catholic Indians venerate them as such. All the most sacred
mysteries of the Church were profaned by them, even the Host itself.
This deplorable state of affairs was brought to an end by the
intervention of the Governor of the village of Tikax in the sierra. He
was one Don Pedro Xiu, a descendant of Tutul Xiu, Lord of Mani. Owing,
perhaps, to the influence of a convent in his region, this chief was a
good Christian, and he severely punished the offenders for their
sacrilege. He even forced the Spaniards to attend Mass. In short his
virtue was such as to earn him the hatred of all malcontents. Finally,
being pursued by his enemies, the cacique sought refuge in the convent
of Tikax, the guardian of which was the Reverend Padre Fray Juan de
Coronel.[5.3] Xiu was hidden behind the sacristy altar while the search
was going forward. In due time the more orderly portion of the Spanish
population came to the aid of the cacique, and his enemies were put to
death by order of the Governor of Yucatan, who at this time was the
Mariscal Don Carlos de Luna y Arellano. His qualities as a governor
receive the following terse tribute from Cogolludo: "His term of
office completed, he came forth from his post in debt, whereas others,
in a short while, pay great debts and come forth very rich." Luna had
been rich when he went into office.

A New Period in the History of the Itzas. We have now reached a sort
of natural break in our history. Beginning with a review of the
pre-conquest history of the Mayas and of the Itzas, we have studied the
entradas of Cortes, of Montejo, and of Dávila into the regions formerly
occupied by them. We have seen the manner in which the northern
portions of Yucatan and of the Maya-Itza stock were made subject to the
crown of Castile; we have just examined the best two accounts of the
events leading up to the conquest of the southern tribes, and
especially of the Itzas of Tayasal. From the year 1614, which we have
now reached, the main interest centers about the small nation whose
chief town was at Tayasal on Lake Peten. They and their subject tribes
resisted the Spanish onslaughts from 1614 to 1697. It took eighty-three
years for the Spaniards to subject this nation, which cannot have
numbered more than one hundred and fifty thousand souls. The Itzas
resisted successfully for a much longer time a power more their
superior than was that of Caesar to that of the Gauls.

Having noticed the beginning of a new period, we will continue the
translation of Villagutierre. We shall thus see how the conquest of the
Itzas began as a more or less desultory evangelical affair, and how no
real vigor was injected into it until a commercial motive (the building
of the Yucatan-Guatemala road) was introduced.

Fuensalida and Orbita. The account continues thus:

"Three or four years later, when the year 1618 was already running its
course, on the 25th of March, while Francisco Ramirez Briceño was
governing these Provinces, the Provincial Chapter of the Religious
Order of San Francisco was held in the City of Merida; before it, ...
Padres Fray Bartolomé de Fuensalida and Fray Juan de Orbita offered to
go and preach the Holy Evangel to the Itzaex; both of these were
Learned Men and of consummate Virtue, they were Priests well versed in
that Maya Tongue which was natural to those Itzaex as to the Yucatecs,
where they had been before.

"... It was determined that they should set forth on that Holy Errand;
and they, well pleased, and trusting in God, determined to depart
without delay and without other arms than the loving force of the
Divine Word, thus fulfilling the will of the King that only Religious
should go, and without the clangor of Soldiery. The Provincial gave
them their patents which were presented before the Bishop, Don Gonzalo
de Salazar, who was so overjoyed at their holy resolution that had his
presence not been needed for the Government of his Bishopric, he would
have gone with the Padres.

"Since this could not be, the Bishop despatched to them with great
pleasure very ample Authority, in which he gave them as much Power over
the Spaniards as they would have had if he had been present with them;
and especially in regard to the People of the Town of Salamanca de
Bacalar and its territory, commanding the Beneficiado of that Town and
District, which includes Tipu, under penalty of the greater
Excommunication, in no manner direct or indirect to embarrass or to
expel the Religious while they were in Tipu, from which point they were
to make ready for their Entrada to the Itzaex."

Briceño's Opposition. "And the Bishop perceived that the Religious were
going without attention to temporal matters, for the Governor Francisco
Ramirez Briceño, in spite of His Majesty's command that in such Cases
the Necessary Funds for the Divine Worship and the Viaticum for the
Religious should be given from the Royal Chest, did not wish to give
anything to these men; nor did he wish to give them even the Despatch
for which they asked in order that the Villages through which they
passed might give them assistance, his excuse being that he did not
have orders from the King, and that if they were killed by the
Barbarians or by some Native Indians they had with them, or if any
other misfortune should come to pass, the Blame would be upon him. The
Bishop gave them, beside the Appointment, orders and aids which I have
spoken of, many Crosses, Knives, Shears and other trifles and Charms
from Spain so that they might treat the Indians well; and he comforted
them, and put new life into their zeal for this good purpose.

"The Citizens of Merida joined the Bishop in his joy and also in giving
the Padres increased Alms; and the Former Governor Don Antonio de
Figueroa gave them Rosaries, and Glass Beads, and the Citizens gave
them these and many other things, and still others were bought with the
Alms contributed by the _Encomenderos_. Even the Indians of the City
and the Villages through which they later passed, the Chiefs, and
Indian Women, gave them Clothing of the sort they were wont to use for
the improvement [of the Itzas], in order that they might be given to
the King Canek and to his Wife and to the other Chiefs of the Itzas."

The Padres Set out. "The present Governor alone, Briceño, gave them
nothing, and he even swindled them out of the Despatch of Favor and
Assistance, saying that he would give it to them the day of their
departure; then he said that they should wait for it at the Convent of
Tikax, which is the last one in the Sierra. So that without the
Despatch, but with the Blessing of God and that of the Bishop and their
own Prelate, and asking all to recommend to God the good outcome of the
Voyage, they set out from Merida for Bacalar, rejoicing, and on naked

"In a short space of time they arrived at the Convent of Tikax, for
they feared that the rains would begin. When they had waited some days
for the Despatches of the Governor, they received only a letter from
him in which he said that he did not intend to give them the Despatches
for the reasons he had already given them. The Padres greatly regretted
the coldness on the part of the Governor merely because they feared
that they would not have in Bacalar good Aid without the orders of the
Governor; for it was necessary to take Boats from there to go up the
Rivers from that Town to the Village of Tipu, where they were to make
their Headquarters, according to the instructions of the Bishop."

Their Route. "But nevertheless, and confiding only in God, they
continued their journey accompanied by some Indian Singers and
Sacristans who were at the Convent and whom God moved to offer
themselves as companions, although they knew the perils of the journey,
and thus they went alone, without human defense, to place themselves in
the hands of those Barbarous Caribes,[5.4] of whom it was known for
certain that they ate human Flesh; but they placed all fear behind

"And the Padres, seeing that they had with them those who would aid
them to celebrate the Divine Services solemnly, traveled very
contentedly. They arrived at Calotmul, five leagues from the Convent.
And on leaving this Village, they traversed the Sierra to the Village
of Chunhuhub, which is another fifteen leagues of deserted country full
of swamps and marshes very difficult to cross. From there they
journeyed to Pacha, another fifteen leagues of deserted country, with
roads even worse than those before on account of their very swampy
nature, which is so great that in the rainy season it is necessary to
take to Canoes in order to pass those Places, and in the dry season the
Canoes are beached there.

"From the Village of Pacha they went to another called Xoca, almost
another ten leagues. This place was later deserted and overgrown with
trees. From Xoca they went to the Town of Salamanca de Bacalar, which
is five leagues. And there they were regaled and favored by the
Alcalde, who, at that time, was Andres Carrillo de Pernia, a Citizen of
the Town of Valladolid de Yucatan, who showed so much hospitality and
kindliness while they were there to them and to the Indians whom they
had with them, that in nowise were they made to feel the want of
Despatches from the Governor of Yucatan; for he gave them more favors
and assistance then and later, this Alcalde, than if they had carried
the Commands, orders and Despatches of all the Tribunals of the World.

"Notwithstanding the great favors which the Alcalde Carrillo showed to
the Missionaries, they desired to set forth with all speed for Tipu so
as not to be overtaken by the Rains; and as they found themselves, like
true Sons of Saint Francis, without any money with which to pay the
Indian Rowers who were to conduct them, and with which to buy the
ship-stores necessary for all in order to navigate the Rio Nohukun,
which means Rio Grande, in order to go up by the river to Tipu, and not
being able to ask aid of the Alcalde because of the absence of orders
from the Governor, they were saddened and became exceedingly

"But the Noble Zeal of that Honorable Creole, Alcalde Carrillo, once
more aided them. Learning the cause of their sadness, because the Holy
Eagerness which they had was not cooled, he provided a _Piragua_ of his
own, very capacious, with Indian rowers and Supplies necessary for all.
And not content with having fitted them out, he embarked with them and
accompanied them in person as far as Tipu so that the Indians should
not leave them, and so that aid should be offered more promptly; and
all this was done at the expense of his estate without being
necessitated by orders from any Superior."

The Journey up the River from Tipu. "They made the Navigation of that
great River and of others which flow into it, with great contentment on
account of the deliciousness of its Banks, Isles, great and wide-spread
Lagoons, Woodlands, Forests, and Pine Groves which spread away as far
as New Spain. And what caused them no less diversion was the Indians of
the _Piragua_, who, without stopping the boat, continually captured
Fishes with Harpoons; the only thing that annoyed them was the
multitude of Mosquitoes which there are thereabouts and which caused
them much pain and disquiet.

"To refer in detail to the Events and Places through which they passed
either by Water or by Land, would be too much of prolixity, and it is
not intended to do more than to let it be known from what will be said
later, that from the City of Merida to the District and Village of Tipu
it is a very long, and at times, toilsome Journey. And so it is
sufficient to say that in three days, (after many of Traveling), they
mounted the ascent to Tipu by the River which comes from there and
which is very full. And as the going is against the current, which is
of so much violence, in those twelve leagues that to go up to Tipu the
Oars are not sufficient and it is necessary to go up by means of Poles;
and at every mischance the Water whirls the Canoes backward; and at
times the Indians throw themselves upon them with arms outstretched to
stop them and to draw them forward...."

The account of these events given by Cogolludo (lib. ix, caps. 4, 5, 6)
is almost identical. The place names mentioned by Villagutierre are all
to be found on Costello's map (MacNutt, 1908, vol. ii, p. 232) save
Pacha (between Chunhuhub and Xoca). The distances from place to place
are inaccurately given by Villagutierre, being invariably too short.

Arrival at Tipu. We will now continue by translating Villagutierre.
(Lib. ii, cap. 2 ff.)

"The Alcaldes, Caziques and Chief Men of Tipu learned before their
arrival that the Padres were coming to their Village, and they set
forth with their Canoes to go more than two leagues down the River to
receive them with Refreshments in Food and a Drink called _Zaca_, which
they make of Cacao and Maize. They saluted the Padres with much
contentment and joy, and they returned with them to the Landing place,
a stone's throw from the Village, and there they had prepared Dances
according to their usage, and to the accompaniment of these and much
rejoicing, they took the Padres to the Church, where they offered up to
God their thanks for having permitted them to arrive safely at that
Village on the outskirts of Christendom and the Plaza de Armas of
valiant Spirits."

Events at the Village of Tipu. "And when they had said their Orisons,
the Indians quartered the Padres in the house of the _Beneficiado_ next
to the Church and the Alcalde Carrillo was placed in the house of a
leading Indian woman, called Doña Isabel Pec, who was the Widow of the
Cacique Don Luis Mazun, who had died while a prisoner for Idolatry in
Merida. When the Religious reached this Village there were Vespers of
the Feast of the Holy Ghost...."

The Friendliness of Carrillo and the Indians. "The Alcalde Carrillo
inspected the Village as it was of his jurisdiction, and not having
anything further to do there because the Citizens aided the Padres even
more than was necessary, he wished them well and took leave of them
all, returning to Salamanca de Bacalar.

"The Padres now remained alone with the Indians of Tipu, but they were
very much the companions of God and of His fervent Spirit and of the
gladness which it caused them to see those Indians so occupied with the
affairs of good Christians such as attending with much punctuality the
Divine Services, sending their Children to all the classes for the
Catechism. (What passed in their hearts God alone knows, as will be
told later.) The Padres saw that the Indians aided them with much
generosity as time went on and until they set forth for the Itzaex,
because the people of Tipu were very rich and got much Cacao, Vanilla
and other things of a noble sort."

Don Christoval Na, Cacique of the Indians of Tipu. "There were then in
the Vicinity of the Village of Tipu more than one hundred
Citizens,[5.5] all Indians. Don Christobal Na, their Cacique, was very
devoted to the Religious. There was another Chief Indian called Don
Francisco Cumux, who was a Descendant of the Lord of the Island of
Cozumel, who received Don Fernando Cortes when he passed to the
Conquest of New Spain. This man in his Habits, and actions showed very
well his Nobility and good Blood, although he was but an Indian. He was
very much the Servitor of the Padres and a great Singer, and he was
often present in the Church, singing the Offices, as if he were a
common Indian."

It was decided to send Cumux to the Itzas to ascertain their attitude
toward the Padres. "... Cumux accepted the Embassy with a very good
will, although he was not eager for the danger; and when all had been
made ready he set forth with the Indians that were assigned to him. The
contents of the message were: To say to the Canek how the two Padres
had remained in Tipu and that the reason they had gone thither was to
pass to [the Itzas] to see and communicate certain things which were
for the good of Canek and his people; and so the Ambassador was to ask
him to assemble his Captains in order that they might see that their
coming was a peaceful one, without Soldiers or arms, only two Poor
Padres of San Francisco; and Canek was urged to send his Chief Men to
see them at Tipu, and they said that they would like, with his leave
and permission and safe-conduct to pass to see him, and that if he gave
it, as they hoped, it would give them great pleasure, for without his
consent they would do nothing."

Francisco Cumux Goes with an Embassy to Canek. "Don Francisco Cumux set
forth on his Journey, very well-pleased; he traversed those Mountains
and deserts, leaving the Padres in the hands of God and making
continual Sacrifices and Orisons. He was six days in arriving at the
Island, Capital of the Itzas; and when he was brought into the presence
of Canek, he was received with affability, and he gave his message as
he had been ordered. The Itzaex entertained him and those whom he
brought with him according to the quality of each one. Then Canek
called to Council all his Captains and Chiefs in order to consider what
he should reply to the message and Letter which the Religious had sent

"And as some of those Indians already knew a little of what the
Religious were, through having seen them in the City of Merida, at the
time when they went there to give that false obedience of which I have
spoken, and they also knew that they could do them no harm if they were
alone as Don Francisco Cumux asserted, they resolved not only to give
License to come and see them, but also the Canek sent two Captains of
his, together with some Indians, in company with Don Francisco and his
Indians, in order that they might visit the Padres in his behalf and
tell them that they might come with all safety to his Land whenever it
might please them, for he and his men were ready to receive them and
talk with them in good feeling. And with this good Reply, farewells
were said by Don Francisco Cumux, who set forth at once very happily,
returning with the rest to Tipu."

Cumux Returns from Canek with Two Chiefs of Tayasal. "He arrived in the
presence of the Religious fifteen days after he had set out from there,
greater speed being impossible because the road was closed up and
surrounded with marshes. In his company came the two Itza Captains, one
was called Ahchatappol, and the other Ahauppuc, with more than twenty
other Indians. The two Captains bore their Lances with points of Flint,
like ours, which differ from them only in being of Steel, and at the
heads of them are many Plumes of divers and beautiful colors like the
Ribbons our Standard-bearers use on their darts; and the points are as
much as a quarter of a vara long and have two cutting-edges, and the
point is like a very sharp Dagger.

"The other Itzaex Indians bore their Bows and Arrows with which they
always march when they come forth from their Island and Territory in
case they meet the Chinamitas, a Nation for whom they have always had
enmity, and continual wars; for they hold themselves as brave warriors
like the Itzas themselves."

The Two Chiefs are cordially Received. "As soon as they arrived, the
two Captains saluted the Religious according to their usage (which is
to throw the right arm over the shoulder as a sign of Peace and
Friendship). The Religious replied with many urbanities and courtesies.
The Captains were quartered in the house of the Cacique and the rest in
the houses of the Chiefs of that Village of Tipu, care being taken to
regale them as had been done in their Island to our Indians.

"And later Don Francisco Cumux gave the Religious an account of how he
had been received by Canek and by the other Chiefs and Heads of the
Districts of the City, and of how they had shown joy and of what had
gone forward, and of the opinion that they had that the Padres should
go to see the Itzas. The Padres were full of joy, and they thanked Don
Francisco and his companions for the trouble they had had on that
Journey, and they told them that it was certain that God would reward
them, for they had gone in His service and in His Holy Name...."

A rather verbose account of the services held for the benefit of the
Itzas closes this chapter. The account of Cogolludo (lib. ix, caps. 7,
8) is much the same. Villagutierre (lib. ii, cap. 3) continues his
description of the entrada of Fuensalida and Orbita:

The Padres Prepare to Travel to Tayasal. "The Religious tried, after
the Itzaex Indians had gone thence, with their Indians of Tipu, to make
ready for the Journey and to prepare the necessary food for traveling.
This was done in a short while; so that on the Day of the Assumption of
Our Lady, 15 August, 1618, they set forth from Tipu in company with the
Cacique of that Village, Don Christoval Na, and with more than twenty
important Indians besides those others which were needed as servants,
their _Maestro de Capilla_, their Singers and their Sacristans, all of
whom had offered to go with them from the Province....

"Two leagues from Tipu, in the direction of the Itzas, there was a
Great River which, because the Waters had not risen greatly, it was
possible to wade; and the Cacique, Don Christoval Na, who was a very
corpulent man of great personal strength, placed the two Religious on
his shoulders [and carried them across]. The River having been crossed,
they journeyed some eight or ten leagues, and came upon a Great Lake
which they called Yaxhaa. And finding no Canoe with which to traverse
the Lake's two leagues of length, the Indians told the Religious that
they should return to the Village of Tipu, since they could not go
forward on account of the necessity of crossing the Lake, and because
of the lack of Vessels."

Delays; the Padres' Anger. "The Padre Commissario Fuensalida became
exceedingly angry with them, saying that it was not possible that they
should have been ignorant of that Impediment, since they were so well
versed in that Land and Road, and that they should have remedied it;
and he declared that he would not go back upon the Road so well begun
and that he would continue upon his Journey until he reached the
Itzaex, for which place he and his Companion had set forth. And so, as
to think of floating on any makeshift was to think of the impossible,
and as to the left of that Lake it appeared that one might break
through the Forest and proceed by opening a Road [through the jungle],
passing around the edge of the Lake, they decided that they might thus
continue their Voyage in a straight line.

"The Indians made this seem to be very difficult and they replied that
it was far, and that it would be too toilsome to open a Road through
the places the Father mentioned, and that the Supplies that they had
with them were not sufficient for so many days, and they would want for
them later on. Besides the time was coming on when it would be
necessary for them to take in their crops from the fields and they said
that while they were doing that a Canoe should be built on purpose for
them all to cross the Lake and that they would carry the Padres with
much pleasure and little toil to the Itzaex."

The Return to Tipu. "Padre Fuensalida insisted and persisted that what
he had first proposed should be executed, namely, to cut around the
Lake. And the Indians asked Padre Juan de Orbita to dissuade the Padre
Commissario since what they said was more fitting. It seemed, at last,
indeed to be so, and that the Indians were right, and all agreed to
return to Tipu, and to build there a Canoe in which to pass across the
Lake as they offered to do.

"When they had returned to Tipu, the Cacique Don Christoval soon sent
Indian, carpenters who, on the very shore of the Lake, were to make
ready the wood for a very good Canoe. There are in that region great
logs of Cedar and other trees from which can be made and are made many
large Canoes. They built it very capacious and suitable; and the other
Indians, in the interim, gathered in their crops and assembled new
provisions in order to set out once more with the Padres for the Land
of the Itzaex."

All Precautions Taken, they Set out Once More. "Once more they all set
out as before from Tipu. They crossed the Rio Grande, which is two
leagues away, with much more trouble than before because the Waters had
risen and were still rising, as it was already near the end of
September. And having arrived once more at the Lake of Yaxhaa, where
the Canoe was in readiness, the Persons who were journeying and all
that they had with them were carried across the two leagues of water in
four trips."

Lake Yaxha is Crossed; Arrival at Lake Zacpeten. "Everything and
everybody being now on the other bank, they continued their march by
Land for some fifteen leagues as far as another Lake, which was called
Zacpeten (which is the same as saying White Island), which was shorter
than the other, being not more than a league in length...."

Here follows a short passage describing how the devil made the Indians
choose the wrong path. The reason for this suggested by Villagutierre
seems plausible, namely, that the Tipuans did not want the Itzas
converted, because if they were the Tipuans would have no place to take
refuge should they themselves become apostates.

"When the Tipuan Indians saw the Constancy of the Padres (for, although
they knew the malice of the Indians, they bore it with patience, and
encouraged them, saying that God would bring them out on the right Road
since He had brought them there) and perceiving that the intention of
the Padres not to turn back was unchanged, or else, because they saw
that the Spirit of the Padres became more determined the greater the
difficulties they experienced on the way, the Indians at length brought
them out upon the right road. And after they had followed it for two
days and eighteen leagues, they came upon the Great Lake of the Itzaex
called Chaltuna, with great relief and joy."

The Padres Camp beside Lake Peten. "They encamped on the Shore of the
Lake and there built a very capacious Ranch in which they set up an
altar in order to say Mass. Then they sent off a very important Indian
of Tipu (who later was Cacique) with some others who were in his
company, with orders to say to the Canek that the Religious were there,
and to hand over to him a present of the trifles that had been given
them in Merida for this purpose and also a little _Cacao_ from Tipu,
which was very fine (and is so even today), and a very good _hanger_
(cutlass). They warned the messenger also to tell the Canek to send
them good Canoes for them to cross to his Island, and some of his Chief
men who should take them thither.

"The Important Indian, Don Gaspar Cetza (for so he was named), set
forth for the Island with the others who were going with him. And when
eight days had been spent in waiting (which caused the Padres anxiety)
Don Gaspar returned, accompanied by the Captains Ahchatappol and
Ahauppuc, who had been in the Village of Tipu, and by other Itzaex
Indians, as well as by four large Canoes which Canek sent in order that
all might cross over in one trip.

"With this good provision they embarked, all feeling very contented and
happy, on that same day after having said Mass and eaten. And with the
Itza Captains and the other Indians, they navigated, in good time, the
length of that Lake to the Island which, from that direction, is some
six leagues. The Itzaex, who were in sight in order to see when they
were approaching the Island, and others who in Canoes came out to a
great distance for the same purpose, gave notice to the Canek of how
the Religious were already arriving and were approaching. And the Canek
sent a son-in-law of his with others of his Family, in two Canoes, who
came out more than two leagues to salute the Padres and receive them in
his name."

The Padres Arrive at Tayasal and are well Received. "They brought them
some of that Drink which is called _Zaca_, together with frothed
_cacao_, which is highly esteemed among them (and, in short, though
they were Barbarians, they did not fail to have their own sort of
politeness in some matters and signs of urbanity and good manners).
They arrived at the Landing place very near the Village, and there was
the Petty King or Cacique Canek with his Chiefs and a great crowd who
had come out to receive them. And it was already about ten at night
when they arrived at the Island, but there were many lighted torches of
_Oçote_ or Candlewood: so that all was clear and visible.

"When the Religious had set foot on Land, Canek received them with
demonstrations of great love and good will, and with much content. He
invited the Religious to a House which he had made for them, although
it was not very large, near his Palace, or rather, large House where he
resided, and which was some twenty paces from that of the Padres, which
was ample for their necessities. Two very good _Barbacoas_ (=?) were
set up, according to their usage as Beds, and all those who were with
the Padres were quartered nearby.

"The House of Canek was some forty paces from the Lake and before it
was a small Square in which was the House which he had had built for
the Religious and with which they were much pleased, seeing how near it
was to his own and how easy it would be to communicate with him
frequently. Besides, the site was a very good one. And on the day after
their arrival they embellished a Room in their House and erected there
an Altar so that they might say Mass; and Padre Fuensalida chanted that
of Saint Paul the Apostle, to whom they gave the Patronage of that

Mass is Said. "Very many of the Itzaex were looking on from outside
with profound silence and without making a single sound that could
disturb what the Religious were doing. They, after having said Mass,
went to see Canek, and after having saluted him, they remained in
conversation with him a great while, for they knew the Language very
well. They asked his leave to go all through the Village and to see its
Houses and all its _Cues_ or Temples, which were numerous. Canek
conceded it, and gave them important Indians who were to go with them
through the Village and show them all that they wished to see. The
principal purpose of the Padres in soliciting this permission was to
make a beginning to their preaching; from that time on, in the presence
of Canek, of the Chiefs and of a great crowd of _Zamaguales_ or Common
People, they began to preach the Law of God...."

Fuensalida Preaches; Orbita Destroys an Idol. "With great attention the
Indians who were congregated there listened to the discourse of the
Padre Fuensalida...." For a brief time it looked as if the Padres might
attain success in the errand, but as we saw in Chapter III, Padre
Orbita, in anger, destroyed the idol of the horse and also the
tolerance of the Itzas.

"Having returned to the guest house, and having rested a little from
the toil of the Spiritual Battle and of breaking the Idol, the
Religious went to see Canek, who, although he already knew what had
happened in the Temple, and though they themselves spoke of it to him,
did not say a word about it, nor did he show anger on account of it. So
that the other Indians, seeing their Lord calm, became entirely
appeased, and spoke no more of the affair to the Padres. But it is true
that the Canek did not leave off wondering that they should have dared
to do such a thing as that."

The Padres Urge the Itzas to be Christians. "He made them sit down on
something which was like a small throne and on which he was wont to sit
himself; it was then raised and placed in the midst of them, and being
thus raised, the Padres discoursed for a long time concerning the
affairs of God and the Holy Catholic Faith...."

They Refuse because the Appointed Time has not Come. They told the
Canek that a previous Canek had promised Cortes to receive
Christianity. "... Canek replied: That the time had not yet arrived in
which their ancient Priests had prophesied to them they were to
relinquish the worship of their Gods; because the Period in which they
then were was Oxahau, which means Third Period[5.6] ... and so they
asked the Padres to make no further attempts in that direction at that
time, but to return to the Village of Tipu and then, on another
occasion, to come again to see them.

"Despite all this, Canek was the first to receive, with great pleasure,
a Cross which the Padres placed in his hands, and afterwards some of
his men received others. Canek gave the Padres permission, during the
days they were his guests, to chant the Christian Doctrine; they did so
in the seventh Tone as they were accustomed to chant it in the Province
of Yucatan."

After a Few Days the Padres Leave Tayasal. "In this way several days
passed, and the Religious, perceiving that they could in no wise
proceed with the execution of their good desire, on account of the fact
that the Indians would not change their minds, determined to return to
the Village of Tipu in order to obtain the benefit of the good-will of
the people there with their suavity and patience.

"They imparted this determination to the Infidels, who readily agreed
to it. The Indians who had come with them made ready a Canoe; and the
Itzas gave the Religious some figures of their Idols, which they took
to Yucatan that they might be seen, and some Clothing of the sort the
Indians use."

The Padres left Tayasal under rather unpleasant circumstances; some of
the Indians seem to have harbored a grudge against them because of the
incident of the idol, and these malcontents hurled insults after the
canoes in which the Padres were going away. They returned to Tipu by
the same way they had come, arriving there at the beginning of
November. The _Beneficiado_ of Bacalar would not let them stay in Tipu;
he was reprimanded by the Bishop for his surliness. Finally Padre
Fuensalida returned to Merida, leaving Orbita In charge of the Indians
at Tipu.

Thus ended the entrada of Fuensalida and Orbita into the country of the
Itzas. One cannot but admire the stanch faith and unswerving loyalty to
their ideals of these two men. They were both of great personal courage
and virtue, but from the foregoing account of their entrada it is easy
enough to deduce that Fuensalida was the greater man of the two. Orbita
was skillful in making effective altar displays, but he was hasty and
unwise in his treatment of the idol of the horse. We must, however,
frankly acknowledge that for two men to go alone and unarmed into the
midst of a powerful nation of barbarians whom they believed to be
cannibals was a deed of very great bravery, especially as they had no
expectations of personal material gain. This entrada of 1618 is just
barely mentioned by Fray Andrés de Avendaño y Loyola (30 recto), who,
however, speaks of the idol incident as a mistake of policy.

                               CHAPTER VI

                  THE EVENTS THAT FOLLOWED, 1621-1624

Padre Fray Diego Delgado's Offer to Christianize the Itzas. In spite of
the unfortunate turn that events had taken while Fuensalida and Orbita
were at Tayasal, another Franciscan, Fray Diego Delgado, was filled
with a desire to Christianize the Itzas. He set out from Merida;
Villagutierre (lib. ii, cap. 8) relates the story thus:

"... A year and a half, with a slight difference, after the return of
the Padres Orbita and Fuensalida, repulsed by the Itzaex, at a time
when already the year 1621 was running its course and the Provincial
Chapter of the Order of Saint Francis had already been held in the City
of Merida, a proposal was made by the Padre Fray Diego Delgado, of the
same Order and a Son of the Province of Los Angeles, to the new
Provincial of Yucatan, the proposal being dictated by the desires of
his Spiritual Love."

There follows a setting forth of Delgado's belief that the fugitive
Indians were likely to relapse into idolatry. Delgado asked leave to go
and reconvert them; this was given by Arias Conde, Governor _ad
interim_ of Yucatan.

Delgado Travels to the Convent of Xecchacan. "Everything having been
made ready for his journey, the Monk journeyed to that Convent of his
Order which is in the Village of Xecchacan. And when his intention was
known there, several Indians of the Village offered to go with him, for
those of that place are well-versed in the Woodlands. And also certain
other Indians who were Singers and Sacristans of the Convent, as is
customary ..., also promised to go with him."

He is well Provided with Guides and Other Indians. "So that now Fray
Diego Delgado found himself not only with Guides, but with those who
would aid him in celebrating the Divine Services and the Holy Sacrifice
of the Mass. And also some of the Indians of the Sierra came to him
with a great inclination and desire to accompany him on that Voyage.
And together with These and Those, he entered into the Woodlands to the
Southward of that Land of Yucatan.

"And as soon as he began to penetrate the Woods, he kept encountering
many of the Indians who were fugitives from the Villages of the
Province, and who were living without Decency, Towns or Sacraments, but
merely in Huts in several places of that Wilderness."

Zaclun. "He went about, bringing them with flattering caresses and the
great suavity of his holy and loving words, and bearing them to the
Mountains which are called the Mountains of Pimienta (which are very
near the Sierra of Alabaster).... He formed with them a great Village
on the same site as where had been before the village called Zaclun,
which had been depopulated when the Guardians of the Province of San
Francisco, who had gone, in former times, toward those inland Mountain
Places, had been lost.

"He gave the Village the Name of San Felipe or Santiago de Zaclun. And
in virtue of the Power given him by the Governor of Yucatan, to appoint
Justices and Rulers in whatever Villages might be founded, he did this
in the new Village of Zaclun in the Name of his Majesty and of his
Governor of the Provinces of Yucatan, giving the posts to the most fit
of those very Indians he had recently assembled.

"He appointed a Cacique and gave Authority to Alcaldes, Regidores, and
other Officials of Government and of Public Weal, all of whom he
appointed in order that those Indians might live in Justice,
Christianity, and service to God and the King. And when this was done
he gave an account of the whole matter to the Governor of Yucatan,
begging him to confirm the Elections and Appointments that he had made
for that new Village.

"The Governor of those Provinces of Yucatan at the time was Don Diego
de Cárdenas, who celebrated with very great merriment the reception of
such news, a delight which was participated in by all the Dwellers in
the City of Merida and even in the rest of that Land and Province of

"Captain Francisco de Mirones, who was Juez de la Grana [agrarian
officer] of the Territory of the Coast of Yucatan, and a very great
Soldier, and the gallantry of whose Spirit was delighted at this new
turn of affairs, conjectured that it was a fine occasion to enter by
that Village of Zaclun to conquer by Arms the Itzaex; for the
Religious, with all their preaching, had made no headway. Captain
Mirones was persuaded that by way of Zaclun the Conquest would be
easier, on account of the convenience which the nearness of that place
would offer for whatever military operation he might wish to carry out."

The Proposal of Mirones. "He went to communicate this Proposal to the
Governor, adorning the plan with arguments as to its suitableness,
which he well knew how to do; to the Governor it appeared a very good
thing that that Entrada into the Itzaex should be executed even as
Captain Mirones proposed."

Mirones and the Governor Make an Agreement. There follows a passage
relating to the agreement made between the Governor and Mirones. It is
in no way unusual. The remissness of Brizeño at the time of the entrada
of Orbita and Fuensalida is touched upon, and the usual protestations
as to the desirability of converting the Indians to Christianity.

Mirones Raises an Army for his Entrada. "Captain Francisco de Mirones
raised his Banner for the King, and having enlisted as many as Five
hundred Spanish Soldiers, he set forth with them and with some Indians
of War and of Service from the City of Merida to join the rest who were
being recruited at the Village of Oxcutzcab in the Sierra. The journey
through that region led the Guide to tell Captain Mirones that from
Oxcutzcab he had surveyed the highlands of the Itzas of Yucatan, that
in a direct line or through the Air it was a distance of only eighty
leagues, so that more than a half of the Road had already been
traversed; having believed it all to be so, Captain Mirones ... set
forth with his Troops, and many Indian laborers, from the Village of
Oxcutzcab, opening many Roads through the Woods and Thickets and among
the Lakes and Swamps and sterile Lands, lacking water in many places.
So that not only for the Indians who opened the roads, but also for the
Spanish Soldiers, it was very painful work."

Mirones Arrives at Zaclun. "But at last, these difficulties being
overcome, they arrived at the Village of Zaclun, where the Padre Fray
Diego Delgado was established, administering to his Indians recently
collected. In the Village Captain Mirones made a halt, making a Plaza
de Armas so as to wait for the rest of his Troops, who were still being
levied in Merida, in order that, on their arrival, he might begin with
all his forces the Conquest of the Itzas."

The Wanton and Foolish Oppression Caused by Mirones. "The Recruiting of
Troops in Merida could not be concluded in the short space of time
expected by Captain Mirones, and so all the remainder of that year of
1622 was spent thus in the Village of Zaclun waiting for the Levies.
And at that time, failing in wisdom and lacking proper consideration of
the fact that those Indians of Zaclun were people newly reduced and
that it would not be fitting to treat them with the sort of oppression
with which it is sometimes customary to treat others in those parts of
America, that Captain gave himself up to trades and unduly profitable
contracts with them, which did not please them. So they began to be
exasperated and to show some asperity of temper.

"Padre Fray Diego, recognizing the harm, and perceiving that it was not
a good way to maintain his hold over the Indians or to keep the Indians
on the right path, asked the Captain not to persist in those trades and
contracts with the Indians, for the time of Conquests was not the time
for merchandizing. He pointed out to him what he already knew, that the
Indians were getting very much put out, and that grave obstacles to the
carrying on of what had been begun might arise, and that it was not
without cause that our Kings had ordered in so many Laws and
Ordinances, the good treatment of the Indians."

Delgado Opposes Mirones. "The Padre, by these representations, was
unable to procure any change in the Captain, but each day increased the
latter's profits and extortions, so that the Indians of that Village
became increasingly restless.

"The quarrels which the Captain and the Padre came to have over these
questions were now declared in public and even talked of to a certain
extent, and both were displeased with the other, and the Indians were
uneasy and half mutinous. And the disquiet of these latter was
increased by the arrival at that Village of Zaclun of news that Captain
Juan Bernardo de Casanova was now in the Village of Mani on his march
with fifty Soldiers who had been recruited in Merida to join in the
Village of Zaclun with Captain Mirones and those whom he had with him.
All of which gave cause to the unfortunate events which I shall now

Villagutierre (lib. ii, cap. 9) has an account of how Fray Diego
complained to his Provincial of Captain Mirones and his actions. The
Provincial, urging the illegality of Mirones' projected entrada to the
Itzas, and especially that of his intention to conquer them by arms,
advised Fray Diego to depend for advice as to the course he should
pursue solely upon heavenly inspiration.

Delgado Determines to Anticipate Mirones. "When Padre Fray Diego
received this Reply, he determined (although with great secrecy) to
leave Captain Mirones and to go himself to the Itzaex. And so he did,
nor did he lack the company of most of the Indians who had come with
him from Xecchacan. He undertook his journey, directing his steps
toward Tipu; and although there were many trials and hardships on
account of the Woods and rough country entirely without Roads, Villages
and rest from fatigue, his Indians bore him thither.

"Being suspicious, and knowing the Road that the Padre had taken,
Captain Mirones dispatched twelve Soldiers after him with their Leader,
who was the Standard-bearer Acosta, in order that they might catch up
with him and persuade him to return to the Captain's company, and, in
case the Padre did not wish so to return, they were to follow after him
and escort him wherever he might go.

"The Squad came up with the Religious just before he reached Tipu. But
the more they insisted that he return to Zaclun, the more impossible
did it become to convince him and to make him return, so they
accompanied him, forming an escort for him, as far as the Village of
Tipu, which they entered with him and with the Indians who were with

"The Chief of the Soldiers dispatched a report from Tipu to Captain
Mirones of the invincible resolution in which Padre Fray Diego
persisted, because the Soldiers had orders not to desert the Padre.
There is but little doubt what the feelings of the Infidel Indians
would be, wherever he passed with those Soldiers, and that so long as
he was accompanied by them, the Indians would not dare to maltreat him."

Delgado's Message to Canek. "Padre Fray Diego Delgado determined to
send to the Itzaex and to their King Canek to say that he was in the
Village of Tipu, and that with their Permission, he would come to see
them. An offer to bear this Message was made by the good Cacique Don
Christoval Na, who had gone with the Padres Orbita and Fuensalida to
the Itzaex both times, as has been seen. In effect, he went to
Chaltuna; crossed to the Island; delivered his Message. And when the
Itzaex and their King and Lord Canek were informed of the small number
of Spaniards who were with Padre Fray Diego in Tipu, Canek and his
Chiefs gave Permission and Safe-conduct to the Padre so that he might
come to the Island."

Delgado Receives Permission from Canek to Come to Tayasal. "And when
the Cacique Don Christoval had returned with this Reply, and when the
provisions had been made ready as usual and when all the other things
necessary for the Journey had been prepared [the Padre set out] taking
with him the Spaniards and eighty Indians from his Village to carry the
supplies and baggage of the Spaniards. All went by the accustomed Road.
And so they were spied upon by the Itzaex, who were on the lookout and
who sent to the landing-place some very good Canoes so that they might
cross to the Island."

The Treachery of the Itzas. "Padre Fray Diego, the Cacique of Tipu, and
alt the other Spaniards and Indians embarked. On landing on the Island
the Itzaex received them in Peace and without any sign whatever of
contrary feelings. But all this was pretence and evil deceitfulness and
perfidy, because as soon as they had them in their power, all the
Troops of the Village attacked the unprepared Spanish Soldiers; the
Indians from Tipu were unable to defend themselves: the Itzaex manacled
them all and even the Padre Fray Diego himself."

Delgado and Others are Put to Death. Villagutierre tells in detail how
the soldiers must have been armed, because they would not be so foolish
as to trust to the honor of natives; they were, however, but thirteen
in number. All the soldiers were killed, and their hearts were torn
from their breasts, while their heads were set up on stakes around the
village. Later they took Fray Diego, cut him up into pieces, and set
his head on a stake also. The fate of Cacique Na, whom, no doubt, the
Itzas regarded as a traitor to his own race, was no better.

Mirones Sends Ek after Delgado. Meanwhile Mirones had received no word
from the men he had sent as an escort to Padre Diego Delgado. He sent
two Spaniards from Zaclun with an Indian servant of his who was very
cunning and who was to act as an interpreter and guide. His name was
Bernardino Ek. These three were to go to Tipu and learn all that they
could of the whereabouts of the Padre and the soldiers. On their
arrival at that village they were told that Delgado and the rest had
gone to the Itzas. The three determined to follow; they did so, and
directly they had reached the lake, canoes came in response to a smoke
signal and bore them to the island, where they were all shut up in a
corral and kept under guard. They made an attempt to escape, Ek leading
the way. He succeeded in getting out on the lake in a very bad canoe
which he found on the beach, but the two Spaniards found themselves
greatly hampered by their bonds and were recaptured. Ek hid in the
woods from those who were pursuing him and eventually made his way to
Salamanca, where he told all that had happened. A report was sent to
Governor Don Diego de Cárdenas in Merida, and Ek himself was sent to
Captain Mirones at Zaclun. The latter straightway entered a complaint
against Fray Diego for having done anything so foolhardy as to go to
the Itzas. The upshot of the report made by Mirones' agent, Juan de
Eguiluz, was that the Provincial of the Order of San Francisco in
Yucatan sent to Zaclun one Padre Fray Juan de Berrio, a native of
Castile. Villagutierre continues (lib. ii, cap. 10): "He, having been
there [at Zaclun] a matter of fifteen days, because he did not well
agree with the affairs and actions of the Captain and the Soldiers,
returned to Merida without saying anything to them, and he went to the
presence of his Provincial, who, being informed of all that was going
on, considered his retreat to that City [Merida] a deed well done.

"A second time Captain Mirones made complaint through Contador Eguiluz,
and he asked, as he did the first time, for another Friar. The
Provincial refused to give him one because of what had occurred with
the other two whom he had sent before...." As a result of these
wranglings two Creole monks were finally sent to Zaclun.

Revolt of the Indians. After they had been ordered to go to Zaclun,
they proffered various excuses, and the matter was ended at last by one
Padre Fray Juan Enriquez, who offered to go thither himself. He was
well received by Mirones; at about that time Bernardino Ek arrived with
the news of the death of Delgado and his companions. Mirones would not
believe him. He soon had ample cause to do so. On the Day of
Purification, 1624, when all the Spaniards of Zaclun were at Mass, the
Indians rose in revolt and put most of them to death.

Some time later Padre Fray Juan Fernandez and Captain Juan Bernardo
came to Zaclun by way of Mani. The latter joined him at Mani, and as
both were made suspicious by some Indians leading a mule of which they
could not give a satisfactory account, Fernandez and Bernardo
determined to go to Zaclun. When they reached that place they found the
bodies of their compatriots, who had died "by the very arms with which
they had thought to go against the Itzaex, in opposition to the orders
and will of the King." (Villagutierre, p. 144.) A Christian burial was
given to the dead, after which Fernandez and Bernardo returned to
Merida to report on what they had found. Eventually an Indian captain
named Don Fernando Camal captured many of the aggressors, the chief of
whom, Ahkimpol, with several others, was beheaded in Merida.

An Epidemic of Apostasy; the Third Phase of the Conquest of the Itzas
Begins. A direct result of this insurrection was a general epidemic of
apostasy which especially affected such villages as Tipu. There, a few
years later, a general exodus of the Indians into the mountains and
woods took place, and a widespread relapse into idolatry occurred.

By a cedula of March 29, 1639, the King (Philip III) reiterated his
desire that henceforth all efforts to reduce provinces should be
carried on by means of spiritual methods only. These were not enough. A
series of misfortunes and mutinies occurred at Bolonchen, Zahcabchen,
Petenecte, and elsewhere. (Villagutierre, p. 147.)[6.1]

We have now, with the year 1624, reached the close of the second phase
of the Spanish conquest of the Maya-Itza stock. The first phase, an
exploratory one, began with Cortes in 1524 and ended with Montejo in
1545 or thereabouts. The second phase, a proselytizing one, began with
the year 1614, when the feigned submission of the Itzas took place,
giving rise to the entrada of Fuensalida and Orbita. It came to a dose
about 1624 as a result of the mournful events following upon the
entrada of Delgado and the mercenary meddling of Mirones. The third and
last phase, a commercial and military one, we shall consider in Chapter
VIII. It had its inception about 1692.

                              CHAPTER VII

                  ENTRADA FROM THAT COUNTRY, 1694-1695

Hitherto all our attention has been absorbed by the Maya-speaking
peoples of Yucatan and northern Guatemala and with the entradas made
from Yucatan into the Peten region and to Tayasal. Now, however, we are
to consider, first, the early history of the Maya-speaking peoples of
southern Guatemala and the entradas made from that region into the
northern parts of the country in search of Lake Peten and Tayasal.

The Indian Tribes of Guatemala. The two chief tribes were the highly
cultured Cakchiquel and Quiché. They lived in what may be described as
the central portion of modern Guatemala. To the north of them dwelt the
Choles, Lacandones, Mopanes, and Itzas; to the south, along the Pacific
coast, were the Pipiles. With the exception of the latter, all these
people spoke dialects of Maya. It is well to note, however, that both
Fuentes y Guzman (1882) and Stoll (1884) arrived at the conclusion that
at least two thousand years must have elapsed to permit of the
development of the differences that exist between the Maya of Yucatan
and the Maya of the Cakchiquel and of the Quiché.

Account of the Cakchiquel and of the Quiché. The migration myths of the
Cakchiquel and of the Quiché show that they came originally from the
region of Mexico. Much later the Pipiles, a Nahuatl tribe, formed trade
colonies on the Pacific coast.

The Government and the Cities of the Cakchiquel and of the Quiché. The
ruler was chosen alternately from two families, the Zotzil and the
Xahil. In like manner the early Colombian chiefs of Tunja and of
Muequeta alternately chose from among their relatives the chief of
Suamo. The title of the ruler was Ahpo-Zotzil or Ahpo-Xahil, as the
case might be. The word _ahpo_, like the Quichua word _apu_, which it
resembles, means "Great Chief." There was a marked division into
classes among the Cakchiquel and the Quiché. In addition the sacerdotal
body was strongly intrenched in the social system. The Annals of the
Cakchiquel (Brinton, 1885) throw some light on the history of these
people. These Annals were written by a member of the Xahil family. The
mythical accounts go back to the reign of King Gagavitz, who flourished
about 1380. Sometime early in the fifteenth century the Cakchiquel came
into violent contact with the Quiché, and Quikab, King of the Quiché,
made good, for a time, his rule over the Cakchiquel. Later the latter
regained their freedom and founded Iximché.

Spanish Conquest. What Cortes was to Mexico and Montejo was to Yucatan,
Pedro de Albarado or Alvarado was to Guatemala. He was sent to that
country by Cortes, with whom he had been in Mexico. Leaving Mexico on
November 13, 1523, he went to Guatemala with about eighty adventurous
followers, an abundance of munitions, and some ships. He reduced the
whole region of the Cakchiquel-Quiché peoples to a Spanish province.
(Cortes, apud MacNutt, 1908, vol. ii, p. 178; Fuentes y Guzman, 1882,
vol. i, p. 46.) On July 25, 1524, the official title of this city
became Santiago de los Cavalleros de Goathemala. In 1533 the King
ordered Alvarado, whom he had made Governor of Guatemala, to make to
him a full report concerning the country and its people and their
customs. In 1541 Alvarado died at Guatemala, having in the meantime
been to Peru. From that time down to about 1675 the city and Audiencia
of Guatemala enjoyed a fair measure of prosperity under the usual type
of Spanish rule. In 1675 some Chol Indians arrived there, asking the
Dominican Provincial of Guatemala, Padre Maestro Fray Francisco
Gallegos, for missionaries to teach them the Christian faith.
(Villagutierre, p. 150 ff.)

Gallegos and Delgado. As a result of this Gallegos himself and Padre
Fray Joseph Delgado set off from Guatemala and traveled twenty-three
leagues through very rough country. At length they came upon some
Choles, whom they formed into three small villages called San Lucas,
Nuestra Señora del Rosario, and Santiago. They later made these
villages one and placed in it the thirty or so Indians whom they had
baptized. As the other Indians had withdrawn further to the north, the
Provincial and Delgado determined to go after them. The Indian converts
objected to this, but the missionaries overcame their fears. In due
time they came to a certain hill which the natives worshiped as God of
the Mountains. Some Indian lads they had with them as servants urged
the Padres to place an offering of copal before this god in order to
propitiate him and prevent him from destroying them all. Of course the
two priests refused to give in to the superstitious fears of their
servants. They said Mass instead. As a result all their followers, save
two bearers, left them.

The Indians are Friendly to them. Once the mountains had been safely
crossed, the Padres found that the Indians on the other side came to
see them readily enough. When the natives found that their white
visitors meant them no harm, they welcomed them and made a comfortable
pathway, over which they conducted the Padres.

The Route Taken by the Two Padres. After some time they reached the
shore of a large, fine river called Yaxha. There they encamped for a
while, going on afterward to the house of a cacique named Matzin, who
was later christened Martin. He treated them very well and they founded
the village of San Jacinto Matzin and preached the Christian faith
there. Four leagues away lived another cacique, called Ilixil, to whom,
in spite of the risk of hunger, they went. First founding a village
called San Pedro y San Pablo Ilixil, the Padres baptized many children.
In that same village of Ilixil they met some Indians who had come
thither from Cahabon and who offered to act as guides. With them the
Padres went to a place called May. After several interesting
adventures, told by Villagutierre (p. 157), they renamed the village
San Joseph May.

The rainy season shortly afterward began, and the missionaries retired
toward Cahabon, setting up crosses as landmarks at suitable places
along the way. When they regained their first village, San Lucas
Tzalac, they found matters much as they had left them. From San Lucas
they went to Cahabon, and from there to Cohan, in search of some
Indians called Axoyes, of whom they had heard. In response to a call
issued from Coban by Gallegos, one hundred and eighty persons came to
him. They had already been baptized and wanted only to confess.

Several Villages Founded. On this trip Padres Gallegos and Delgado
baptized twenty-three hundred and forty-six persons and founded many
villages: San Lucas Tzalac, Nuestra Señora del Rosario, San Jacinto
Matzin, San Pedro and San Pablo Ilixil, Assumpcion, San Joseph May, San
Miguel Manche, San Francisco Sacomo (= Secouamo on Hendges 1902?), and
San Fernando Axoy. Villagutierre (p. 161) gives a long list of the
places to which the Padres did not go.

The Dominicans and the Franciscans. We have already seen that most of
the curacies in Yucatan were in the hands of friars of the Franciscan
Order. In Guatemala, on the other hand, there was for a long time a
dispute between the Dominicans and the Franciscans as to which should
have the privilege of proselytizing in Guatemala. This quarrel, which
Remesal (p. 587 ff.) plainly thought disgraceful, was at its height
from 1551 to 1560. On January 22, 1556, cedulas were dispatched from
Valladolid bidding both the orders to live at peace with each other.
Both orders had fine churches in Guatemala.

Struggles between the Dominicans and the Indians. We have already
noticed how, as early as 1533, the King had expressed a wish to know
everything possible about the dwellers in Guatemala. In 1555 the
Lacandones and Puchutla put to death the good Dominican missionary.
Fray Domingo de Vico. From that time there was a constantly growing
wish on the part of the Spaniards to conquer those people, not only
because they were not Christians and ate human flesh, but because they
were a constant menace. On January 22, 1556, a cedula was dispatched
ordering that the trouble-makers be reduced to obedience. (Remesal,
lib. x, cap. 11.) For a long time after that bitter struggles between
the Dominicans and the Indians lasted, struggles which caused the
Spaniards to give the name of Tierra de Guerra to the region. One of
the missionaries in this region. Fray Diego de Ribas, had some success
in the region north of Huehuetenango in 1685. (Villagutierre, p. 176
ff.) He and his men opened up a road that led from Huehuetenango into
the regions north and east of there. They got on very well until they
came into contact with some Lacandones, who proved to be spies. From
that time on their troubles increased.

From all this it is easy to deduce that the peoples to the south of the
Lacandones and Maya (such people as the Choles) were of a comparatively
docile temperament and were easily won over, temporarily, to the
Christian faith. As soon, however, as the fiercer and more stubborn
Lacandones brought their influence to bear upon the converts, the
latter found that their attachment to the new religion was but
superficial. (Remesal, lib. x, cap. 10.) Moreover, the lack of
authority to use armed force wherever necessary was another
disadvantage under which the missionaries labored. There can be but
little doubt that they also were too hasty in their attempts to
exchange the somewhat abstruse spiritual worship of the Catholic Church
for the veneration of tangible gods of stone or wood. They were quick
to destroy the old and long-venerated gods, but they were unable to
replace them with something the Indians were able to understand.

In 1686 the King (Charles II), calling the Viceroy's attention to the
great number of unconverted tribes in Guatemala, Yucatan, and
elsewhere, ordered further reductions to be made, at once, but as
gently as possible.

The Inception of the Plan to Subdue the Itzas, 1689. In 1689 Captain
Juan de Mendoza wrote to the court to tell how the reductions had been
begun, and to ask that he might be placed at the head of fifty
soldiers. On the advice of Guzman, who had now returned from Guatemala
to the Spanish court, his wish was granted. The following plan for
the reduction of the Choles and the Lacandones was decided upon.
(Villagutierre, p. 190.)

Three entradas were to be made at the same time. One from the province
of Guatemala, which was in the hands of the Dominicans; a second from
Huehuetenango, which was Mercedarian; and the third from Chiapas, which
was Dominican. Fray Augustin Cano, of the Order of Predicadores, and
Fray Diego de Ribas, of the Order of la Merced, were to go first and
try, by peaceful means, to accomplish their purpose. Mendoza was to try
more vigorous measures. Juan de Mendoza and his men were to be nothing
more than an escort to the Padres, and the conquest was to be
accomplished only by the evangelical word.

Soberanis Ordered to Coöperate. On November 24, 1692, like orders were
given to Don Roque de Soberanis y Centeno, Governor of Yucatan, and he
was told to coöperate with President Barrios Leal of Guatemala.
Unfortunately the enterprise was interrupted by the fact that unjust
accusations caused a suspension of Leal's powers from 1691 to 1694.

Ursua to Succeed Soberanis in Office. At about this time an arrangement
was made by the King whereby the Sargento Mayor Don Martin de Ursua y
Arizmendi[7.1] was to succeed Don Roque de Soberanis y Centeno in the
government of Yucatan. At the time Ursua was in Mexico, at the court of
the Viceroy. Ursua, who is to occupy much of our attention for some
time to come, wrote a letter to King Charles, which is given by
Villagutierre (lib. iii, cap. 8) and which I here translate in part.

A Letter from Ursua y Arizmendi to the King of the Spains. "SIRE,--Your
Majesty having had the graciousness to confer upon me the future
possession of the Governorship of the Provinces of Yucatan, in which
post I am to succeed Don Roque de Soberanis y Centeno, ... my
employment, during the time of my Governorship, is to be the Conversion
and Reduction of the innumerable Indians, as well Infidel as Apostate,
who are between the said Provinces of Yucatan and those of Guatimala.
(And I shall urge) the opening of a road from the one to the other, not
only to facilitate Commerce, which would be for the Public Convenience
and the service of your Majesty, but would also make for the Reduction
of the so many Indians.... So I propose to Your Majesty: That at my own
expense, and with no cost to the Royal Exchequer, when I shall have
entered upon the Governorship and shall have made my Preparations, I
shall put into execution the opening of a Highway from the Provinces of
Yucatan to those of Guatimala, at the same time reducing, by the
peaceful means of the Evangelical Preaching, all the Indians who shall
be found in those regions. But the Conversion is not to interrupt the
opening of the Road which is more important as it will facilitate the
later reduction of all those who live in those parts by the continuous
Passing and Commerce of the Spaniards of both Provinces...."

The King Grants all that Ursua Asks. In the memorial just mentioned
Ursua asked that orders be given so that the prelates of the Order of
San Francisco, the President of the Audience of Guatemala, and the
Viceroy of New Spain should be obliged to give him every sort of aid

In 1693 the King replied, saying that he had given the desired orders
to the Viceroy of New Spain, the President of Guatemala, the Bishop of
Yucatan, and the Provincial of San Francisco. He then commanded that
care should be taken to choose the best places for bridges, that inns
should be established every four or eight leagues for the shelter of
travelers, and that every effort should be made to form settlements
that would insure the safety of travelers. As the work was not to begin
until Ursua had entered upon his duties as Governor, the Viceroy, Conde
de Galve, the Bishop, and others were unable, till well into 1694, to
aid the work they all wished to see brought to a successful conclusion.
Meanwhile Barrios Leal was still under the stigma of a Visita or
Inspection. When his character was cleared of all blame, in the middle
of 1694, he was told how the Itzas of Tayasal and other infidel nations
were infesting the country and committing various atrocities. Once
Barrios Leal was restored, the reduction began in earnest.

President Barrios Aids in the Undertaking. As soon as Barrios Leal was
restored to office as President of the Audience of Guatemala and
as soon as circumstances permitted, active preparations for the
long-discussed conquest of the Itzas were begun.

Villagutierre (lib. iv, cap. i) speaks thus of the preparations that
were made: "We have already seen how intently President Don Jacinto de
Barrios considered the hints which the Missionary Padres Fray Melchor
Lopez and Fray Antonio Margil[7.2] and other persons had made to him,
urging the importance of setting about with all possible efficiency the
reduction of Barbarism in those Woodlands. So he promptly began to take
the steps which seemed suitable in the matter.... It was resolved by
all the leaders and ministers: That the Entrada for the reduction of
the Woodlands should be made at the beginning of the next year, 1695
(which is the beginning of summer in those lands)...."

Arrangements for the Entrada; Supplies, etc. Provisions were made
whereby men who voluntarily gave aid in money or in extra services to
those who were directing the entrada were to be advanced in rank over
their fellows. Besides it was arranged that as soon as possible the
religious authorities were to give their necessary aid.

Juan de Mendoza had already been named leader of the army, and as he
was absent from the province at the time, it was decided that the
President should appoint as leaders those whom he thought best.

Villagutierre (p. 219) continues: "And the President was to call to the
Junta de Guerra the Padres Maestros Fray Diego de Ribas, Fray Augustin
Cano, Fray Joseph Delgado, Fray Tomas Guerrero, and Fray Pedro Monzón,
as well as other persons well versed in the frontiers, Entradas and
Woodlands of the Infidels, because of the great value of their opinions
in determining the methods of operation and the manner of penetrating
the forest region....

"Likewise, it was determined that the expenses they were planning to
incur and which were found necessary, should be met from the Royal
Funds and that the Royal Officers should issue orders for quantities of
maize, beans, chili, and fowl, which were to be collected with all
speed as part of the Royal Tribute from the Provinces of Vera Paz,
Chiapa, and Gueguetanango.

"And it was ordered that Spanish men-at-arms should be recruited at
once, and that notice of this determination should be given to the
Alcaldes Mayores and to Don Roque de Soberanis y Centeno, Governor of
the Province of Yucatan.

"At this time the President had all the chief citizens of the City of
Guatemala called together.... He urged each one to aid with his person
or with whatever aid of his he could...." The result of this appeal was
a quickened activity in the recruiting and in the collecting of
supplies and munitions of war. At the same time Don Joseph de Escals
was applied to for aid in the collecting of donations or voluntary

The Voluntary Contributions. Toward the end of 1694 the donations began
to come pouring in. A list of them will give some idea of the scale on
which operations were carried out.

Don Joseph de Escals sent from Sonsonate 350 pesos, which he got by
selling 56 horses given by the citizens.

Don Juan Jeronimo de Mexia, Corregidor of Huehuetenango, 100 pesos from
the citizens and 100 of his own as well as 14 horses.

Quasaltenango, 14 horses but no money.

Acasaguastlan, through Captain Don Miguel de Azanon, its Corregidor, 34
horses but no money.

Chiquimula, 70 horses and 50 pesos.

Soconusco, 30 horses and 6 mules.

Esquintepeque and Guazacapan, 13 horses, 2 mules, and 23 pesos.

San Salvador, 60 horses, 11 mules, and 200 pesos.

Teconicapa and Huehuetenango, 33 horses, 800 fowl, and 400 bushels of

Guatemala, 1176 pesos, 49 horses, and 7 mules.

Don Jacobo Barba of Zuchitepeque, 100 pesos.

Don Francisco Lopez de Albizuri, two soldiers and paid for the entire
time of the campaign.

Don Juan de Galvez, 20 horses.

Don Estevan de Medrano, four soldiers for six months.

The totals of the donations were 2399 pesos, 354 horses, 22 mules, 420
bushels of maize, 800 fowl, etc.

Quarrels between Soberanis and the Bishop of Yucatan. While matters
were going forward in a fairly satisfactory manner in Guatemala,
affairs were quite unsatisfactory in Yucatan, where the quarrels
between Don Roque de Soberanis and the Bishop of Yucatan retarded all

At length the Viceroy of Mexico despatched Don Francisco Sarasa as
Oidor to look into the situation and to report on it. As a result of
his investigations Soberanis was deprived of his office. Believing that
he could best defend himself by going in person to Mexico, Soberanis
left Yucatan for the viceregal court. The natural step for the Viceroy,
Conde de Galve, was to appoint Martin de Ursua y Arizmendi as Governor
_ad interim_ and this was done.

Finding himself in possession (albeit only temporarily) of the
government of Yucatan, and in view of the fact that he already held the
necessary orders and cedulas for the opening of the road to Guatemala
and for the conversion of the Indians along the route, as well as the
advices from the President of Guatemala speaking of the matter, Ursua
decided it was best to put them into immediate execution.

The year 1695 was already started and it was necessary to set to work
at once, not only on the actual work of the entrada, but also on the
task of getting the good will of the Cabildo of the city of Merida, of
the Bishop, of the province of San Francisco, and of the Count of
Galve, Viceroy of New Spain.

President Barrios Decides to Join the Entrada in Person. Villagutierre
(lib. iv, cap. 4) goes on to inform us that after enough arms,
munitions, food supplies, and small gifts for the Indians were got
together, and just as the troops and the monks were on the point of
setting off on their march to the woodlands. President Barrios Leal
made up his mind to go with them in person. Villagutierre (p. 228) thus
graphically describes the effect of his proposal: "In spite of the fact
that the Ecclesiastical and Secular Cabildos of that City of Guatemala
tried to dissuade him from his plan, urging him to notice that although
that undertaking was so glorious and so much to the service of God and
the King, and so greatly favored by all, by the public welfare and by
the good of Christendom, he ought not to risk his life so wantonly upon
it; and although they also warned him of the terribleness of the
attacks which were always suffered in the stomach because of the
hardships of the painful journey and country ride, bad resting-places,
worse roads and lack of assistance, rest and tranquillity, which would
put his health in evident danger, so that all felt he ought to give up,
or at least postpone his journey until he was more hale and hearty in
health; in spite of all these and other objections nothing arose from
all these representations, and fears which sufficed to change the
fervent zeal of the bold President who, in replying, first thanked them
all for the great attention and affection with which they looked to his
convenience, and then said that the greatest safety lay only in his
being the first in all dangers in the service of Both Majesties."

The gallant old President (who appears to have been subject to
apoplectic seizures) wished to be in command of the army, but in case
he were forced to fall back at any time to a place of safety, he
appointed an assistant, who was Don Bartolomé de Amezquita, Fiscal of
that Audience of Guatemala.

Amezquita, then, was Captain General of the entrada, taking the Chiapas
division. Captain Juan Diaz de Velasco was made leader of the Vera Paz
division. Don Tomás de Mendoza y Guzman was made leader of the
Huehuetenango division.

When the pay, supplies, and baggage had been distributed among the
soldiers, the President gave out his final orders as to the length of a
day's journey. He had already sent ahead to the Alcalde Mayor of
Ocozingo in Chiapas ordering that suitable _ranchos_ be put up in
certain places to shelter the royal army when it should arrive. While
the Indians of Ocozingo were working on these they had been attacked by
some Lacandon Indians when scarcely a house had been completed. All
these unmistakable evidences of the proximity of the notorious
Lacandones made Barrios choose the Chiapas division for himself, as it
was the most likely to come across them.

At the same time the President ordered Don Tomás (de Mendoza?) de
Guzman to go ahead with one hundred men and act as escort for the
Indians while they were putting up the houses near Ocozingo or any more
convenient place. Barrios had already informed Ursua that he intended
to set out in January, 1695, and the latter was to enter the unsubdued
area from the north at the same time. Surveyors were to go ahead of the
main body of men, and by means of smudges were to afford the greatest
possible facility for the road openers, who thus would be prevented
from going astray.

The Expedition Sets out from Guatemala City. At length the expedition
really did start. (Villagutierre, pp. 234 ff.) Besides the soldiers and
Indian bearers there were many friars, among whom were Padre Fray Diego
de Ribas, Padre Fray Antonio Margil, Missionary Padre Fray Pedro de la
Concepción, Master Cano, and others. As the army set off, all the
citizens and nobility of Guatemala flocked to see them. The first day's
journey led to Ixtapa, where they spent the night; the next day they
went to Pazon, then to Huehuetenango, which they entered on January 23,
1695, having journeyed forty-six leagues from Guatemala.

In Huehuetenango the President, the monks, the officers, and the men
all met with a warm welcome from the inhabitants. It is but natural
that, on the eve of an undertaking which must have appeared very
formidable to them, a large part of the time should be given up to
religious exercises. Captain Melchor Rodriguez Mazariegos joined the
party at the head of fifty men. Mazariegos himself, together with the
standard-bearer Juan Salvador de Mata and Sergeant Pedro de Chaves
Galindo, were all serving without pay, and many other people from the
region, as well as some from Tabasco, joined the army voluntarily.

Events at Huehuetenango. On January 29, Amezquita arrived from
Guatemala, where he had been making some final arrangements. Barrios
spent his time at Huehuetenango in paying the new troops, distributing
horses and supplies, and making all the final arrangements.

It was not long before the news of the departure of the President
reached Ursua in Yucatan. (Villagutierre, pp. 235 ff.) The whole
enterprise was so important for the service of God, the King, the
public weal, and the souls of the Indians that Ursua immediately set
about his preparations for the share his government was to take in it.

Ursua's Activities. Ursua did not follow the example of the President
by going in person at the head of his troops; instead he ordered
Captain Alonso Garcia de Paredes, Perpetual Regidor of San Francisco de
Campeche and Captain for War of the District of Sacabchen, to assemble
what troops he could and to go with them to meet the President, under
whose orders he should place himself, reporting to Ursua all
occurrences of importance. For all this Ursua gave Paredes the title of
Aide or the Captain General of las Montañas. Francisco Gonzalez
Richardo was appointed subchief, second in command only to Ursua.

An Army Sets out from Yucatan for the Montaña. When all the usual and
needful preparations had been made, the army set out from Yucatan. As
soon as they left the settled part of the province they entered the
territory of the Quehaches, whom they put to flight after a sharp
skirmish. Paredes' soldiers, however, refused to go on without
reënforcements, so the expedition had to turn back.

Padres Cano and Avendaño y Loyola. We have already reviewed the events
up to 1695, in which year the two great divisions of the Spanish forces
set out to subdue the dangerous Itzas and Lacandones. Hereafter we
will, in the main, trust to two religious writers, whose accounts of
the succeeding events are very vivid. Maestro Fray Agustin Cano
accompanied that division of the army which was led by President
Barrios; Padre Fray Andrés de Avendaño y Loyola, a Franciscan,
accompanied Ursua's division.

Cano's Account of the Entrada from Guatemala. For the sake of
continuity we will begin by quoting Cano's account of the entrada from
Guatemala: "My Lord, Your Majesty having been pleased to appoint me in
the Royal decree of Nov. 24, 1692, to enter into the territories of the
heathen, to try to bring about their conquest, in the due obedience and
execution of which, I personally took part in the expeditions into
those lands which they have made during these years through the
Province of Vera Paz, wishing to correspond to the Royal favor by which
Your Majesty has been pleased to appoint me for this purpose; I
understand that it is my duty to inform Your Majesty of what has
happened in these expeditions, making up for the delay of this report
by the simple truth and clearness of the information which up to the
present time could not be given without a great deal of confusion on
account of the strange character of the events."

The Route Followed by Cano. "The President [Barrios] ... finally
determined to enter by way of Chiapas, and that I should go by way of
Vera Paz with Captain Juan Diaz de Velasco and seventy men as an escort
to the priests. Accordingly, in the month of March, of the said year
'95, we started from the town of Cahabon, which is the last town of
Vera Paz; seven priests of my order, and we entered by very rough paths
into the highlands of the Chol, where we found many Indians, some
baptized, others heathen, and the more we penetrated those highlands,
the more numerous did we find the families in their hamlets, without
the form of towns. We told all these people that the object of our
journey was to search for them so that they should come together in
towns in such a way that we should be able to come and live with them
in order to teach them the law of God and to administer the holy
Sacraments to them, and that we also wished that all the people of
their tribe and of all the other tribes in those highlands should know
God, and should come together in towns. Thus we went, passing from some
farms to others in prosecution of our journey to the Lake, and we left
all the Indians peaceful and satisfied with the promise which they made
us to gather together in towns. In this we were obtaining plenty of
good results, since we taught them the Christian doctrine of which most
of the baptized Indians were totally ignorant. The children whom their
fathers brought to us were baptized, and the grown people confessed
themselves, many who had relapsed were consecrated anew, and the Holy
Sacraments were administered to some Christian Indians who were found
dying in their houses.

"After passing through the Province of Chol, which stretches from
Cahabon forty-five or fifty leagues, we came upon another tribe which
is called the Mopanes, among whom Spaniards or ministers of the holy
gospel had never entered, and, although the difference in language was
of some embarrassment, God willed that we should find some Mopan
Indians who understood the Chol language and by means of these we
declared to them the purpose of our journey. This had good results at
that time in the case of some adults, who, being dangerously ill, asked
for holy baptism, and in the case of some sick children whom their
fathers brought and who went to Heaven as the first-fruits among this
tribe. Their principal cacique, Taximchan, fled from us, and although
we made various endeavors to draw him to us, he always deceived us with
false promises. But we made friends with four other caciques of this
tribe of the Mopanes Indians, called, in their paganism, the Cacique
Zac, the Cacique Tuzben, the Cacique Yahcab, and the Cacique Tezecum.
They came to see us with a part of their families, and every day there
came many Mopanes Indians to buy knives and many other little trifles
which the soldiers sold in exchange for blankets. We presented them
with salt, and for this they came to see us and to sell us their fruit,
and apparently they were becoming friendly."

The Chols and the Mopanes. "On account of the many Indians who came
every day to see us, and of the many farms and farm-buildings which we
saw in those highlands, we knew that that tribe of Mopanes was very
numerous. They all go naked like the Chols, and differ from them only
in their hair, in that they do not wear it of the same length like the
Chols, but cut the hair on the front part of the head and only wear it
long behind. It is a race more robust and barbarous than the Chols;
they have idols of diabolical forms, some of which we found, and they
have many other superstitions, about which it would take long to tell.
We found very little frankness in their nature and we found that they
have relations with the Ahizaes Indians of the Lake; and we even
learned that they all were of one Ytza nation, calling themselves Mopan
Ytza; Peten Ytza and these Mopanes were subject to the petty King of
the Lake, about which and about its Island of Peten and about its
caciques they gave us much information, although they always refused to
show us the way thither. Nevertheless, we prevailed upon the Cacique
Zac to show us the way from Mopan as far as the first plain, and from
there forward our guide was the Cacique Yahcab, who knew the Chol
language, by means of which he served as an interpreter, though a very
unskilled one.

"In this way we had some means of prosecuting our journey to the Lake,
and having written to the President by way of Vera Paz what had been
done, and leaving in Mopan two priests to take care of those Indians,
with twenty men for their protection, we priests, five in number,
passed onward with Captain Juan Diaz de Velasco and fifty men."

From Mopan to the Lake. "We traveled from Mopan toward the Lake a
matter of thirty-two leagues, in which the confusion of our guide and
interpreter, the Cacique Yahcab, delayed us much more than our
ignorance of the way; for he, whether from his want of knowledge, or
from malice, said at each stream or small river that there was no more
water till we reached the Lake. Having then come to a small river
called Chacal, we made a halt while some of our men crossed with the
guide and proceeded to reconnoiter the path, and they went forward in
such a way that they reached the Lake and discovered the great _Peten_
or island which stands in the middle of it, and which, according to the
story of those who went there, must be distant from Chacal a matter of
fourteen or sixteen leagues. Our people met many Ahizaes Indians, who
came from the Lake to the shore armed with bows and arrows, and they,
at the first sight of our people, got their bows ready; but the Indian
Yahcab, who had been told what to do, calmed them by telling them that
we were traders, which the Ahizaes heard with much pleasure. But when
the said interpreter of ours went on to tell them that with these
merchants were some Padres to teach them the law of God, the Ahizaes
raised a great whispering among themselves; and as our people were
unable to give the Ahizaes more reasons than those which that rude
interpreter had studied and offered, there was no way to pacify them,
and it was not known what they said, but all was confusion and
disturbance, which resulted in fighting and general encounters, in
which our men received no damage, but of the Ahizaes some were killed
and wounded and two of them were captured; one of these was called
Quixan and the other Chan. These two Indians uniformly said that the
Ahizaes had taken up arms because they had had notice that we had come
to Mopan, and that they had not perceived any other people in their
lands either in the direction of Yucatan or in any other direction;
which agreed with our not having any sign either from the people who
went with the said President Don Jacinto, nor of those whom he had sent
with the Padres de la Merced, although we made every effort to find
them. I wished that the said two Indians, or one of them, should go
with a message for his companions, but the affair was so stained with
blood, and the time was so advanced that it did not permit of these
delays, and the Captain gave sufficient reason for a contrary decision;
and the Ahiza Indian called Chan quickly removed any doubt by fleeing
by night, as a result of which we took more care of the remaining
Indian called Quixan. Seeing, then, that at that time we were not able
to get any result in that Ahiza nation, as they had taken up arms and
we, not understanding their language, were not able to persuade them
nor to come to an agreement with them; so that, if we went on, it would
only be to continue a war against the will of our Majesty, as expressed
in the Royal decree, and without any hope of good results, since we
were not able to enter into the Island for want of canoemen and of
instruments to make canoes, and for the same reason we could not go
across the Lake in search of the people of the said President."

Cano Advises Return. "Seeing also that the rains were beginning with
great fury, and that our people were becoming sick because of the
change of weather, to which was added our finding ourselves in such
want of supplies that we scarcely had what was needed to return to
Mopan; for these reasons I advised the Captain that we should return to
Mopan, and that there we should await news of the said President, and
that when we had received this news we should see what ought to be
done. This plan we carried out, taking in our company the Ahiza Indian
called Quixan, treating him kindly and carefully."

Explanations of their Withdrawal Sent to Guatemala. At this juncture an
unfortunate controversy sprang up. Cano says that he and his companions
wrote to Guatemala, explaining why they had withdrawn. Their
explanations were not accepted, however, because a false report had
gained credence to the effect that Don Jacinto Barrios had reached Lake
Peten. The authorities in Guatemala persisted in believing the latter
report, and they charged the Padres with trying to discredit the
President. The General Assembly then issued a decree in which they
ordered Captain Velasco at once to return to the lake and fortify
himself there on pain of losing all his property like a traitor.

The Decree of the General Assembly. "This was the substance of the
decree which was despatched to us, with many other circumstances in a
line with the ends and false bases on which the whole was founded.

"We received this decree in Mopan, with many other letters of the same
tenor, so that beside the ordinary troubles (common to all), I had this
one in addition to lay before our Lord.... Other letters [arrived] from
the said President, D. Jacintho, written from a place of the
Lacandones, which we called Nuestra Señora de las Dolores, where he had
joined the people who had entered the country with the Padres de la
Merced. In these letters he replied to those which we had written when
we entered Mopan, and he gave orders in these that the men should
retire, leaving thirty men as an escort in that place, since the rainy
season was beginning, and because he was doing the same thing on his
part; by this we knew that the second basis of the decree did not
exist, since the President found himself in Lacandon, which is so far
away from the Lake of Ahiza...."

Quarrels among the Soldiers and the Officials. The entrada from
Guatemala came to a close to the accompaniment of incessant and petty
wrangling on the part of the soldiery and of the officials.

The Writers of the Decree Punished. It is good to know, however, that
the writers of the decree were punished by a sound reprimand. Cano was
reinstated in the respect of all. He tells the plans for future work in
these words: "... He [President Barrios] intended going again the
following year by the Province of Vera Paz.... For this purpose I
proposed to the said President that it was necessary that those roads
should be constructed in such a way that the supplies could be carried
in mule packs and not on the shoulders of Indians; and that the tools
should be provided for building canoes and boats,--also officers and
seamen who should know how to manage them, since in no other way was it
possible to enter the Island or _Peten_ of Ahiza. All this was ordered
to be provided and carried out; but it was not carried out fully on
account of the protracted and distressing illness of the said
President, which grew worse and worse every day. So that God permitted
that from this storm should result one calm death, and that, through
antagonistic means, there should be added new delays to this

"Meanwhile there were not wanting priests of good courage who wished to
take part in the conversion of these souls, and Fray Diego Palomino
having died in the highlands of Chol from illness which attacked him
there, God moved the Reverend Reader, Fray Christobal de Prada, with
such powerful inclinations, that while he was giving a course in
philosophy in this convent of Guatemala with great credit and esteem,
and without being detained by the love of his scholars or the arguments
of his friends, he gave up his chair and went to the wilderness, where
he devoted himself with so much fervor and zeal to the education of
those heathen that in a short time he perfected himself in the language
of Chol, of which he had already learned the rudiments; and he went
ahead of every one in the Mopan or Ahiza languages, without a master or
grammar of the said language, but only with what help he was able to
get from the Mopan and Chol Indians, of whom he brought together many
who had fled before he went into the wilderness."

The outcome of the events described in this chapter resulted in the
subjection of the Itzas, but not, however, through the agency of the
people of Guatemala. We shall learn from the account of Fray Andrés de
Avendaño y Loyola all that occurred in the year 1695-1696.

                              CHAPTER VIII

                 THE ITZAS OF TAYASAL, 1695-1696

It has been pointed out in the Introduction that Avendaño's Relacion is
of very great value as a first-hand account of the conquest of the
Itzas. But we must not lose sight of the fact that that same Relación
is also a wonderful, though unconscious, testimony to the piety,
unselfishness, and bravery of him who wrote it. Undoubtedly the priests
of the Roman Catholic Church did many unjust things during the period
of Spanish domination in the New World, but the number of good and
noble deeds done by them (deeds the bulk of which is unrecorded)
completely dwarfs the evil. Avendaño was a type of the best sort of
priest in the New World. Impelled by no other motive than sheer faith
and an ardent desire to do the duty of his office, he went through the
events which we will leave him to relate.

Preamble. "I, Fray Andrés de Avendaño y Loyola, ... accompanied by my
Padres and Preachers Fray Antonio Perez de San Roman, Apostolic notary
of the first trip; Fray Joseph de Jesus Maria, Apostolic notary of the
second trip, and Fray Diego de Echebarria, ... made this first trip
[beginning] on the 3d of June of the past year of 1695, and the second,
on which we entered the nation of the Ytzaex, began on the 13th of
December of the said year, and we returned to this city of Merida on
the 6th of April of this year of 1696...."

Preparations for the Journey. "... Here begins the historical account,
which, with the divine aid, I am attempting to tell of the casualties
and events which happened in this journey for the conversion of souls,
while opening a road from this Province to that of Guatemala, taking as
my sure loadstar the honor and glory of God and the well-being of
souls, which, at the cost of unextinguishable fervor, Señor Don Martin
de Urssua y Arismendi[8.1] Provisional Governor and Captain-General of
these provinces for his Majesty, is attempting to bring about; with
none the less support of the Señor Oidor Don Francisco de Saraza, who
at the present time resides in the city of Merida de Yucatan. Today,
the 2d of June of this present year 1695 ... I, then, armed with so
strong an armor of faith, say that God, our Lord, having moved the
hearts of these two above-mentioned gentlemen, so that, besides their
undertaking other enterprises of his Majesty (whom may God guard), the
fervent zeal of the said Don Martin de Urssua y Arismendi found an
opportunity, the Señor Oidor (as has been said) favoring it, for
carrying out a journey,--two messengers these, both as acceptable to
God as deserving in the service of the royal crown, since in fulfilling
the duty of his office of Provisional Governor, [Ursua] did not waste
at all the precious jewel of time, but put into execution, in addition
to the difficult work of government, this most difficult and special
work which his Majesty granted to him of opening the wild road from
this province to that of Guatemala, without satisfying the eagerness of
his zeal, in spite of the excessive cost of the undertaking; for he
gave all the supplies necessary for one hundred and fifteen Spaniards
and one hundred and fifty-six Indian musketeers, for which he, jointly
with the Municipality of Campeche and other special friends, paid,
joining mutually not only in the payment of wages, but also sharing the
expense of provisions.... Among those who joined in this mission were
the Padre Preacher, Fray Juan de San Buena Ventura, and the Padre
Preacher, Fray Joseph de Jesus Maria, both living in the convent of the
Santa Recolección of this city of Merida, and Brother Fray Tomás de
Alcoser, lay friar, and Brother Lucas, lay Brother of the said convent.
All of these composed or established one mission. And the Padre
Preacher, Fray Antonio Perez de San Roman, holding the office of
apostolic notary, with the lay Brother, Alonso de Vargas, and I, the
most unworthy of all, who went as their delegate apostolic

"The aforesaid Provisional Governor [Ursua] was not satisfied with this
enterprise alone, and, without considering the greatness of the cost,
as his fidelity to His Majesty developed, he disposed of his services
so that at one and the same time to drive out some Englishmen (as he
did with glory enough of his own) who inhabited the lands of Zacatone,
adjoining this province, and who lived there on account of their large
profits in logwood. He gave the assistance needed for this duty to
Captain Bernardo de Lizarraga, and he executed it with double
victories; and then, not sparing the ploughing of the foaming waves, he
made four captures in his first victory, in order to gain his second.
As a skillful man he went with all his men into the wild woods of
pathless thickets, where, though with great risk, falling upon the
enemy in the rear, he made his second attack, again gaining as spoils
of his second victory, other prizes, and driving out from there the
said English enemies. I speak no more of this, as it does not belong in
this place."

The Start. "Therefore in prosecution of the aforesaid trip, I started
with the Padres as my companions on the second day of June of the year
'95, with a very broad mandate which the aforesaid Provisional Governor
gave me, so that I could take the singers and sacristans, who of their
free will wished to follow me; exempting, as a privilege, from taxes,
those who followed me, and their wives and children...."[8.2]

Indian Singers. "On my showing the above mandate to the magistrates of
the towns through which I passed, there were at once Indians provided
to accompany me besides those who went with me, who were the

      Marcos Canul, Master of the Chapel of the town of Calkini.
      Lorenzo Yah, servant of Captain Belasco.
      Nicolas Mas, singer of Mascanu.
      Diego Mo, sacristan of Mascanu.
      Diego Cen, collector of alms of San Christobal.
      Diego Pol, singer of Telchao.
      Francisco Ku, son of Max Chuz, my servant.
      Nicolas Mai, singer of Bolonchen, and he died there.
      Manuel Piste, singer of Bolonchen de Cauich.
      Luis Ci, sacristan of Tepakam."

Arrival at Cauich. "With them I went to the last pueblo of this
province through that part called Cauich, where I found Captain Don
Juan del Castillo, placed there by the Governor, in charge, not only of
the soldiers, but also of their arms, ammunition, and supplies; and he
showed himself singularly kind to us. On the second day, having reached
the said town, we found an Indian named Juan Ake, a native of the
pueblo of Hoppelchen, who made many trips in the forests to trade with
the heathen Indians. From him, with some finesse and gentle
persuasions, I extracted the information of three pueblos of heathen
Indians, which were found fifty leagues from there, with the names and
descriptions, which we verified afterwards."

Departure from Cauich. "We started from this pueblo of Cauich well
content with this good news in the afternoon of the day of Saint John
the Baptist, after having celebrated his festival with all the
spiritual rejoicings which the starting on such a difficult enterprise
demanded, beginning from this afternoon to reap some fruits of our
journey, since we took this journey in retribution of our sins. In a
little while a heavy rain-storm caught us, which lasted from the
evening till the dawn of the next day, with such a tempest of
lightnings and thunders that the mechanism of the celestial orbs seemed
to dissolve. The place where we slept this night is called Hobonmo, two
long leagues distant from the said town of Cauich. Here God worked a
manifest miracle with my boy, for a viper of the most poisonous kind
which are found in this province, called in this idiom _Kancñah_, came
to repose on the mat on which my boy slept, and stayed there resting by
the side of his face, until he moved and gave an opportunity to the
frightened boy to rise; and when we lighted a light, we saw it and the
Indians killed it without it doing any harm."

Aguada of Hobon Ox; Chunzalam, Vecanxan. "We proceeded in the morning
of the next day from the said place, a distance of one league, where we
found a _haltun_, that is, a hollowed stone, which usually contains
water. It is called Hobon Ox. At the distance of two leagues from this
_haltun_ is found another place called Chunzalam, with an _aguada_
called Kalceh. One league from this place is found another _aguada_ on
the right hand. It is called Vecanxan. A little after this we found a
small plain on the left hand."

'Nohhalali Th[=a] Ayn, Sucte. "At the distance of three-fourths of a
league is found another _aguada_ called Nohhalal, and after this is
found another _aguada_ called Th[=a] Ayn, and a little further on,
something like half a league, are found some columns of round stone,
which the natives say have served as an altar for the chaplain of the
Spaniards, whose Captain is called Mirones. At the side of the said
columns is found a well, narrow and round and somewhat deep, although
the mystery of what its purpose is, is never revealed. At a distance of
half a league from this place is found another _haltun_ with very good
water, and a league from this is found the place called Sucte, worthy
of memory on account of the things which it contains. First, this place
is a plain or meadow, the largest which I have seen up to this time,
and it extends on all sides out of sight. The whole covered with trees
with a small fruit called _Nanren_, and other trees called _Guazes_, so
that all of them make a design, by their standing in such order that
they appear to have been planted for the purpose. So that this _savana_
is very beautiful on all sides. In the middle of it is found an
_aguada_, well provided, although in the dry season it is apt to be
dried up. To the South of the said _savana_, at a distance of a quarter
of a league, within a thicket is found another _aguada_ with better and
more water, from its being spring water. It rises and falls like the
sea, although the sea is distant, from it, in its nearest parts,
twenty-six leagues. It breeds in it very good fish and very large

Ix Kata-Kal. "At a distance of a league from this place there is
another, Ix Kata-Kal, though it does not always contain water. The said
_aguada_ is found on the Eastern side of the road. On the remainder of
this road at a distance of three leagues, there are only found some
_haltuns_ or hollowed stones, which relieve the necessities of many
thirsty people, but not in the dry season. As we passed by them, all
the path was rough and stony, so that from the fatigue of going over it
on foot, we had great trouble from the want of water until we reached a
place called Nohku, to which from the aforesaid _savana_ is four very
long leagues."

Nohku. "In this place we experienced comfort enough, since God had
provided us with food and drink enough to aid us in passing the day of
the glorious Apostles, Saint Peter and Saint Paul, so that in that
place we said mass. And in it we found a house of idols, so that,
although the Spaniards who passed first had broken many, we broke more
than fifty others, putting in their place a cross, in order to give to
God the reverence and worship which the idolaters of the place usurped
for themselves. From this report which we heard there grew in us all a
Christian curiosity to see the said place in order to exorcise the
devil on account of his frauds and to glorify and praise him who is
powerful everywhere. We came back from seeing the said place about the
hour of vespers, which were celebrated with as much outward and inward
rejoicing as was possible in that place. We arranged the altar as
decently as we could, through the influence of which and our own
Christian character, the Indians, without being forced to, also
resolved to confess and to receive the sacraments (for the example of
the chiefs is a great thing), so that, without forcing them by words,
their subjects silently followed them...."

Nohvecan. "We left this place well contented, although with our feet
wearied and wounded by the roughness of the road and we walked a
distance of four leagues to another place called Nohvecan, which place,
for a league before and a league after, consists of great overflowed
stretches which in this language are called _Akalchees_. It can be well
understood what pain we endured with our sore legs and feet passing
through this two leagues of water and mud, which at the least came up
over our knees, leaving us almost crippled; another great hardship
being added, as soon as we came to an end of this trip, which is the
abundance of mosquitoes, which did not allow us rest by day or night.
There is in this place an _aguada_ which is very large and deep and
which in the rainy season becomes a river full of water. There are
found in the said place some trees, the bark of which is in smell and
taste the same as the cinnamon. It is called in this idiom,
_Ppelizkuch_; also on the paths is found a vine, which, on touching it,
smells of garlic. The odor reaches a distance of a quarter of a league."

Hardships Suffered by the Padres. "This torment was followed by another
very heavy storm of wind which seemed to tear up the trees by the
roots, with a great fall of rain, thunder and lightning, which
afflicted our hearts. So that imitating in our weakness the Apostle
Saint Peter in another similar storm, which befell him on the sea, we
had recourse to God with 'Lord, save us, we perish'; though by
imitating him in every thing, we deserved the reproval of our weakness,
by the answer which Christ gave to his Apostles, when he calmed the
storm by his power; for there he reproved them with these words, 'Why
are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Wherefore do you doubt?', his
most holy Majesty showing his pity at once."

Oppol; a Bridge Built across a River. "On the next day early, warned by
what had happened in that place, at the first steps which we took in
the prosecution of our trip, we passed another league of swamp with the
same misery as we had the preceding one, as far as a place called
Oppol, which is three leagues from this place. In it to the Northwest,
at a distance of a quarter of a league, is found a deep _aguada_, from
which our company provided itself with water needed for consumption.
Two leagues from this place, beyond a deserted old town, there is found
a running stream (although accidental) so that, to pass over it, we
made a bridge. The water is very good, though in the rainy season it
will be difficult to pass, like many others which we have found dry,
through our not having come in the rainy season; for when the force of
the river comes through the said places, the roads would be impassable."

Tanche. "Two leagues beyond this river is found a place called Tanche,
which is found on the brow of a lofty hill-top and in sight of another
very high ridge in a westerly direction from this rancho. At more than
half a league off is found the _aguada_ from which the thirsty satisfy
their need. A league and a half from this _rancho_ towards the South
(we follow this direction) is found another permanent river with an
artificial bridge, which cannot be passed in any other way. All the
roads are very much overflowed on account of the many ridges which
surround them. They call this river Yochalek."

Deserted Village of Temchay. "From this place to an old deserted town
called Temchay is three leagues. It has its _aguada_, but it does not
contain water except in the rainy season. We suffered great thirst,
because we had come with the hope that we should satisfy our needs
there, and we did not find anything but hard work enough, in repeating
our day's march, and in the fact that the hills were rough with many
ups and downs, and with more footprints of mountain Indians, who passed
by there, although these footprints were not recent."

Nohpek. "Suffering from the scarcity of water, we continued our way for
the space of three leagues farther, to a great _haltun_, or hollowed
stone, which held a great deal of water and which God willed that we
should find full. This place is called Nohpek. At the side of this
_haltun_ we found a _milpa_ well sown and provided with _chiles_, which
in the midst of our work served our hunger, so that, with a little
maize which we cooked, we had that day a cheerful meal; although to the
cheer there did not fail to be added a little bitterness; since in one
of the _ranchos_ where we lodged we found a tree which in that language
is called _Pomolche_. This produced a fruit of the same form as the
hazel nuts of Spain, as well in the shell as in the kernel, color,
smell, and taste. Curiosity led us to see if they were really hazel
nuts. We ate some of the kernels for some time, without finding any
difference. Therefore as quite a time passed in which there was no
effect other than what we expected, the Indians ate also, so as to
imitate us in everything. Eating the said kernels caused us some
thirst, giving us occasion to drink water, and we had scarcely drunk
it, when we all burst out with vomitings and violent diarrhoeas. Two
leagues on from this place, a part of the army of Spaniards was found,
and knowing that I was on the way, there came to receive me two priests
who were of those who had preceded me, with two soldiers; and one of
them, having had the same thing happen to him with the said fruit, said
that their remedy was a draught of wine. We took the remedy and after
we had purged ourselves thoroughly, we were, of a sudden, well."

Nohthub. "From this place it is two long leagues to an old deserted
place called Nohthub; all the way is overflowed or _akalchex_. In the
rainy season the road is very heavy. In this place we found the camp of
the Captain Don Joseph de Estenos, with all his people. It is a
pleasant place and has many orange and lemon trees. In it we saw a
large enclosure which the Indians made to keep off the Spaniards, when
the latter went to despoil them fifteen years before. It has two large
_aguadas_, one at the entrance of the said place, which in the dry
season is exhausted; with another large and round basin which God made
in a living rock. Another _aguada_ lies in an easterly direction, a
distance of half a league, and the water here is permanent and deep. It
breeds very good fish of large size and tame, so that, although the
soldiers went in swimming, the fish did not flee away, so that they
gave an opportunity to any one who had a _machete_ in his hand to kill
them. They call these fish crocodiles, because they are of the same
shape and with the same scales as crocodiles, and they are very good
eating, according to the statement of all who eat them."

Bacechac. "From this Nohthub we went five good leagues to a place which
they call Bacechac. In its center are three _aguadas_, but all were
dry. There is much overflowed land or _akalchex_. There are very large
forests with many copal and balsam trees, and many hills, on account of
which the paths are impassable in the rainy season. This place has its
_aguada_ in a westerly direction, and although it too held no water,
necessity made us experts, making deep holes in some parts of it, in
order that the land should distil its moisture. So it happened, God
giving us sufficient water from night to morning in the said wells
which we opened to relieve our need.

"We left this place the next day and traveled about two leagues by some
places which are very much submerged and not the less dangerous, as
much on account of the hills which surround them as from the chance
streams which are met there, until at last we reached a summit which
forms on the top a great plain, in which is found an _aguada_ called

Buete. "In this place the same thing happened to us (as far as water is
concerned) as in the preceding _aguada_. We left this place and
traveled some two leagues and a half to a place called Buete. In this
place we found twelve or thirteen houses of the heathen Indians, who
had just surrendered to the Indian soldiers of Sahcabchen, without any
violence, as I shall explain hereafter. This place has a very large
_aguada_ with much eel-grass and very many _caimans_. In this town and
two others near by we found ample supplies of maize, beans and the rest
of the fruits on which all live in this land; and it came very
opportunely, since already the army had no other recourse, after the
hunger which they had endured for three days past...."

Lack of Supplies. "It happened then that the captains found themselves
in want of supplies, and that they wrote several letters to Captain Don
Juan del Castillo about the transportation of some supplies which some
muleteers of the town of Teabo left in one of the aforementioned places
called Tzucte, at a distance of eight leagues from Cauich, which
supplies I saw when I passed through it, as well as the letters which
were written about the despatch of provisions, and in spite of these
letters or other special exertions in sending soldiers with mules from
the camp for the supplies, they effected nothing...."

Parades Seizes Some Farms. "Seeing then such a clear and extreme need.
Captain Alonso Garcia de Paredes, the head and leader of the other
captains, determined to send Captain Pedro de Zubiaur, with some
Spanish armed soldiers, following some confused rumors which an Indian
named Juan Ake, who had guided them, had spoken of. He it is who
mentioned these three _ranchos_ in my presence in the town of Cauich.
And although it is true, that there he mentioned these _ranchos_, here
he appeared in doubt in speaking with the captains, showing himself to
be totally ignorant of such towns, he being the cause that these
Spaniards lost themselves in those forests. But the soldiers, availing
themselves of their agility, climbed the trees and the hill-tops, from
which they discovered a great smoke, and they went on in that
direction; and having come up to it, they saw that there were the
soldiers of the town of Zahcabchen, who, by order of Captain Alonso
Garcia de Paredes, came out from another direction to the abandoned
town of Tzucthok, which the said Captain with these soldiers had
destroyed fifteen years since. Therefore he knowing beforehand of the
said farms, gave orders that they should proceed to take possession of
them before the Spaniards whom he had brought with him should come up.
The Indians obeyed the orders of their Captain, and entered upon the
farms with great imprudence, shooting without any cause, and killing
till they had killed five Indians, without more reason than that of the
avarice which led them to inspire the owners with fear, so that they
should flee, as many did, in order to rob them safely of as much as
they possessed; as they did. And to me it is evident that they made a
very imprudent entry on to these farms."

Fifty-one Indians of Buete Surrender. "Notwithstanding this imprudence,
fifty-one Indians delivered themselves up, with their wives and
children. These were from the said town of Buete, besides those who had
fled from Kantemo, and from the town of Yames, now today called the
town of the dead, from the five aforesaid having died there. Of these
Indians who gave themselves up, two were left as guides and the rest,
with their wives and children, they took as prisoners to the said
abandoned town of Tzucthok. The two guides who remained I treated
kindly and with special attention, as the first fruit of our love, I
mean, of our labors, and this they surely recognized, for from the love
they felt for me, they embraced me and asked me that I should be a
petitioner for them to the Captain Alonso Garcia, so that he should
tell his soldiers that they should return all the clothing and wax
which they had collected; since they themselves had neither resisted
nor defended themselves, but had on the other hand surrendered
voluntarily, when they might have run away and did not do so; but
calling out to the soldiers, they not only surrendered themselves, but
acted as guides to the other towns, at the convenient hour of dawn, so
that they gathered them all in without any noise;--they call all these
Indians who voluntarily surrendered, the Mayas."

Avendaño Argues with Paredes about his Plundering. "In compliance with
the request which the two pagan Indians made me, and having placed It
before the Captain, I gained my point by giving him advice; telling him
in my remarks that he should consider that in that first public act lay
the success of the rest, so that it was of great importance for him to
carry into effect the justice which the two pagan Indians asked for;
and I asked this for many reasons, the first;--because it was the
service of God, law and reason and in conformity with the charity which
we ought to show towards our neighbors and with the good example which
in the present case we ought to set.... The next reason is, if we show
them justice, it would follow, that, even if some of them fled, they
would proclaim the good deeds of the Spaniards, and the rest of the
people of the towns which we should come to in the future, would not
run away; and if they did not flee, they would serve with me as
messengers, so that through spreading the report of the good treatment
which had been shown them, the other townspeoples would not refuse to

The Royal Decrees are Mentioned by Avendaño. "The last thing which I
placed before him was the large number of decrees which His Majesty
(may God guard him) had despatched, and those which his predecessors of
eternal memory had despatched, which affirm the same thing which I
asked him, as in the case of the first instructions, which were given
(by the mandate of our Catholic King) to the Admiral Christopher

"The same thing was urged afterwards by the same Catholic Kings,
in the year 1501, upon the Commander, Nicolas de Ovando, when he went
to govern the island of Santo Domingo, and this decree reads as
follows:--that he should arrange with great vigilance and care that all
the Indians of Española should be free from slavery, and that they
should not be molested by any one, but that they should live as free
vassals, governed and guarded in justice and that they should arrange
so that they be instructed in the holy Catholic faith; since his
intention was that they should be treated with love and kindness,
without permitting that any one should do them harm; so that they
should not be hindered in receiving our holy faith and so that they
should not hate the Christians for their deeds, etc.'

"And many other decrees were issued thereafter for the same purpose,
the same thing being repeated and urged by an infinite number of
decrees and ordinances of the Emperors, Charles V, Philip II and III
and up to Philip IV...."

Paredes Promises to Return the Plunder. "All these reasons which I gave
to the said Captain, Alonso Garcia de Paredes, struck him favorably and
he gave me his word to coöperate in my request, causing their clothes
and the rest of the things which had been taken from them to be
returned to the Indian prisoners, promising at the same time to punish
the transgressors, as soon as he reached the said abandoned Tzucthok."

Paredes Fails to Keep his Word. "And when he reached there, I reminded
him of the said promise, but as avarice drew him more than charity, he
answered me with scorn, saying, 'God be with you. Padre, how can you
expect me to know now who was the man who robbed the prisoners?' At
this time there came one of the offending soldiers to speak to him. He
was wearing loose breeches made of the clothing which they had stolen
from the aforesaid Indians; and I, answering his rough suggestion, said
to him:--'See, Señor Captain, that there is standing near you one who
knows of or is the doer of the theft, since the breeches of this
soldier of yours show it.' He replied:--Padre, those are his
perquisites, which I cannot take away.' And at the same time, turning
his back to me, he said to him:--'Take notice, man, that I hold you
responsible for paying for all the wax which you and the rest of you
hold.' So that the special result of this trip can well be understood
to be quite contrary to the service of God and of the King, and very
useful only to the special ends of the avarice of the soldiers.

"I, seeing this coldness, in the beginning, never supposed that the
results would be happy, so that I felt sad enough; since it would have
been better not to have started out on such an enterprise, if I was to
see such inhumanities...."

Tzucthok, once before Reduced, had Rebelled. "By our lengthened stay in
this aforesaid abandoned town of Tzucthok, we had an opportunity of
gaining a better understanding of its ruins. This is a town,--one of
those which our Padre, Fray Christoval Sanchez, brought into obedience,
though afterwards the people became rebellious. Today the forked poles
which his holiness placed in the church he built are still standing. It
is a very pleasant place, although unhealthful on account of the
lightness of the winds. The water is pure, but also of a hardness which
makes it excessively harmful. There are many cocoa-nut palm trees, many
fruit trees, particularly lemons. Before reaching this place there is a
large spring or river beneath the ground, so that for the distance of a
league, the path goes following its banks and the bed of the said
river. It is to be understood that in the rainy season it is full of
water. There is good hunting in the woods, especially peacocks and
pheasants. The most common animal in these woods is a leopard or false
lion, with a red skin and with spots of various colors. The natives
call it _Chacekel_. Among the birds are some which are very different
from those of the Province. I heard a little bird warble, which I knew
at once was a linnet like those of Spain; it imitated it much in its
song as in its size, though not in its plumage. There is another bird
with a body of a hen of Castile, called _Pan_. Its beak is very long
and thick; up to the middle it is yellow and the other half green; its
feathers correspond, being very yellow from below the beak to its
belly. The rest of the body is black, except under the tail, which has
a red plumage; the legs are green and in spite of so much beauty, it
utters only shrieks...."

The Padres Endeavor to Instruct the Indians. "In these affairs, besides
educating those who had been lately gathered together, although they
might never be freed from slavery, we passed our time till the 24th of
July, when we heard news that the road openers would shortly come to a
certain town of the nation of the Cehaches; and in order not to fail as
in the previous case, we priests planned to speak plainly with the
captains and to find out what their plan was to be on entering it; for
if it was not more decent and Christian than in the past, we had
determined to avoid the occasion of disturbance, by returning to the
Province, rather than see cruel deeds performed...."

The Captains Promise to Give Warning before Fighting. "The captains
... promised their assent to the advice which we might give them
hereafter, adding that, when an opportunity offered to enter any town,
a proclamation should be issued, with a penalty of death on any one who
should dare to go against it...."

A Skirmish. "At this time the Indian road openers went on with their
work, bringing as their guard the Indian musketeers from Sahcabchen,
who never did anything well, owing to the said Captain Alonso, who, on
account of his interest in their spoils, sends them out by themselves,
without any Spanish people of intelligence to oversee that their duties
are performed in a proper way. While engaged in this, they discovered a
town of the Cehaches, Chunpich, already abandoned, as they had heard
the rumor of the Spaniards, on account of which they found in one house
only twenty-five loads of maize. Seeing many traces of people, they
entered in fear, and notifying the said captain of their having
discovered the said town, they all asked him for reinforcements, since
they feared a hard fight. He gave them the reinforcements they asked
for, together with their arms, though they did not arrive in time,
since before they arrived there came as many as twenty-five Indians
with their baskets for that maize which they had left. The soldiers,
well prepared, carried their arms for whatever might turn up, since
going prepared with arms was always the cause of many victories as
opposed to many defeats. On the other hand they do less harm, the
better provided they are. So it happened to these men; since having
posted six Indian musketeers as sentinels in the direction they
supposed the ruined town lay, so as to defend themselves and the
workmen on the road, until their reinforcements arrived, it happened
that the sentinels, seeing the said twenty-five Indians coming, they
seemed to them to be thousands, and with the fear which never
accomplished a good thing and with their evil disposition, which always
has done much harm, without letting them enter so as to direct their
fire well, our men broke ranks, which not only gave our opponents a
better chance to get ready for a battle, but also frightening more the
rest of our men who became aware of the retreat, made them hastily and
heedlessly attribute the victory to our enemies. At that time, the
reinforcement of our men coming up, the timid sentinels, deserting
their posts, came back to make part of the reinforcement which was
coming to them. When all were together they rushed to battle, which our
opponents, like brave men, won finely, wounding three of our men
without any of them being wounded. The remainder of our men fled and
our opponents, laughing, left them and took their way with cries to
those forests by the path on which they all lived. Our men returned to
follow that path about four leagues; in that district they found two
towns without inhabitants, though they were well provided with farms
with all their products. These they ate and carried off as a token of
their valor, giving as an excuse of their unfortunate fight, that their
opponents were not men but demons, not endowed with reason, but brutes,
since, without fear of death, they flung themselves savagely on the

The Avarice of Paredes. "All this happened to the Captain [Paredes]
through avarice, for, on account of avarice, he did not wish to send
respectable and honorable Spaniards, who might obtain with good
judgment victories in these engagements, but only his Indians from
Cahcabchen, so that by frightening the other Indians, they should enter
safely into the houses in order to steal as much as the poor Indians
have in their houses, as happened in the preceding case that I refer to
above. We all inferred that all this was with the permission of the
said Captain, since, seeing the feelings, which we showed at his not
having kept his promise to us, given at the conference which we had
had, not only did he not punish the transgressors, but neither did he
make amends for the casualties which might necessarily have happened,
it being the fact that we suggested the remedy in both cases, and he
appeased us with kind words...."

Chunpich is Reached. "After this unfortunate engagement the whole camp
went along to the said town of Chunpich, distant eight long leagues
from this town of Tzucthok, and the Captains, addressing me, asked me
to stay with my companions to look after those Indians and children,
besides some sick Indians, educating them and instructing them as I
ought; and if by chance they should find a town, they would notify me,
so that I could come to catechize them. I accepted this proposal for
the future, carrying out his orders at the present time, and having
known that the said captains had passed forwards from the said village
of Chunpich, I got ready to go alone with four Indian singers to the
said town, and by inspecting or cutting down all their thickets, to see
if I could meet with the Cehaches Indians who made war on the
Spaniards, in order to draw them to the bosom of our Holy Mother
Church. I went through the said forests to a great distance, and in all
directions and I did not meet any one. At this time I received
information (although it was confused) that, after the said town of
Chunpich was passed, on the road to the South which we were following
in a Southeast direction, an indistinct foot path had been discovered.
As I knew that on the said route lay the nation of the Ytzaes, for
meeting whom I have been preparing for some years, by having learned
their language, it was necessary to set about following the path which
the Spaniards were taking, in order to verify my suspicions; but it
verified nothing but constant misfortunes; since on the path I met four
Indian musketeers of the town of Sahcabchen, whom their captain was
sending as slaves to the quiet of his house. They brought me a letter
from the Captain, Don Joseph de Estenos, in which he told me that he
had found three other towns without inhabitants, though with some
little rotten corn; and that the third leader, Don Pedro de Suviaur by
name, had gone with his men to another town which they supposed
belonged to the Ytzaes. This letter reached me a league and a half from
Chunpich, at a very large _aguada_ which there is there, and at three
long leagues from there is another large abandoned town called Ixbam."

Zuviaur Goes to the Itzas; the Padres Return. "I returned unhappy when
I thought of the little result which had come in the said town of
Chunpich, and I took pleasure in its suburbs to divert my sorrow, since
this place is very pleasant. A lake lies towards the West, so large
that it stretches out of sight. The water is very good, the two other
towns of which I spoke above being around the said lake. The Spaniards
found these at the time of the fight, all very full of fruits and
abundant corn-fields, which the captain wished to have trampled down
and destroyed so that their owners might come and give themselves up.
But we did not consent to this; I was taking great pleasure in looking
at the said lake, when an Indian came whom I had sent to camp, with
letters from the Governor, and besides confirming the news which the
said Captain, Don Joseph, had written me, he stated to me that he had
known how the third leader Don Pedro de Zuviaur had gone to one of the
towns of the Ytzaes. I regretted this last more than the rest, since I
was holding the said towns reserved for the purpose of going to them
without their hearing any rumors of soldiers.... I returned more sad
than I had been at first. I went to the town of Tzucthok, where my
companion Padres were, looking after the management of those Indians
who had been allotted to me.... As I considered our work useless, since
they had depopulated eight towns of the Cehaches, without any results,
to see also that they had reached the Ytzaes, whom also they were going
to spoil was the cause of the greatest sorrow."

Further Troubles. "I discussed with my companion Padres the troubles
which followed,--now on account of the Indians, who were fleeing every
day, now of the need which they had of supplies, now of the continual
rains which caused these places to be overflowed, by which speedy ruin
was threatened, now of the injustice which the said captains showed

"Without giving me anything to do, nor allotting me Indians to
catechize and manage in the future, the said captain took away from me
those of whom I had charge, and whom I not only catechized but also
baptized and married, without paying attention to the despatch of his
Majesty, which prohibits the changing of the residence of the Indians
who had recently been converted, on account of the risk of their lives
which would follow; as Solorzano cites them and quotes them,--one of
which says 'that too hard work should not be given them and they should
not be taken to distant places, and that above all their health and
preservation should be looked after, without taking them to a sky,
climate or temperature which are different or contrary to those to
which they are accustomed.' ..."

The Padres Determine to Get to the Itzas Some Other Way. "We then,
seeing all these troubles and injustices, in order to avoid the contest
and disturbances which could not be remedied, together with all the
inconveniences, risks and dangers which in the time of so great rains,
each day brought to us, determined to return to the Province, with the
intention to send word about everything to our Very Reverend Padre
Provincial from the first town of the Province and to take from there
the road in a different direction, which I knew of, so as to go without
any noise of arms to the nation of the heathen Ytzaes, passing through
the nation of the Indians of Tipu. This is a direction opposite to that
which the Spaniards took; so that we could obtain in this way something
of our objects and end, which we always had before us, of going alone
without soldiers or armed men, for the conversion of the said heathen,
to which from the beginning we had dedicated ourselves...."

Letter to the Captains. "Agreeing then with my companions, the Padres,
in this good suggestion, I wrote a letter to the captains, taking leave
of them, without giving the reason why I returned, but stating that it
was on account of a slight accident that had happened to me; they, whom
their consciences must have accused, supposing that I should set forth
there in this Province before the Governor, who had sent me, their
improper methods of acting, determined maliciously, for their greater
satisfaction, to justify themselves by forestalling, me, with charges
against me, as if I should pay any attention to them...."

Governor Ursua Vexed by the Captains' Letter. "The Governor was vexed
with this letter which the Captain Alonso Garcia wrote to him, seeing
that he had chosen me to carry out his purpose, and then seeing that I
gave him a slap in the face by returning without any reason, as they
wrote him; for which reason he suspended judgment till he had news of
my coming to the Province, to inform himself of the truth. At this time
we arrived on our return, with hard work enough on account of so many
wild thickets, as I spoke of in the beginning, and of all the
overflowed lands, deep in water, since our return was made in the
season of heaviest rains, at the first town of the Province called
Hopelchen, whence I wrote to my Prelate of the resolution which we had
taken of returning to the Ytzaes by another route, since on the one we
had started on, our work was stopped. I received a reply from my
Prelate by which he said he expected me in the City, without informing
us that we should go back by the way we suggested."

Return to Merida. "We came to his presence and entered the City on
Saturday the 16th of September of the said year 1695...."

                               CHAPTER IX


The first entrada being spoiled on account of trouble with the
soldiers, Avendaño remained in the province until October 4, 1695. On
that day news reached him from a Spanish resident of Bacalar, called
Francisco de Ariza, that the nation of the Itzas, who numbered eighty
thousand fighting men, had expressed their willingness to receive
Christianity. This news pleased the Governor (Ursua) because the Itzas
were now the only obstacle that lay between him and the completion of
the Guatemala-Yucatan highway. Accordingly arrangements were concluded
according to the terms of which Avendaño was once more to attempt to
bring the Itzas to the Church. At his own wish he and his priests were
to do this alone without the retarding influences arising from the
presence of soldiers. Avendaño asked for and received various letters
and documents in which the policies he was to follow and the authority
with which he was invested were very fully set forth.

The Orders of the Governor. One thing is particularly striking in
connection with all the conquests of the Spaniards in America, and that
is the very divergent attitudes toward the natives assumed by the
Church and State on the one hand and by the soldiery and colonists on
the other. Nowhere does this difference come out more clearly than in
the matter of the entradas of Avendaño. As that writer's report of the
papers given to him by Governor Ursua just before he set out on his
second trip is rather long, I will give an extract of it in order that
the reader may see just what was desired by the Padres and by the

In the first place the Governor ordered that Avendaño and his
companions be given all necessary horses, Indians, and other equipment.
He also ordered Paredes, who had caused so much trouble before, to
observe carefully the wishes of His Majesty as expressed in the famous
cedula of 1526. In that cedula it was urged that the Indians be turned
from their evil ways; that any necessary houses, fortresses, and other
buildings be erected; that Christianity be introduced among the
Indians; that colonization from Spain should be encouraged in a number
of ways; and a number of other wise provisions were recommended.[9.1]

Departure of Avendaño. We will allow Avendaño (pp. 22v-29v, 49v-66r) to
tell of the trip in his own words. "With all these papers and the
benediction of my Prelate, I took my departure in the name of God from
this City of Merida on the 13th day of December of this year 1695, in
the company of my companion priests, who were the Padre Preacher, Fray
Antonio Peres de San Roman, who also accompanied me in the first trip;
the Padre Preacher Fray Joseph de Jesus Maria, who from the other
mission of the Reverend Padre Commissioner Fray Juan de Chaves (being
his Apostolic Notary) passed to my mission with the blessing and
consent of the Prelate Superior; and the Padre Preacher, Fray Diego de
Echavarria, with a lay brother of the holy convent, all of whom united
in the love of God and in charity burning to rescue the souls of those
infidel and heathen Ytzaes from the power of Satan in which, through
their idolatry, they were plunged for so many centuries."

The Same Route Followed as Before; Batcab is Reached. "We went through
the same ways and places as the first time, till we came to a town of
the nation of the Cehaches, called Batcab, in which we met General
Alonso Garcia de Paredes, with a captain called Don Pedro Zuviaur, an
engineer or guide who was going in the direction in which they were
opening the road from this province to that of Guatemala."

Chuntucí. "The next day, which was that of the Holy Kings, on January
6th of this year of '96, I said mass, which the army listened to; after
which we started from the town for Chuntucí of the said nation of the
Cehaches, which is four leagues of very bad roads during the rainy
season, on account of the many overflowed and dangerous places that
there are in them in some parts which they call in this language
_akalchees_ or _hulbalex_, and in Castilian _pantanos_. On the said
road likewise are found two rivers in the first league,--a small one
which is not permanent except in the rainy season; as is the case with
an _aguada_ which is found in the middle of the road on the slope of a
ridge which is ascended in times of rain with some difficulty, although
the other river, which is found about three leagues off, is permanent,
the water of which, though it is somewhat sluggish, for they say it is
a river of copper, nevertheless is very cool and raises very good fish,
though not very large ones. A league and a half from this river is the
said town of Chuntucí, which consists of not more than eight houses
close together, though there are many others in the corn fields a
little more or less distant, in a circuit of about half a league.

"We journeyed from this town of Chuntucí in a southerly direction a
distance of a good league, where there is a great overflowed space or
_aguada_, which in this tongue is called _nohcib_, in the midst of
which is discovered a great _aguada_, which without doubt is the origin
or cause of some great river of those which flow to the Laguna de
Terminos. At half a league beyond this we came across a little crystal
stream, which left us in the belief that it had its origin from a great
swamp near there towards the East, which is dimly seen on the other
side of this little stream. About six quarters of a league from here,
we discovered an indistinct little path in the direction of the
South-east, following which without suspicion, though we were armed, we
rushed forward with eager confidence, following the path through the
thickets without fearing any shipwreck, saying the prayer '_in exitu
Israel de Egiptu_' that we may imitate in their victory the Israelites,
who succeeded in passing through the waves of the Red Sea. We followed
the said path for some distance, during which we fell in with the
_Batchee_, or signs which assured us that we were on the path to the
nation of the heathen Ytzaes. So indistinct was the path in itself,
that to tell whether or not it was a path, required that _Batchee_,
which was what we followed. After half a league of this road, we came
across a little stream. It is called Chinchinucum, in the language of
the Cehaches. Two leagues from there we found another larger stream,
called Nohucum; at half a league farther on, a great _aguada_ called
Akalcay. Two leagues and a half on the right is found a great pond,
called Yavilain; another two leagues and a half from there is an
_aguada_ called Chuncopo. This is an accidental _aguada_ in the middle
of the road, which has abundance of water in the rainy season, from its
being in the midst of low hills and _akalchees_. Beyond this place is a
great ravine, which in this language is called _nohem_. It is about a
league and a half [long]. This ravine they call the 'Hell of the
Ytzaes' from the danger of its descent, on account of its being
necessary that the road should go through it, though we passed many
others which are more dangerous and worse than this ravine. On account
of the impossibility of the passage which they had described to us, it
being necessary to pass through it, so as to carry out our special
undertaking and in order to accomplish it the better and to facilitate
the passage, we chose as its patron Saint our Padre San Antonio of
Padua, by whose intercession, without doubt, the passage of the said
ravine became much easier for us than they had described to us up to
this time; we did not fail to pass over some hard hills and rough
roads, but from here they were the worst of all I had seen up to this

The Hardships of the Journey. "Two leagues from this ravine we began to
hesitate about the road, because we met with a large river, although it
was then dry; but in the rainy season, it is plainly seen, it carries a
great mass of water. On account of this we found a variety of passages
and _Batchees_, but, thanks to God and good fortune, in the courses of
this dry river, which is called Cohucum, we recognized some mud or
signs of earth among its pebbles, so that by following this sign for a
long distance, we not only came across, in a bend of the river, a
spring of water, to satisfy our need of drinking which we already felt,
but also we recognized on its banks the _Batchee_ and the lost path, so
that at one time we had two consolations. We slept there, though it was
very early when we reached there, for fear of the scarcity of water,
which we had already experienced. But in the morning we had occasion in
a short time to be vexed at so much water, since at a short distance we
fell in with a stream more annoying than if it had been filled with
water, though the water which it carried was sufficient to drench us,
since we were not able to pass over it in all cases without going
through it. One has to cross this river in the space of a league very
nearly fifty times, so that it not only annoyed us by wetting us so
much more, but because at each turn we lost the track or footprints
which we were following; so that we were delayed enough in passing the
said turns of the river.

"After a great storm they say fair weather follows, but the contrary
happened to us, since, trusting in the abundance of water, we neither
drank, since it was in the morning, nor did we carry it with us,
supposing that we should find it at each step, but what happened
to us was to meet with a great multitude of very rough ascents and
descents,--all hills and very high mountains of limestone, which
extended over a space of four leagues, so that, besides the path in
itself being so rough, thirst was troublesome enough. We found
ourselves in the midst of this anguish when of a sudden we came on a
descent as rough and steep as it was long and dangerous; for, though we
had no load to carry, we had to make use of the trees so as not to
slip, since if we slipped, there was no place to stop till we reached
the bottom, where we saw a horrible lime cavern which we supposed would
hold water. But it was not so."

Approaching the Itzas. "From the top then of this hill, which I speak
of, there was discovered a great range of low hills, of such a kind
that it not only appeared another country, since even from the top of
the trees we did not discover the land beyond or the part on the other
side of this height. We thought that we doubtless were in another new
territory and near the Ytza nation, to which we were going. At a
distance of half a league from this descent, we came across a great
spring of water, which was able with its force to turn many mills, and
howsoever great the pleasure was which we felt at seeing it, just as
much disgust did the taste of it cause us, since it sprang from the
brow of a very high hill or steep rock, but it was all mixed with lime,
and was of a lead and sulphur color, and like this also was its weight
and taste. But we did not refrain from drinking it on this account,
since thirst appeared to us of worse taste and weight, although of
little advantage was it to us, since in a short time after we
experienced that weight and bad taste, and the fatigue of the road
which we traveled, we came in about a league upon a great pond, where
we camped for sleeping that night, since we had found there such good

Tan Xuluc Mul; Temples on a Great Height. "Having come then to this
pond of Tan xuluc mul an hour before sunset, we had to observe and
wonder with pleasure and delight, since the water which we found was
very fine and good. We found the hut already made, since undoubtedly
the Ytzaes kept up that place either for occupation from time to time
or as a permanent dwelling, for there are very many of them in those
places. We had to observe and wonder on some rocks or buildings on some
high places,--so high that they were almost lost to sight. And when we
caught sight of them clearly, the sun shining on them in full, we took
pleasure in seeing them; and we wondered at their height, since without
any exaggeration it seemed impossible that that work could have been
done by hand, unless it was with the aid of the devil, whom they say
they adore there in the form of a noted idol. We, with great zeal which
aided us, determined to go up and break it; and, as for me, most of
those who know me know that the lightness of my feet corresponds to the
passion of my zeal to destroy it. But I did not find a trail by which
the idolaters go up, and, even if I had found it, the ascent was always
difficult for me on account of the great height on all sides.

"This ridge continued along the way we traveled for a distance of five
leagues, with very dangerous ascents and descents.... With these
difficulties we came across, at the end of five leagues, a large
_peten_ of water, by which we unexpectedly found ourselves surrounded;
and though we were pleased with the water, our pleasure was drowned in
the inconvenience of the place for sleeping...."

Chakan Itza. "This _aguada_ or _peten_ is called Ychmuxan, from which
to the Chakan Ytza, there are three leagues, most of them consisting of
very low woods or underbrush, since the whole is mixed up, so that
neither are they _Akalchees_ nor do they cease being so. These are
great overflowed tracts, impossible to be walked on in the rainy season
and even in dry times. He alone may walk there, who should wish to
expiate thoroughly his sins, but for any other purpose only a desperate
man would do so, since such woods as those are of the kind which they
call _tocolchees_,--that is a labyrinth or confusion or hodge-podge of
all weeds or thorny plants, so that I do not know how we brought our
clothes and legs out from amongst them. All these sorrows and
sufferings were signs of the pleasure which we were to receive on that
day. In all the said three leagues there is found at each step a stream
of moderate volume, though there is no passage, except, when following
its banks, one can meet with the Chakan Ytzaes, as we did, about three
o'clock in the afternoon of the evening before the day of the name of
Jesus, which my holy religion celebrates on the 13th of January...."

The Chakan Itzas. "To cross to the other side of the river, which is
called Caclemacal, and to reach the first settlement of the Chacan
Ytzaes was one and the same thing; at which, putting behind us and
forgetting all our preceding difficulties, our hearts considered
themselves satisfied and well repaid with the delight and spiritual
consolation which we received at seeing ourselves at the entrance of
the mine where we were to meet with the precious or polished stone,
which was to be either the glorious ornament of our crown, if we were
worthy of dying for the faith which, with the help of God, we were
going to plant, or the fruitful result of those laborious steps which,
with the said aid of heaven, we intended to bring about...."

Treatment of the Natives. "We entered then this first settlement
situated on the opposite side of the river of Caclemacal about four
quarters of a league away. In the middle of which we met an Indian
woman, wife of the brother of the cacique Ahcan, a near relative of the
petty King of Peten Ytza, who, with two of her small children, was
coming to the said river for water; but when they saw us at a
distance,--three priests clothed with our priestly garments, which had
never been seen by them, and the four Indian singers who were traveling
with us, with the garb of the cloaks or _ayates_ which they wore, very
different from their own garments and from those of the three Cehaches
Indians, whom we took along as guides, they ran away excitedly,--mother
and children,--as if we might kill them, so that it was no little work
that we had to pacify them with gentle words and loving caresses,
though we had more trouble in quieting the minds of the brother-in-law,
the cacique and the other Indian authorities, who in a moment ran
together at their cries, all with the intention of making war on us,
for they all came with bows and arrows in their hands.

"But as we wished to sow in their hardened hearts the pure grain of
evangelical seed which should have a more fruitful growth than that
which fell among the thistles and thorns, we began as genuine workmen
of Christ to till the soil of their hearts with the loving hoe of
caresses, embracing them joyfully, as one who had fallen in with the
ewe which had been lost for so many centuries, (the influence of our
soft words and the moderation of our prudent acts, resisting all the
weight of their immoderate acts) at which most people were frightened;
and we gave them at the same time some of the Spanish things which we
carried, as necessary and required for attracting their unruly spirits,
for this calmed and quieted them more than the caresses which we had
given them. This entry into the said settlement or village was on the
13th of January, on which my seraphic religion celebrates the vespers
of the holy name of Jesus, and at the very hour of vespers....

"With their spirits now peaceful and happy, they entertained us on that
afternoon and night, with such a confusion of shouts and outcries in
their songs, that, had we not considered that those extravagant signs
of joy were the wild ways of those rural hills and the fashion with
them, our hearts would have suffered some anxiety and sadness, the more
so when we saw before us, those carved, striped and painted faces, made
in the very likeness of the devil."

The Padres Please Other Indians by Means of Little Gifts. "I gave them,
as they came up to the novel sight, some necklaces and other trinkets
and trifles for their wives and daughters, and for the men some knives,
for the desire to possess which all came again, thus obliging me to
give them presents a second time, all which I did with pleasure, one
reason being the abundance of what our benefactors in their kind zeal
had given me, and the other in order to draw them to our Catholic
faith, which comes to them more through the eye than through the
hearing, since they are covetous in the extreme. They approached me to
get what I had remaining in some hampers, in which I carried for the
petty King an entire suit of clothes, in the fashion of the Indians of
this Province, which the Governor gave me, and other things which I was
carrying for the chiefs of Peten Ytza, in order the better to gain
their good will, besides other things necessary for our ministry and
support. And they made a request of me to let them see these things,
carried away by their gross inquisitiveness as much as by their
excessive covetousness. And scarcely did I yield and show them what I
had in the said hampers, when, with an insatiable desire they began to
covet all, the act of touching and the desire to take everything
becoming uppermost with them, rather than the modest civility of asking
for it...."

The Padres Renew their March. "With great demonstrations of love they
loaded themselves with all our goods and supplies (except the sacred
robes, since we did not bring them till we knew that the outcome was
safe) without giving an opportunity to any of the singers whom we had
brought with us to carry anything. With this accompanying we set out on
the road which leads in the direction of the East, for Peten Ytza,
which is about five leagues off, all the Indians who lived round Cha
Kan Ytza accompanying us with their wives and children, giving shouts
of joy in order to excite the rest to accompany us."

Nich. "We went on in this manner to the landing place of the lake where
one enters the said Peten Ytza, on the shore of which is found a little
town called Nich, which consists of about ten houses. In one of them I
saw an Indian, the oldest one I had seen up to that time in the nation
of the Cehaches, nor up to the present time in that of the Ytzaes,
since they have the custom of beheading them when they pass fifty
years, so that they shall not learn to be wizards and to kill; except
the priests of their idols, for whom they have great respect. And this
man must have been one without doubt.

"In the region of the said road, there are many hills and great density
of woods on the hills, many cedar and mahogany trees, which in this
tongue are called _punabes_, besides many others which I do not mention
so as to avoid annoyance. There are many overflowed places called
_Akalchees_; there are also three rivers, one of moderate size, which
from its falling from a high rock, makes noise enough; the other two,
although they too fall from a rather high place, are not so full of
water, though they wet us all because their streams are wide and
because there is no bridge to cross them. We came then to the said
town, Nich, whose cacique is called Ahtul, and this little town is the
chief town of Cha Kan Ytza, which consists of other very small towns,
but of many settlements, and each of these possesses a cacique or
captain, although all the Cha Kan Ytzaes, with their wives and
children, as far as I saw, will be about six hundred souls, more or

Indians Arrive from Tayasal. "We ate very heartily in the said town,
for the sake of giving them pleasure, so that they showed that they
were pleased and they entertained us with their instruments from twelve
o'clock of the day that we arrived till two o'clock in the afternoon,
when, in answer to the previous messenger which I sent to the petty
King of my coming to his territory, there came up some eighty canoes,
full of Indians, painted and dressed for war, with very large quivers
of arrows, though all were left in the canoes,--all the canoes
escorting and accompanying the petty King, who with about five hundred
Indians came forward to receive us. They hurried us on board with great
speed and with very rude actions, without taking notice of the music of
the clarions with which we awaited him, nor of the peace, which as its
messengers I brought him in the name of the King, our Lord. Nor on our
part, could we fulfill our embassy, since, without giving us an
opportunity to do so, they began suddenly to take us across the lake
(which in that part probably is three leagues in distance across).[9.2]
In a small bay on its shore, a nephew of the King, whom I had rewarded
with some Spanish trinkets, coveting the image of a Santo Christo,
which I wore on my neck, and which I had refused to give him on two
occasions when he had asked me for it, on my giving a cutlass with its
blade to the petty King, his uncle, seized the hand of his uncle with
excessive insolence, and snatching the blade from its sheath, turned it
to my breast, and passing the blade across my throat, cut the string
with one blow and took the image of Christ from me. I reproached him
for his improper act and what he said to me was, 'Well, if you have not
wished to give it to me, what am I to do?', by which it is plainly seen
that if one does not give them what they see and ask for, the life of
him who should refuse it is at risk from moment to moment. On seeing
this the King, his uncle, laughed at it, instead of reproving him, and
he began with more vanity and pride than a Lucifer, to say to me many
things very foreign to that first meeting. By this insulting and hasty
reception, they did not give us an opportunity to look after our
baggage, although the Chakan Ytzaes had the opportunity to put our
things under such good guard that up to now we had not seen it, we
being left from that time without more comfort than the clothes on our
backs, nor more sustenance than that which their savage generosity
might choose to give us."

Bravery of Avendaño. "In the long time that we were on the lake, a
temptation was offered to the King, such as belonged to the devil who
inspired it and natural to his inhuman and cruel heart, so as to
inspire me with fear, so that my heart might suffer some sadness or
disturbance; but his purpose found itself frustrated, first, because
when I started from Merida for this nation, I went prepared to die; and
second, knowing that they were such savages in their ways, my courage
stood prepared to suffer whatever insults they might say to me, as for
instance to bear for God, who gives us courage, any unreasonable acts,
whatsoever. Suddenly the said King placed his hand over my heart to see
if it was at all agitated, and at the same time he asked me if I was
so. I who was before very glad to see that my wishes and the work of my
journey were being obtained, replied to him, 'Why should my heart be
disturbed? Rather it is very contented, seeing that I am the fortunate
man, who is fulfilling your own prophecies, by which you are to become
Christians; and this benefit will come to you by means of some bearded
men from the East; who by signs of their prophets,[9.3] were we
ourselves, because we came many leagues from the direction of the east,
ploughing the seas, with no other purpose than, borne by our love of
their souls, to bring them, (at the cost of much work) to that favor
which the true God shows them.' I at this time, with some freedom on my
part, also placed my hand on his breast and heart, and asking him also
if his was disturbed, he said, 'No.' To which I replied, 'If you are
not disturbed, at seeing me, who am the minister of the true God,
different in everything from you, in dress, customs and color, so that
I inspire fear in the devil, and if your heart is not troubled, why
should you expect me to be afraid of you, mere men like myself, whom I
come to seek purposely, with great pleasure, merely for the love which
I have for their souls, and having found them, in order to announce to
them the law of the true God, as you shall hear when we come to Peten.'
At this, changing the conversation, the devil tried to use him as his
instrument for putting me in another greater temptation.

"It is a custom among them, that, on the day before killing any one or
sacrificing him, especially if he is a stranger to their town, to give
them something to eat, either the hot drink of barley and beans, which
they use, or another of _cacao_, which is what they offer them. I was
not ignorant of all these rites, through what history relates that they
had done on the two occasions on which priests of my holy religion had
gone there; although in one case did they kill the Padre Fray Diego
Delgado, through the fault of some Spaniards who followed him. When in
the same way the said King asked me if I was hungry, I, though I had
just eaten, realizing the situation, said 'Yes,' so that his wickedness
should not see any cowardice in me; and I asked him if they had
anything to eat, that they should give me some. At once he ordered that
all the canoes should halt, and made them give red peppers and herbs,
or _tamales_, which they brought on purpose to give us in the middle of
that lake. I ate it eagerly and asked him very pleasantly if there was
any more; to which he replied, 'Then it has tasted good to you?'
'Finely,' I told him, 'and I would eat more if there were any.' I said
this to him with some wit, at which they all laughed, but in a serious
way, and they gave another which I ate with the same pleasure, at which
they were all surprised,--at the sight of my coolness...."

The Landing at Tayasal; the Idol. "With this we continued our way to
Peten Ytza, which is situated in the middle of the said lake, as well
as in the midst also of other islands or _Petens_. On the shore of the
landing place is situated the house of the said petty King at the
distance of half a quarter of a league, in the middle of which, open to
the street, stands the fragment of a column, of round stone, the
circumference of each part of which is about three quarters of a yard
across and one quarter high. It is made of stones placed on top of each
other with mortar of lime and _cah cab_, which is usually used for that
purpose; and the middle is filled in with bitumen, so that it is like a
table, with a round pedestal, upon which and set in the foundation of
the said stone column, there stands out toward the West a stone mask,
very ill-formed, which, together with the stone column, the petty King
and the rest of his family and followers worship. The said column is
called, in the name by which they worship it, Yax cheel cab, which
means in their language, 'the first tree in the world,' and, as is
understood in their old songs (which few people understand) they wish
to have it known they worship it because it was the tree of whose fruit
our first father Adam ate, who in their language is called Ixanom. In
the small part which is fortunately preserved, and the mask, which
stands in the said foundation of the said column, they worship him with
the title of the son of the very wise God. In their language they call
him Ahcocahmut...."

At the Temple. "We came to the said temple which had more space than
the hall of the petty King, although it is the same in its structure.
Here we dimly saw a box suspended,[9.4] in which we saw indistinctly
(although hastily) a bone of the leg or thigh, very large in size,
which appeared to be that of a horse; and I confess that though we had
much to do that afternoon, which was the time that we stayed in that
temple, we acted a little unwisely, since we neither asked what that
bone was, nor did we remember in the rest of the days to go and look at
it more deliberately. This thought occurred to us when we had left
Peten, when our error was irremediable (which was a cause of greater
grief) because we remembered then that that bone was by chance from the
horse which Cortes left in their care, which they had kept as a relic
or to hold him in memory, since they rendered worship (as I said
before) to his statue."

The Padres Read the Letters. "At last I brought out the letters of the
message and it cost no little trouble to make them sit down and keep
quiet, so that they might hear it. I called before us all the priests,
who are the Masters of the law, and all the caciques, captains and
chiefs of all the districts of that island or _Peten_.... I began to
read to them the message which the Governor sent in writing in the name
of the King our Lord; and in the few moments that I had read to them,
seeing their manner and the little attention which they showed, I
perceived that they did not understand what I was reading to them, and
having asked them about this, they replied in the words, '_manucan a
can tucot kanil caxicin_,' which means, 'we do not understand what you
say.' Then, leaving off reading the letter, ... I explained the said
message to them in the ancient idiom, and inserting a spiritual sermon
... and all this was explained to them with some eagerness, mixing in
some words of their prophecies, which were at that time to the point.
They heard it gladly, because they understood it all.... They answered
in these words, '_cato vale_,' which is as if they said 'We will think
of it first, for there is time for answering. Wait.'"

The Curiosity of the Itzas. "With this, as it was already almost
night-fall, we set out with the same crowd for another temple, which
stands about three-eighths of a league from the house of the petty
King, where was our abode. Although we stopped there, the continuation
of their wonderment did not stop on their part, since, with this as an
excuse, they did not leave us a moment alone by day or night, since if
any, satisfied with having seen us by day, went away to their houses at
night, double the number of them came by night to see us and to sleep
there, besides those who came first, and even those who had gone away
satisfied with seeing us, did not fail to come back. In this way we
lived with the annoyance which can be imagined, since we were not able
to attend to our needs, without their following us; and neither the
prohibition of the King nor our own scolding were sufficient to hinder
their excessive curiosity, the only attention which they paid to either
being that they all laughed at it. Their tediousness was such, that if
we sat down, they all sat down next to us, surrounding us; and then
some on one side and others on the other would touch us from top to
toe, not excepting (if we gave them the chance) the most hidden parts
of a man; if we stopped or walked on, it was all the same, so that, in
order to be able to carry on the divine service without that annoyance,
we contrived the plan that they should seat themselves in a row around
the said temple on the benches of stone and lime which were there, and
we, walking up and down in the middle, carried on the divine service,
it all being a matter of amusement for them,--not only the movement of
our lips speaking things they did not understand, but also the gestures
and crosses which we made over ourselves as we prayed; and, although we
got through with our prayers, we kept walking all the while so as to
enjoy the relief for so much longer time.

"The King was present at all this, since he never left us by day or
night.... I asked them what it was that they had decided to reply to my
message. At which the King, taking the lead, answered, for all, in the
same words as above, '_Cato cato vale_.' 'We will answer soon.' And the
King, speaking aside with me, asked what it was I wished to hear; to
which I replied, 'to know if you wish to receive the law of God and the
friendship of the Spaniards which I offered you yesterday, and if you
wish to undertake to be Christians, as has been prophesied to you by
your prophets, since you are not ignorant of them. The time has come.'
To which the King, together with the two other priests who were with
him, replied to me that they were willing to become Christians, but
that they did not know how that kind of baptism which I had explained
to them was to be carried out. Then I, taking as a text that verse of
Ezekiel, 'I will sprinkle clean water upon you and ye shall be clean;
from all your iniquities and your idols will I cleanse you,' explained
the said text to them, item by item.... They replied to this in these
words,--'_ba valac a toca vale_,' which means 'so it will be when
tomorrow dawns and we shall see it.' With this we all went to the
temple, where we stopped and where they were present all night. Before
God brought the dawn, they had already caused to be brought some cups
of warm _posole_, which they are accustomed to drink, so that with this
and the rest of the supplies which they use, such as ..., beans, cooked
squashes, flesh of wild pigs, prawns and other kinds of fish, with
whatever each man found in his house, and all this with many tortillas
of maize bread, and they did not stop bringing these till night; there
being an excess of everything, so that when we saw that these same
people did not depart from here, we gave it back again to them to eat,
which they did, the King beginning first."

A Baptism Performed. "Having breakfasted this first day on warm
_posole_, we began for the third time to speak about the spiritual
lecture of the day before, ... and having heard for the third time this
lecture, anxious to receive the said baptism, although suspicious of
what it was, since they thought that there was some shedding of blood
or circumcision or cutting of some part of their body, they said that
they wished to see in one case how that was done, and at this time the
King, taking hold of one child of the many of his family which he had
concealed behind the temple for the said purpose, said to me,--'Do that
which you speak of to this child and I will see whether it is good or
not.' To which I replied,--'And if it should seem to be good, will you
permit me to do just the same with the rest of your children?' To which
the King replied, before all the people who stood around listening,
that he would. Then taking the child which the King offered me, and one
of the Indian singers who went with us holding him, I sprinkled on him
the baptismal water. Then, seeing that this was such an easy thing and
without the harm which they had expected, they asked me to do the same
with the children which the King had concealed there. These he
immediately brought forth, and he bade all those present (especially
those of his family and district) to bring their little children to
receive their names (for this is what they called baptism). And he told
the priests who were present there, about three or four in number,--'It
is proper that all your children should come to receive their names and
to be washed.' With this example of the King in being the first to
bring his children to be baptized, the other Indians imitated him in
bringing theirs in great haste, so that in the three days and a half
during which they delayed in giving their answer to my message, I
performed very nearly three hundred baptisms, without my having an
opportunity to stir from that temple, on account of my seeing the
assemblage of Indian men and women, who brought their children of their
own accord to be baptized. I gladly administered the said holy rite,
since the King, (who in everything showed himself very friendly towards
me) and three other priests who were his relatives had told me that
they were only waiting for two caciques with their captains, in order
to give the final answer, which would be favorable in all respects (as
they did give it) and this will be seen below....

"I stopped baptizing until I could catechize them in the mysteries of
our holy faith, which is required for such a purpose; and afterwards
all agreed with me to receive baptism when I should come back there at
the appointed time of four months hence, as I will speak of in the
proper place."

Other Caciques Arrive. "I found myself occupied in this work, when, on
the said day, there began to come, sailing over the lake, some of the
governors' captains and head men of the four other _Petens_ or islands,
with their officers of war, and their paraphernalia, such as javelins
and their flint daggers, a little less than a quarter of a yard
long,--the said javelins adorned with feathers of various colors
instead of with ribbons, very beautiful to see, and all hanging down. I
went forth to receive them, out of the courtesy which is due from me,
but the Indians of that _Peten_ went out stirred merely with curiosity
to see them come, painted red and covered with feathers, with their war
trappings and their faces painted black. I embraced them and spoke to
them in kind words, and if I found that I had anything left to eat, of
what they gave me there, I shared it with them, as they had just come,
making them sit down next to me and the King, who always remained at my
side. As the result of my action, if they had any misgiving, they cast
it aside, or if they felt any anger or dissatisfaction on seeing me
there, they became calm, and at once I set forth my proposal, which
they accepted and received well, which proposal was that they should be
friends of the Spaniards and should receive their laws, in proof of
which acceptance they bowed their heads, saying that they wish the
trade in hatchets and machetes which they should receive from them."

The Caciques in War Paint. "Among these caciques or governors of the
said four islands, there came an old man with a moderate sized
_machete_ with two edges, forming the blade of his javelin; and
another, not so old, with his flint dagger; and these, besides coming
painted and in warlike array, had their faces as foul as the purpose
which they had in their hearts was wicked (as they promptly showed).
Looking at them naturally inspired horror. I did my best to treat them
more kindly, speaking to them more frequently and pleasantly,
discoursing with them in their ancient idiom, as if the time had
already come (just as their prophets had foretold) for our eating
together from one plate and drinking from one cup, we, the Spaniards,
making ourselves one with them. To this the older one replied, with an
affected laugh, that he was very happy at this, so as to go from these
thickets in which he lived and to come with me to the Province and
obtain titles to lands which his ancestors held and to live on these in
happiness among his elder brothers, the Spaniards; promising me at the
same time to accompany me with all his people into the presence of the
Governor as a proof of a true surrender. His showing without necessity
such submission was a sure sign of his real treachery. It was now about
four o'clock in the afternoon without their having had speech with the
King, at which they went at once to the house of a friend of theirs,
and I saw that the King took little account of them, and it was
because, as I knew afterwards from the mouth of the King, they were his

Avendaño Makes Inquiries as to their Manner of Reckoning Time. "I told
them that I wished to speak to them of the old manner of reckoning
which they use, both of days, months and years and of the ages, and to
find out what age the present one might be (since for them one age
consists only of twenty years) and what prophecy there was about the
said year and age; for it is all recorded in certain books of a quarter
of a yard high and about five fingers broad, made of the bark of trees,
folded from one side to the other like screens; each leaf of the
thickness of a Mexican _Real_ of eight. These are painted on both sides
with a variety of figures and characters (of the same kind as the
Mexican Indians also used in their old times), which show not only the
count of the said days, months and years, but also the ages and
prophecies which their idols and images announced to them, or, to speak
more accurately, the devil by means of the worship which they pay to
him in the form of some stones. These ages are thirteen in number; each
age has its separate idol and its priest, with a separate prophecy of
its events. These thirteen ages are divided into thirteen parts, which
divide this kingdom of Yucathan and each age, with its idol, priest and
prophecy, rules in one of these thirteen parts of this land, according
as they have divided it; I do not give the names of the idols, priests
or parts of the land, so as not to cause trouble, although I have made
a treatise[9.5] on these old counts with all their differences and
explanations, so that they may be evident to all, and the curious may
learn them, for, if we do not understand them, I affirm that the
Indians can betray us face to face."[9.6]

Avendaño Explains the Prophecies. "The said cacique pretended
ignorance, answering me that he did not understand these computations,
but I, in case what he said was true, in order that he might understand
them, explained them very minutely; and in order that he, if he did
understand them, should not twist their meaning (as they are accustomed
to do) with some of their superstitions, undertook with much pleasure
the work of sitting down at length with them, the King having come at
this time, (for he is the chief priest and master of them) with other
priests and leaders who were there, before all of whom I carried on the
said work, with the greatest pleasure and earnestness, so that there we
might discuss in the sight of all, how the time had already expired
(according to their prophets) in which they should begin to become
Christians. I also made a computation of these accounts (the King and
some of the priests aiding with their opinion) so that, confessing that
they were convinced, we agreed that four months thereafter was the time
wanting to fill out the said period when all the older men would
receive baptism.... And so (they said) that this was the reply which
they gave to my message, with which I could go back to the Governor who
sent me, until the said four months had passed. At the end of which
time they expected me, in order to carry out the agreement we had made,
notifying me that I should not come back by Cha Kan Ytza, through which
I had come there, since those Indians were their enemies and might kill
me, but that I should go by Tipu (the road through which lies in the
opposite direction) where he [Canek], knowing that I had arrived would
come forward with all his people to receive me, informing me that from
the Peten Ytza (which is the court of the said King) to Tipu, which
they told me about, there were twelve days of travel, by which they
left me to understand the love with which they received my message and
the pleasure and good will which they had in becoming Christians."

Objection of Covoh. "The devil, envious of the results which were being
gained and which would be gained by their and my fulfilling the
agreement which I had made to return there in the said four months,
without putting himself forward, took possession[9.7] anew of the heart
of that old cacique called Covoh, as he did with the heart of Judas. As
Covoh found himself among his enemies (as are the King and the larger
part of Peten) and seeing that that which his wicked heart intended was
contrary to the agreement made in his presence, therefore he, as did
the rest of the caciques and captains, said they were convinced;
notwithstanding what had been said, the said Cacique Covoh burst forth
in great anger in the following words:--'What matters it that the time
has come when we are to become Christians, if this slender point of my
flint lance has not been worn out?' To this I answered him with the
special favor and the special courage of God, 'You must know, Cacique
Covoh, that he who permits me to come and argue with you (who is the
true God of the Heavens) alone can give you this pleasure, if, for his
greater glory, he allows me to die; and if he does not allow it, in
vain do you show this arrogance of yours, since, just as there is a
time marked out and determined for you to become Christians, so also
are the times determined for me to die for love of him; and if it were
left in your hands, as you think, and say such things, you would have
carried it out, or the devil Pakoc (this is an idol who speaks to them
very frequently) whom you adore and who dictates such things to you;
but here you shall know how slight is his strength in my presence,
since he only dares to speak of it to you and not to come and execute
it upon me. And I do not know (notwithstanding the great arrogance you
show) what victory there can be in so many of your armed men here,
killing so unjustly and without notice a few men like us, who, moved
solely by love of you, intend without any arms, but for your own good,
to take you out of the slavery in which you stand. In short here I am;
I know not what prevents you from carrying out what you say.' With
this, since it was late at night, they withdrew, and I with the King
and the rest of the priests remained discussing the agreement which we
had made."

Discussion with Canek and Others. "On the next day, after performing
baptisms on some who came to me, talking with the King and some of the
caciques of the other _Petens_ or islands and other priests, who stayed
with us continually, we discussed at our leisure various matters which
came up. I asked them what products they had for their food and
clothing, and they told me that they had a great deal of maize, beans,
seeds, peppers, and that they sowed all this two or three times in the
year; also many plantains and _chunes_, which are like the _chayotes_,
though without thorns; some _cacao_ (though but little), vanilla, and
in some orchards enclosed with stakes in their homes, some wild
cabbage. I did not see these nor the onions, which, however, the
singers who accompanied me told me that they had seen;[9.8] there is a
great deal of cotton, cochineal, and indigo, which accounts for the
abundance of clothing which they have and give to the Cehaches Indians,
and those from Tipu in barter for hatchets and _machetes_; and all this
woven very neatly, in a variety of colors of cotton thread; the said
clothing is very durable, since it is like felt, although the colors of
their cloth are not very permanent, from their not knowing; how to give
it the finishing touch...."

Friendliness of Canek. "Because from the time that I had convinced them
by their own ancient computations,--a thing that they considered
impossible for any other man except their priests to learn,--they began
to love and fear me at the same time; saying that I was undoubtedly a
great personage in the service of my Gods, since I had succeeded in
learning the language of their ancestors and their own, for from no one
else of all these neighboring natives had they heard it, nor did they
have any information that the Spaniards who subjugated their lands knew
it.... On which account they called me Chomachahan, which means among
them, 'Great Lord, worthy of reverence,' and Citcaan, which means
'Father of Heaven.' ..."

Demonstrations against Canek. "Suddenly a disturbance arose without any
cause, among the crowd of Indians, together with their head men and
captains and some priests, in which in my presence they said to the
King many discourteous things, after which they went on to say,--'What
good was the friendship of the Spaniards and their law to be to them?
If it was to get hatchets and _machetes_ for cultivating, means had
never failed them to till their soil up to that time; if it was for the
stuffs and cloths of Castile for clothing them, when did they need any
of this, since theirs was very good; if it was that the Spaniards
should defend them, when was the Ytzalana nation cowardly or when did
it humiliate itself to any one, since they had so many warriors for
their own defense and for the destruction of as many as ventured
against them? It was a very bad thing to receive them.' The King also
opposed them in my presence with wisdom enough, defending in every
point what they and he had agreed on with me; and with more severity
reproved the arrogant mention of arms, in that they had said it before
me. They grew more disturbed with the reproof and the contestants
increased, and many, who up to that time had not spoken, then declared
themselves as opposed to him, all the said men bursting out against him
with words of great anger and exceeding boldness; all this discord was
caused by the said Cacique Covoh, who had not yet gone to his own town.
I, who was paying attention to everything, seeing that all that great
crowd was already excited and not paying attention to one another,
since all were talking at the same time, rising by the side of the King
and standing in the midst of them, said to them with some anger and
effect:--'What is this? What disturbance and tumult is this, so
entirely without foundation? Is it by chance because you have made an
agreement with me to accept the friendship of the Spaniards and to
trade with them in peace and kindness? Well then, what dagger did I
press against your breast in order to make these friendships and to
agree upon this peace with you, other than the good-will with which you
have joined hands with me, knowing that already the time has come for
you and the Spaniards to eat together in one plate and to drink
together from one cup in token that you are our brothers? It is without
doubt because you have remembered at this moment that you Indians are
fickle in everything. Go, shame on you, and remember that you are
Ytzalanos, respected by everyone as people of intelligence and
consideration. Bear in mind that the agreement which you have made with
me to be friends of the Spaniards is an intelligent act, by which you
show that you are not ignorant of your prophecies, and your executing
it will do you much honor, since our King and Lord is the greatest
monarch that is found today in the world, to whom not only a few poor
men isolated as you are, but very extensive kingdoms and empires
consider themselves very fortunate in rendering and paying homage to
him. And besides, notice how your great Montezuma, as soon as they
informed him that my King was such a great Lord and that his empire was
so extensive, offered him not only his crown, but also his person and
kingdom, going as he did personally to offer it to him."

Leniency Promised by the Padres. "'But the Governor, who sends me, does
not intend to take anything from you nor from the King any part of his
command, but instead, he wishes that all this should remain with him,
as is evident from this clothing which I have placed upon him and by
that _baton_ which I have placed in his hand. This among the Spaniards
is a sign of command and rule.... All this being so, why do you raise
this disturbance? Go, Ytzalanos, be ashamed of yourselves, since the
agreement which you and your King have made with me is a very good

"With this I sat down again and they stood still without knowing what
had happened to them; and changing at once the conversation they
indulged in much noisy mirth and laughter, playing jokes on each other,
without thinking of the passed disturbance, as if it had not

Avendaño Takes Steps to Protect the Itzas from Further Molestation.
"Suspecting that in my absence some Spaniards might come either from
this Province or that of Guatemala to make war on them, from their
being around there in opening the road, they therefore asked me, in
order to calm their hearts and as a token of peace, to give them some
sure signs or well understood token, so that (in case any Spaniards
should come to their lands from this Province of Yucathan or from the
other one of Guatemala) they should do them no harm nor make war on
them, when they showed them the said sign and well known token, which I
should leave them."

The Letter of Counsel. "Then I left them the following letter:--

"Captains of whichever of the two Poles, North or South. My dear Lords.
Our Lord was pleased to communicate to us his divine favor, in order to
succeed in obtaining that which for many ages no one has been able to
obtain. (But nothing is impossible to the divine power, to whom may the
glory be ascribed.) Because for his glory he has given opportunity to
humble the neck of this unconquerable Ytzalana nation, humbling itself
at the first suggestion of the ministers of the gospel, and sons of my
holy Padre, San Francisco, by promptly offering their children to the
most pure washing of baptism, I having baptized up to this time many of
them, with the sure hope of baptizing them all in a short time; though
the fathers and mothers, although gentle and peaceable with us, are
nevertheless slow in giving up their idolatry; and for this reason
especially it is necessary to show moderation with great patience, so
as to bear many such vexing acts as are due to the darkness in which
they have lived; on this account I beg your Graces to act with much
prudence (if by chance you should come to this nation of the Ytzaes,
whose patron is Saint Paul) so as not to lose in a short time what is
so much desired and has been attained, thanks be to God! They are
inclined to receive you in peace when your Graces appear and to give
you what supplies, etc., that may be needed by you, in barter for
hatchets, _machetes_ and other merchandise of Castile, which they wish
for exceedingly, but I do not know whether you will be well paid. This
is as much as occurs to me now. After expressing my joy for the good
health of your Graces, to whose service I offer humbly my own health,
asking our Lord to keep you many years, as I wish. In the Town of Great
Saint Paul of Peten Ytza, on the sixteenth of January, 1696. I kiss the
hand of your Graces. Your most humble servant and chaplain,--Fray
Andrés de Avendaño, Apostolic Missionary Commissioner...." There
follows the certification of this letter by the Apostolic Notary.

"... With this I delivered the letter to the King in the presence of
many chiefs and the greater part of the common people, so that all were
satisfied with such an agreement, and agreeing moreover, they with me
and I with them, that within the said four months, I should come back
to see them."

Before Leaving Tayasal, Avendaño Shames Covoh. "Finding ourselves now
very near our departure, I notice how, after the last disturbance above
referred to, although it is true that the sermon that I preached to
them calmed their spirits, nevertheless the devil did not fail to sow
tares in the hearts of the Cacique Covoh, whom I have spoken of many
times, and in another cacique named Ahcan, a relation of the King of
Peten, and in the Captain Covoh, with all his followers, all of whom
are Cha Kan Ytzaes, noting here that the first settlement which I met
with on my entering the land of the said Cha Kan Ytzaes, was that of
the said Cacique Ahcan and his Captain Covoh, to whom I showed (as I
said at the beginning of my said entrance) what I was bringing for the
King of Peten Itza; and these were the men who took away from us all
that we carried at the time of our embarking on the lake. These men I
did not fail to put to shame in Peten, before the King and the rest of
the chiefs, not complaining of what they had taken from us, from the
poor supply of the priests and of the four Indian singers, who carried
their change of clothes with them, but my regret was that they had
stolen the entire suit of clothes, with its _sombrero_ and _baton_
which the Governor had given me to give to the King in his name. This I
scolded them for in earnest, asking them: 'What sort of way that was to
receive a messenger, taking away from him all that he had brought,
instead of giving a very kind reception?' This, with other effective
reasons, I repeated on various occasions, until the clothes appeared,
so that I myself clothed the King with them."

The Hatred of the Chakan Itzas for the Padres Increases. "The said
Chakanytzaes then, abashed that the said clothes had been found in
their possession, conceived a hatred against me.... They made a plan
among themselves to kill us, when we passed through their territories,
without the King and the others in Peten knowing it. On account of
this, the said Cacique Can came with his Captain Covoh, with a great
gourd full of _posole_, and with it entering the house of the King, in
which. I was at the time stopping, he told me to drink what he had
brought me. I drank it without suspicion, for always had I trusted in
that text of the Evangelist '_si morfirum quid biberibit, non eis
nosevit_.' And scarcely had I drank it, when they told me that they had
come to ask me for two of the four Indians whom I brought with me, who
were the fattest, so that the next day when I should pass by their
house on my return, they should have made me something good to eat; for
the Indians would know how to prepare food for us in the way to which
we were accustomed. I, who recognized the wicked intention of the said
invitation, said to them, 'I cannot go without them, nor can they stay
here without me. When I go, they will go.' Then they replied,
'Tomorrow, when the sun is up, we will all come for you, to accompany
you as we accompanied you hither.' 'Well and good,' I answered them.
With this they went off to their town very well satisfied, to prepare,
without doubt, the _pib_ or fire where the two fat Indians, whom they
asked me for, were to be cooked, and the stakes on which we were to be
spitted, as we found out later."

Canek Helps the Padres to Escape. "As soon as these men had gone, the
King said to me,--'You have done well in not giving them your servants,
nor is it best for you to go back by their house nor by the road by
which you came, but by the opposite road, which is that of Tipu, to
which place I will accompany you; since you must know that this
invitation is to kill you, in order that the Spaniards may not know the
road by which you came. And they say that they are going to follow the
Cehaches Indians who guided you, as far as their houses in order to
kill them; and so you must go tonight and when they come tomorrow they
will find that they have been tricked.' The Queen and her daughters
confirmed the truth of this, for, when the time came to embark, they
said to us, 'They say that they are not going to kill you in any other
way than by cutting you in little pieces,' and they made gestures with
one hand over the other, to show that they were going to make mince
meat of us and eat us. We started that night, as I have said, and I
will tell about it more fully farther on. So that, when they came for
me, they found themselves tricked.

"In a rage at seeing their purposes frustrated, the said Cacique Can
and his Captain Covoh and the other Cacique Covoh returned to their
homes with sixty Indian warriors of their followers.... The said
Chakanytzaes Indians came painted red and ready for war to the camp of
the General Alonso Garcia de Paredes, saying that I had sent them for
the ornaments and the rest of the baggage which I had left in the
deserted town of Chuntucí, a land adjoining the nation of the Cehaches,
and that they came for the Padre who was taking care of these
things.... On their saying to the General that they came for the
ornaments, being sent by me, the said General said to them, 'Nor does
his servant come with you?' 'Neither does he come,' they replied, 'so
he merely sends us in this way.' Then he brought out wine to give them
and sent them with the Padre Apostolic Notary to the said town of
Chuntucí, which was distant some few leagues from the camp, that he
might deliver to them the baggage and sacred vessels."

Paredes' Stupidity; the Plot of the Chakan Itzas. "Cursed be the
ignorance which causes so great losses in this way! Of how great
importance is knowledge and experience for the proper despatch of
things! This General has no more knowledge or experience, except for
cutting wild trees in the forest where he has always been placed,
cutting timber for building the ships which sail from the port of
Campeche. And so he missed at the present time the greatest victory
which could be gained in this kingdom of Yucatan.... Is it possible
that reason did not tell him, even if he was ignorant of the said
points and of the military laws, that a priest and minister of God was
not going to send sixty Indians for the sacred vessels and the Padre
who guarded them, without sending him a message in writing (as I
promised to do when I took my leave) or without writing to the said
Padre my companion to come with them? Is it possible that, on seeing
that neither had I sent even one of the four Indians who accompanied
me, even if I was not able to write, so that they could deliver the
sacred things to him, he was not surprised enough to infer from that,
either that what the sixty Indians said was false, or that they had
killed us,--especially as he saw them come painted red and in warlike
array and had entered impudently into the camp? Spare me from such an
act, for in this case (although I do not understand military laws)
reason dictates that he ought to have imprisoned them and disarmed them
until he had satisfied himself whether what they said was true, taking
two of them as guides, and sending an officer with the necessary people
behind them, to investigate the truth of what had happened, and
according to the result, to act in the following way,--if it was true
that I sent them without a letter or sure token, he should have laid
the blame on me and should have honored the prisoners by accompanying
them with all his people to take possession of their lands in the name
of the King our Lord, since then he would know that this was the sign
which I gave him when I took my leave of him, that the said Ytzaes
wished to become Christians and accepted the friendship of the
Spaniards; and if it was not true, he should then have made use of
severity and the military laws. For, if the story that I sent them was
false, as it was, and if he had used military severity with their three
principal chiefs, who were the Cacique Covoh and the Cacique Can and
the Captain Covoh, all of whom the King of Peten, in his answer to the
message, told me were his enemies, and said that if the Governor
executed them, he (the King) would deliver over all the _Petens_, then
all the nations of the Ytzaes would have been conquered and delivered
to the King our Lord, and at this moment they would all have been
Christians without the said victory costing a shot of powder.... And he
ought not to have allowed them to go behind the said Padre, my
companion, some leagues away, with the risk that the said heathen might
kill the priest without the merit of being in the service of God; and
with the risk of their stealing and misusing the sacred vessels."

The Chakan Itzas are Foiled by God. "But God, who looks after his
affairs, arranged that on the said Chakanytzaes coming near the
ornaments, they, pretending a need, told the Padre to await them there,
and they went into the woods and went to their town without having
accomplished any of the many purposes for which they came; the first,
to see if they had got ahead of me and my companions (understanding
that we had passed through their territories by night) so as to carry
out their intention of killing us; the second, to see if they could
catch the three Cehaches Indians, our guides, who returned to their
homes by that road, so as to kill them; the third to see how many
Spanish people were in the camp for working on the road which they were
opening, so as to flee if they were many and to resist them if they
were few; the fourth to satisfy their greed by stealing the sacred
vessels with the rest of the wares of Castile which they thought I
brought with me. But they found it all in vain, thanks be given to God,
who thus looked after his priests and the materials for celebrating
mass; and not to the inconsiderate action of the said principal head,
by which he showed so little regard for looking after the things of God
and his ministers; but thus God has brought out all things well,
according to the purposes for which he has worked...."

The Departure of the Padres from Tayasal. "Let us turn from this
digression to the departure from Peten. In order to frustrate the
pretended invitation which the Chakanytzaes gave us, we left with grief
and tears enough on the part of the family of the King and his friends,
at about nine o'clock at night in the company of the King, his son and
his son-in-law,--all three rowing in the canoe at a good speed. We came
to the other part of the lake in the direction of the East, which is
the road to Tipu, at between three and four o'clock of the next
morning. When we landed here, on renewing our signs of affection with
the King and he with us, he again recalled to me the past agreement,
saying 'See that you do not forget to tell your Governor that I love
him much and wish to be his friend and that of the Spaniards, and not
to fail to kill my said rivals, the Chakanytzaes, for I am sure that I
shall deliver to him the _Petens_ which I rule. And do not fail to come
to see us, as you say, and let it be by this road of Tipu, so that I
with all my people may come out to receive you.' All these words did
the King say to me, holding me in a loving embrace.

"He remained alone on the canoe to return before they should miss him,
and to us he gave his son and son-in-law as guides, with their bows and
arrows to defend us from anyone who might wish to do us harm. They
guided us through some very large plains or meadows, though afterwards
there were some very good bits of hills, with some bad stretches of mud
and water, and larger hills, so that, considering that it rained every
day, wetting us very thoroughly, since we did not have any place or
wherewithal to shelter us, the journey was the more troublesome and

Avendaño Goes Eastward to Yalain. "In this way we came to the first
settlement of Peten Ytza, on the main land, in an easterly direction,
which is called Yalain, which is distant from Peten Ytza to that place,
ten very long leagues,--six on the water and four on land up to said
town. This town consists of very few houses close together, but also of
many farms well peopled, at a distance in a circle of one or two
leagues. All are Indians of Peten Ytza, who came there to farm,
although there are also some from Tipu, and all are dwellers in the
said town, in which are found many Indians called Canekes, like the
King of Peten, but they are not relations of his, but are natives of
his district, which (as I have said) take their names from those who
rule the said districts, although they may have, as they do, their own
surnames, each one from the father and mother. A priest more than
fifty-four years old, according to his appearance, called Chomachculu,
rules this town, a great comrade and confidant of the King Canek, to
whom the said King sent us, well recommended, so that he might give us
as good reception and attention as he would to himself. And this they
did, for, as soon as we came, they gave us very good things to eat and
took us to a new house, which was only thatched, but they had not put
down the floor. This house, they told us was for us, ... and (they told
us) how in the month of September of the past year of ninety-five,
there had gone to Merida, four Indians who said that they were from
Tipu, with whom I had intercourse, and I gave them something to eat in
our cell.... I heard that the said Indians asked for ministers of the
gospel so that they should administer to them the divine word and the
holy sacraments.... So when we came to this town of Yalain, its
inhabitants began to ask us about these four Indians who went to Merida
in the said month of September, (who had not yet come back).... In
reply I asked them if the men were one Achan with his younger brother,
and another called Ahtec, and another Anu, and they said 'Yes.' To this
I replied that I did not know why they had not come to their town, as
they had started so long before I did.... We stopped in that town two
days, its inhabitants treating us very well. From there they were to
give us a guide to pass on to Tipu, as the priest Chomachculu promised
us in compliance with the request which the King of Peten made of him,
and on this supposition the son and son-in-law of the King, who had
guided us up to that time, returned home. But they said that this guide
was to be an Indian of Tipu, who came to Peten while we were there,
and, though the said Indian saw us leave Peten, he never came at all,
but rather stayed there."

Trouble with Soldiers. "We were staying on in hopes that this man would
come, when we saw coming six or eight Indians from Peten, who (as they
told us) were coming to their farms. These brought the news that there
had been a disturbance in Peten, on account of there having come in the
part where we had entered Indians from this side of the Province, and
that they had heard musket shots, with a rumor of Spaniards. I do not
know if this was true, but what we experienced from this time on from
the Indians of that town where we were staying was that they cooled off
entirely in that affection with which up to that time they had regarded
us, showing us a thousand slights without paying any attention to
giving us the guide which we asked for. The change in their hearts came
to such an extreme that they called a meeting (drinking a great deal of
their drink, with which not only they get drunk, as they were then, but
with which they worship). We came then to a time when on that night the
taking of our lives had been determined on, had not God wished that I
should learn about the matter; and so I taking from them the implements
of their feast, and reproving them for the little firmness of their
hearts, they came to understand that we knew the wickedness of their
actions. Then they all gathered together around us, and without any
more noise or disturbance, they kept us company all night. Scarcely had
the dawn come when (perhaps in remorse for their sin) they began to
treat us with the same affection as at the beginning and to give us an
Indian who guided us to the other farms, half a league from there,
which, from the abundance of the fruit, appeared an orchard. There was
another priest called Chomach punab, who received us with very great
kindness, giving orders to call all the Indians, men and women, in the
vicinity, so that they might see us, and asking us to stop and have
something to eat. We yielded to his importunity in order, by showing
ourselves pleased, to reciprocate so much kindness as they showed us.
The wife of one of the four Indians who I said before came to Merida,
named Ahtec, spoke to me. Hardly had we accepted the invitation, when
all the Indian women went to their houses, to make something for us to
eat; and in a short time they came back, each one of them with her bowl
of meat, according to what they had, with many _tortillas_, so that we,
with the Indians who accompanied us, should eat; the Indians promising
us that some of them would accompany us. And, scarcely had we eaten and
told them to come to guide us, when suddenly they turned back, without
our being able to get anything from them, except that an Indian came
about half a mile, to set us upon that obscure path, which led towards
the direction of Tipu, telling us that up to that place, we had to
speed on the way twelve days, from sunrise to sunset; and that, two
leagues before that, we should come across a great river, which we had
to pass, but he did not tell us how nor where."

The Padres Suffer Hardships and Lose their Way. "With this he returned
to his house and we went on with twenty maize tortillas which we had
kept, of those which they had brought us to eat. With these we
sustained ourselves, seven people of us, for five days, at the end of
which we came across a great river, having before this met with many
and very large _aguadas_ and having passed many ridges and hills, with
so many other evident dangers that some fatality might happen to us.
Notwithstanding this, we took some pleasure at having found this great
river,--first, because we thought that we had not lost ourselves, since
we had found the river with signs which they gave us; and second,
because we found ourselves (as it appeared to us) near Tipu, where we
could remedy the want of supplies from which we were suffering. But our
pleasure was marred, since, following the footsteps or obscure path,
along the banks of this river, on the fifth day of our following them,
and on the tenth day of the want of supplies from which we suffered, we
found ourselves entirely lost, in a greater perplexity than any human
being could find himself;--that is, surrounded on one side by the great
full and broad river and surrounded on the other sides by another
multitude of little streams with great density of low trees, so that it
did not appear possible that we could pass through them; and on another
side were some cliffs and very high ridges so that we were not able, by
making use of the trees, to climb up the heights. In the midst of this
struggle determined to follow the direction to the Northwest, so as to
reach the deserted town of Chanchanha, and to cross the head streams of
the great rivers and _aguadas_ which surround it, since in this
direction it was not possible for us to fail in finding it. We went
three days in this direction, and from thinking that, if we missed the
convent of Chanchanha, in this direction, there was afterwards no place
to have recourse to, on account of the great distance that we were from
a town on all sides, a great sadness came over my companion Padres, so
that they told me that we should change our direction, since, if we did
not, it was certain that we should perish in these forests, and that
the best thing was to try to strike the road which was being opened
from this Province to that of Guatemala, which runs from North to
South. To please them I yielded the opinion which I had determined on.
From there we took the direction to the West, although the distance in
leagues and forests which we intended to traverse was more than sixty
or seventy. This distance was a great one, for us to be able, breaking
through such bad thickets and suffering from hunger for thirteen days,
to come through alive, without exaggeration."

Hard Travel in the Wilderness for Fifteen Days. "In those fifteen days
that we traveled in a northwesterly direction, we met with many
_akalchees_, or swamps, which consist of very bad passages through
water and low and thorny shrubs with a kind of square grass, which, if
it caught our clothes, held us by the multitude of thorns, which grow
on the four corners from top to bottom; and if it caught our face,
hands or legs, it cut them like a small saw; so that as most of the
woods are _akalchees_, which consist of this grass, except on the high
places, we were always walking with our feet, hands or faces wounded,
so that we did not know what to do. Thus wounded, we went through some
very long _akalchees_, when we directed one of the Indians whom we
brought, to climb a tree so as to look out and see where we could make
a short cut through the said _akalche_, for we were not able to suffer
any longer on account of the many sores which the said grass caused us.
This said Indian climbed the tree, and gave us the news that he had
discovered a great meadow or plain towards the northwest. Some instinct
made me believe it, but to see whether imagination and the wish we had
to find it, had this effect, we took that direction, so that in a
little while we came upon the said meadow; but as we entered it, at the
beginning it had half a yard of water; we went ploughing through it and
at each step there was more water, and it took a long time to cross it,
causing us pain enough in our wounds. But with the care that we took
not to get submerged, we forgot that feeling, since the earth of the
said marsh was so spongy that though we doubled up the reeds which grew
there in large number, so as to step over it, so that the water might
hold us up, yet if we stopped a moment, the overflowed earth drew and
sucked us in in such a way, that if we should fall, we could not help
one another, since he who should stop to help the other, would be
submerged with him."

Miracle of the Bent Branch. "At the end of a long stretch of this
trouble, we reached some little woods, with trees of considerable
height, which were as much, or more, covered with water as what we had
passed through. We passed through these as well as we could, having in
mind that that was now coming to an end, when suddenly we came across a
very large _aguada_ of the kind they call Kaxek, in which no bottom is
found. Armed with patience, although with some trouble from the fact
that the sun was about to set, considering that we had to stay there
that night, I made an Indian climb one of the said trees, so as to see
where the _aguada_ ended, or where we could make a short cut through
the said _aguada_; and the said Indian not discovering a passage in any
part to our great sorrow, we, looking towards one side, saw a branch of
a tree broken, like those which the Indians break so as not to lose
themselves in the woods. We attributed this sign to a miracle, as it
was not probable that a human being could place that sign in that
place. We followed that sign in an easterly direction, which was that
towards which the said branch was bent, until, when, at a little
distance, we came upon another branch bent in the same way and very
recently. At this we were consoled by the miracle which God kept
continuing. We went on with sticks in our hands, trying the shallow
places, because, when we least expected it, we came on many holes of
alligators (since they are found in abundance in the said overflowed
woods) and then we were submerged almost to our heads. We discovered a
piece of level ground, about as large as the ante-room of a cell, and
thinking that it was solid, we started to pass over it, but on its
bearing the weight of the body, not only did all the ground shake, but
the part where we pressed on it, sinking, submerged us also with it;
many alligators starting from under it and fleeing from their holes, so
that we went on with great misgiving--one, so as not to sink in, the
other, for fear that some of these alligators would cut off a leg of
ours at a mouthful. This was all a pure miracle, since there also we
came across the third branch close by a ridge, where we went to sleep
that night very well contented, although so wet, because God had freed
us from that trouble in which we were."

An Uncomfortable Night. "We came out of that place about sunset, and
climbing the high ridge which we met with, we went to rest there, cold
enough from being drenched with water, even to the lint which we had
for striking fire, unable to get comfort by warming ourselves. We
offered to God the trouble we had passed and even with more fervor the
trouble which follows from sleeping in wet clothes. But remembering
that the Indians are accustomed to make fire with two dry sticks, and
having no other than the staff which I carried, we broke it, and with
this God willed that we should obtain fire. We made a great fire, with
which we not only dried our garments and underclothes, but warmed
ourselves very well. In the vicinity of the fire we went to sleep.

"On the next day when we left this place, we discovered a large plain
or meadow, which horrified us just to see it, on account of what had
happened on the preceding afternoon, but as it was free from woods, we
were happy in passing over it, and more so as we had seen in the
distance many pine trees all about it, so that, thinking of their
fruits, we had hopes of getting something to eat; but our hope was in
vain, since, when we came to see whether they had cones, they had them,
but without seeds. We had recourse to other trees, which appeared to be
evergreen oaks, with the acorns of which, if there were any, we might
give our bodies some sustenance; but they were nothing but oak trees
which had nothing but leaves. Crossing this field, we came upon a path
well frequented by animals, and as the grass was tall, their tracks
were not seen; notwithstanding which, in some marshes, where there was
no grass and the soil was only damp, we saw that the tracks were like
those of an ox or bull. We wondered at this, from there not being seen
in a long distance from there any herd of cattle, so that for the time
being we suspended judgment.... But when in the Province I told this to
people who go through forests, they told me that those tracks were of
deer, for there are such in this Province. I offer no objection to
there being as many wild animals as can be imagined, since the woods
are very well fitted for them."

Great Want of Food. "At the end of the said three days in which we
passed through these troubles, taking a westerly direction, we again
began to break through woods and with greater difficulty (than before),
since hunger kept wearing out our strength and the ridges which we met
in the space of three days were so high in all four directions, that it
seemed impossible that men could cross them, on account of the great
height of their summits and the depth and shallowness of their ravines.
The trees of these hills of which we availed ourselves so as not to
fall, are some palms which are called _Cumes_, covered with thorns
whose sharp points are very long and cover the tree from top to bottom
as far as the roots; so that all our bodies were wounded by the said
thorns from head to foot, particularly our feet, since we went
barefoot. At this time came the day of Purification of Our Lady, when
we prepared in spirit for celebrating that day, all of us confessing
one another, as men who at every moment had death before their eyes, on
account of the great want of food. And in order to obtain the holy
indulgences of that day, we had anticipated it by finding on the
preceding days some date palms, with the fruit in season, of which we
made use for eating on those days, as well as some _sapote mameys_,
which, though they were as hard as stone, from their not being in
season, we cooked for eating."

The Situation Grows Still Worse. "All this appeared to us now very
hard, to have to live only on these dates without any food. But in two
or three days after we found the dates and _sapotes_, the situation
became more serious (and much worse after many days); for not having
found anything to eat for three days, nor even to drink, as my mind
turned more and more to spiritual things, since it was not hindered by
any bodily functions, which would prevent its reasoning powers, so
great was the occurrence of texts of scripture, examples of saints, and
incidents which it remembered, that I recalled very readily everything
that I had read; so that sometimes the said conditions brought about
greater resignation to God, knowing that it was then that he was of
more assistance to his creature, when he purified him more in the
crucible of affliction; and at other times such memories served as a
greater encouragement; (although my resignation never failed). Then
remembering that there was no bird nor animal among the forest trees of
which divine Providence does not take care, as well in the adornment of
clothing as in giving his daily sustenance, and that to us, who were
rational beings, created in his image and likeness, the contrary
happened, without our having, not only anything to eat, but not even
water to drink, this was an intellectual argument which we kept
meditating on, as we went along the road without stopping.

"But this meditation of mine beginning to search the recesses of my
conscience in my past life, scarcely had it come to the threshold of
this argument, when, knowing that its faults deserved much greater
punishment, it bore the present ones with patience and prepared itself
for greater ones in the future; but as the disordered appetite of this
unrestrained body called out each day for our daily food, remembering
that God himself had taught us to ask for it, though I knew that its
not being found was a chastisement of my sins, not on this account did
I fail to continue the petition every day, particularly at the hour
when I knew that my brothers were eating in the refectories, with such
pleasure and tranquillity, without perhaps remembering us....

"When the hour of noon was passing, on which at the accustomed hour of
eating we remembered said pleadings, there passed also our desire for
the said meal, considering that, since God did not give it, it was not
suitable for us, and thus that his most holy will should be done in
everything, and that if it was best for us to suffer more, his holy
Majesty sent it. Here the soul ruled, but it could not fail that the
body also asked for an offering which would preserve our lives, which
it brought forward by continually asking for it, as one who needed it
so much. I then, leaning on the faith which I had in my Father, San
Diego, on the one side, and on the great need which I suffered on the
other, seeing that in reply to my prayers, San Diego had accomplished
nothing as it appeared to me, in my mind I directed the said Saint, in
holy obedience, now that my prayers were not accepted for my many sins,
that he should go, moved by his great charity, to the gates of Heaven
to ask alms in the name of his brothers who were lost in these parts
and perishing from want,--an extraordinary thing truly. A wonderful
event which I relate for the greater confusion of me and my audacity
and for the greater glory of the humility and prompt obedience of my
Father, San Diego."

They Find Some Miraculous Honey. "Scarcely had we gone twenty steps
from where I bade him for obedience sake, when we met with a sapote
tree, rotten and fallen on the ground, in which we found a bee-hive,
and the occurrence is the more wonderful in that, having no implement
for cutting or taking out the said bee-hive, other than the pike or
point of my staff, the said trunk happened to be rotten; so that with
the said spike, we took the bee-hive out; besides the fact that the
tree had laid fallen for many years, the hive was freshly occupied, so
that there is no doubt that, while there were so many trees standing
strong and sound, they went to swarm in a trunk, rotten and fallen to
the ground; so that it is an evident miracle which my Glorious Father,
San Diego, prepared for me. So when we came across the bee-hive, with
great tenderness and to my greater confusion, I began to weep,
confessing my sin to my companions, the Padres, which only my great
faith and the want from which we were suffering could excuse. We ate
that honey with its embryos and its excrement, without in our great
hunger reserving any part of it; and though the honey which fell to our
share was not much, since there were seven portions which were made of
it, nevertheless it caused great thirst, as we had brought no water
with us, and did not find any for a long time afterwards. This happened
to us the day of the Purification of Our Lady, as I said before."

Two Padres Go Ahead. "On this day, it appearing to my two Padre
companions, either that hunger and want were lasting a long time, since
fifteen days of it were already passing or that we now found ourselves
near the road which we sought; guided as much by the law of nature
which obliged them to save their lives, as by the love with which they
loved me, seeing also that I was overcome as well by my needs as by the
continual attacks of stomach troubles from which I suffered, and that
they, by being younger, could walk more leagues than the three leagues
which I walked each day, by which speed, if they reached safety first,
not only would they save their lives, but also would aid me with some
assistance, so that I should not perish in the woods, they said to me,
'Father our Commissioner, we wish to go forward with the benediction
and permission of your Reverence, to see if we can make greater
progress each day by some leagues, so as by this means to reach some
settlement, from which to send you some assistance, to aid your
Reverence; and if we should be delayed in getting out of the woods, and
should meet with the soldiers, we would send some of them whenever we
met them, so that they may extricate your Reverence and that you may
not perish in these forests. We are of no importance, and as such, we
shall not be missed. But as for your Reverence, on whose shoulders so
much depends, such as giving an account to our Prelate and to our Lord
the Governor of everything that has happened, your loss would be of
importance. Therefore we beg your Reverence to give us your blessing in
carrying out what has been said, giving us one of these Indians to
accompany us, and one of the two needles which you have, so as to
follow the direction to the west which we are taking.' I, that I might
never be held responsible for any loss or harm that might come to them,
granted them the Indian they picked out, the needle, blessing and
permission, although I knew we were yet very far off from arriving in
the four days that they thought.

"We took leave of each other with the mutual love and tenderness, which
the loving companionship of those who had followed me faithfully
through so great hardships required. We charged each other to remember
one another in our poor and humble prayers. With this they went off
with the benediction of God and of myself, I remaining with the three
Indians, though one was dying (and he died later) and the rest with
their strength exhausted as mine was.

"The departure of the Padres, my companions, and my beginning to
undergo new calamities, was all at the same time; for on those first
three days it was all passing through _akalchees_, or overflowed lands,
although they were dry but very much obstructed and closed up with low
and thorny trees which grew there, and with those cutting grasses which
I spoke of above, so that we were in constant trouble in passing
through them, reopening once more all the wounds which we had on our
legs. And at that time we found ourselves with bare feet and legs, and
with our clothes in pieces, without getting any more comfort from them
than to cover myself with them at night; also a steel for striking
fire, which by a miracle we saved among the heathen Ytzaes, belonged to
my companions, so that they took it with them, and I remained without
any human comfort, nor did they take anything except the said steel."

A Desperate Situation. "In this final and extreme need we remained so
absolutely destitute of everything, that only by some angel bringing us
food and placing it in our mouths, could we nourish this living body;
because, even if we should find anything, either animals or birds of
the forest, we had nothing to kill them with, and, even if they put
themselves into our hands for killing, we had no knife nor machete to
skin them with, if they were animals, nor anything to cook them with
for want of a steel for striking fire. From this it can be inferred
that, being wet every day, at least with the dew, besides the showers
which caught us, and having to sleep on the bare earth, wherever night
came upon us, whether it was wet or dry, we were unable to get any
comfort, besides not having any means of making fire."

They Find Some Edible Thistles. "Notwithstanding, the said _akalchees_
were not what exhausted us most, nor were they so unkind to us that
amongst them we did not find something to eat and drink; since on some
trees there were _Chuis_, which are like large edible thistles, the
leaves of which preserve the water from the dew and rains for a long
time, and by tapping them in the stem, the water which they have
preserved comes out, although it is dirty and bad smelling; but the
thirst we felt was more so. These same plants served us for food, by
eating the stems of each leaf, something like two fingers of white that
they have, since that part is the most tender, and the rest is very
bitter and hard. In the same way we used to find in the said
_akalchees_ some roots of trees to gnaw, so that, as the proverb says,
'Afflictions with bread are of less account,' we did not feel the sores
which those cutting grasses had caused us, as I have said, in exchange
for what we found there of food and drink."

Some Hills are Reached. "These three days of _akalchees_ having passed,
there followed three other days of hills and very high ridges, so that
we inevitably had to pass them, since they lay in all four directions.
These followed one after the other in such a way that, having finished
climbing one, we went down it again, without finding an eighth of a
mile level below. Upon which we again ascended the next one, for all of
these were so high that their heights cannot be told except to say that
in their deep valleys the rays of the sun do not penetrate. So weak did
we become from ascending these hills on account of the fatigue, as well
as by going down, because of the stony ground, or for both reasons, it
was necessary to make use of the trees, which cover the hills, the most
of which are the said palms called _Cumes_, full of penetrating thorns,
which injured our feet, hands and bodies, since falling from weariness,
we were wont to strike against them.

"On the top, then, of one of these hills, we found a broad _aguada_,--a
thing which surprised us much, since there were not any other high
places around it, from which the water could come. There were there
very many flint stones which caused injury enough to our feet on
account of our going barefoot. I do not know to what to attribute that
water on that high hill top, since in the preceding ravines, which, for
the most part, were rivers, although now dry, water was not found,
except to a miracle, by which God gave us to understand that he had not
forgotten our needs, since with so much climbing up and down as we had
been through, we were thirsty enough, so that God furnished this
_aguada_, from which we had a very good drink. In about an eighth of a
mile we came to the descent from this height, after which we passed two
days of woods, some that were somewhat level, without so many or so
high hills, but it is wonderful that though these forests in which we
traveled for two days and the three preceding ones, consist of an
infinite number of _sapote_ and _ramon_ trees, we did not find in them
all a bit to eat,--a thing which happens in these woods as in the rest
that I saw. Seeing their sterility, I said, 'They appeared in every
respect like those of Gilboa.'"

Deserted Buildings. "With so few comforts and so great affliction, our
strength went on diminishing very quickly, knowing for truth the
proverb which the Biscayans, my fellow countrymen, say: 'It is the guts
which carry and support the legs and not the legs, the guts.' Among
these high hills which we passed over, there is a variety of old
buildings, excepting some in which I recognized apartments, and though
they were very high and my strength was little, I climbed up them
(though with trouble). They were in the form of a convent, with the
small cloisters and many living rooms all roofed over, and arched like
a wagon and whitened inside with plaster, which is very abundant
through that region, since all the ridges are composed of it. So that
these buildings do not resemble those which are here in this Province,
for the latter are of pure worked stone, laid without mortar,
particularly the part which relates to arches; but the former are of
rough stone and mortar, covered with plaster."

False Hopes; Further Hardships. "It seemed to us that these buildings
stood near a settlement, from the information which the soldiers had
given us, when we were going on the new road to Guatemala, but it
turned out to be the dream of a blind man, since we found ourselves, as
we saw afterwards, very far from a settlement. We traveled through
these woods when we came upon a dry river, which we followed a long
while to see if we found water, which we came across, though late,
which is better than never. Before that, God willed that we should meet
a _Kamas_, or a great mound of earth, which the ants build, in which we
found a little honey to eat, and, as every sweet thing at once calls
for water, and we were late in finding it, it did not fail to give us
trouble. By following the abovementioned river, we came to the said
_aguada_, which was quite large, similar to those which they call
_Petens_. This made us go around through plenty of woods and
affliction, so as to get past it."

They Face Starvation. "We passed the said _aguada_ and afterwards some
hills, with other rivers, although they were dry, though the hollows in
them were a proof of their being very full in the rainy season. The
signs were not deceptive, for at a little distance we fell in with a
great _cibal_ or pond full of those grasses with broad and cutting
leaves, of which I spoke before. This was, according to its distance
which was lost to sight, more than two leagues long and half a league
broad. Into this discharged the currents of the rivers of which I
spoke, and it cost us much trouble to go around it, so as to pass it,
changing our course in this, as in the other cases, which I have spoken
of, always to the North. In all this time we had nothing to eat, except
the little honey that I spoke of, so that the animated mass of bones,
owing to the continued troubles of traveling every day and not eating,
now kept growing weaker and weaker. In such a great extremity of a
man's dying without sickness or infirmity, being in his perfect senses,
one can well understand what cries he would utter to God and to his
most holy mother, and to all the saints of his prayers, not only
intended for his bodily comfort, but in order that he should not die
among beasts without the sacraments and in order that God should bring
him to die among brothers as a Catholic, and receive the holy

A Sign from our Lady of the Apparition. "The affliction which my dying
without them among those wild trees caused me, God, on whom my heart
called, alone knows. In like manner, there was not a saint of my
prayers to whom I did not pray, and even lovingly complained that they
should leave me in this way to die in these woods; yet my thinking
that, if this should happen, it would probably be the will of God, was
what mitigated all my sufferings. Nevertheless among all the Saints I
called upon to bring me out to die in a settlement, was our Lady who
appeared at Campeche, and scarcely did I call upon her in my mind (for
thus were all my pleas) to come to my aid, when at once we saw bent
branches of trees, a proof that people had come through those places.
From then on I put away the needle in the sleeve of my habit, without
taking it out, following the said track wherever it went. I kept on
following it for four days through paths as clear as they were
different from those we had found. The Indians were troubled when they
saw that I was going in a contrary direction and advised me to leave
such trails and to go in a westerly direction. I, who alone knew how
the said _Batche_ signs appeared on my invoking our Lady of the
Apparition, replied to them that they should come along since whoever
had showed me that _Batche_ or broken branches (which is a road for
Indians) would bring us out to a settlement.

"This is certain that at this time I was going on, falling and getting
up again, on account of my needs, but my faith was always strong and
firm that our Lady of the Apparition was going to bring us out safely.
At the end of the said four days of following the _Batche_ or broken
branches, in such different directions, for sometimes they went to the
East, at other times to the North, and at others to the South, we
finally came across a path, broad and good, on which it was evident
that a little while before Indians had passed and that there was
frequent passing. The Indians wished to follow it towards the East, in
case there were (as there were, from what I knew afterwards) any farms
there, in which they might find something to sustain ourselves. But I
did not let them go, since the sure thing was to follow it to the West,
where either a settlement or the road from Guatemala, which we were
searching for, could not fail us. At this time we were going on with a
strong desire to reach it, but with little courage; wherefore we
stopped to sleep on the road."

They Climb Some High Hills. "On the next day we went on over some high
hills, difficult to climb; then, on passing over one which is ascended
on the bank of a stream with but little water in it, one of the two
Indians who accompanied me carried me, so that I could pass over it or
climb it. There was no need for the hill to be very high (and it was
not) for me not to be able to climb it, since now there was left to me
in all my body only the bones and the skin and the spirit which
animated them. In a little while I gave up at once, without being able
to take a step forward, although my wish was to go on and the Indians
encouraged me. This was a thing which gave them great trouble, for they
also now were reeling from weakness. I, seeing that they would be
missed more, if they died than if I did, since they had families of
wife, children, mother and brother, and that I had only God, to whom I
had delivered my soul and life, I made an agreement with them, that
they should leave me there under a tree, and that they should try to
save their lives, with the understanding that, if they got out in a
short time to a settlement, they should come back to see me in a few
days and to bring me some aid, for if I did not follow them, it was not
from want of wish or spirit to do so, but from want of strength. They
grieved much over this resolution of mine, on account of the love which
they had come to have for me, and so they replied to me that they were
not going to leave me, but that where I should die, they were going to
die also. I (perhaps by divine inspiration) insisted that they should
go on and leave me, to the point of commanding them with firmness to do
so, provided that they should come to see me, whenever they found
supplies, for I trusted in God that they would find me alive. With this
determination of mine, they obeyed me, cutting off as they could leaves
or branches of palms, and they made me a little hut in which to remain
at rest."

Avendaño Left Alone. "At the same time they left me a fire lighted, and
it was a prodigy for them to have lighted it, since on other occasions
they had not been able to make a fire, because they lacked strength in
their hands to prepare or bore the said sticks with which fire is made.
They also left me half a gourd of water to cool my throat, so that it
might not be closed up. Having done all this with great tenderness and
with tears, they took leave of me, and I, giving them my benediction,
and showing them a like tenderness, embraced them also and sent them
away, asking my most holy Mother of the Apparition to take them shortly
and safely.

"I then as one who remained to die, without knowing whether the Indians
would come back or not, endeavored to prepare myself with a _santo
christo_ which I had with me, consoling myself with it, as one who had
no other company and needed the _santo christo_ so much in that time of
trial. With it I conversed and I accused myself of all my faults before
it, as one who could pardon them. Having finished reciting the divine
service, I got ready to bless a little roll of paper which I had, so
as, on seeing that I was failing, to burn it; in the fire, which was at
my side. At once I read the prayers for the dying with the litanies,
etc., after which I returned to my conversations with the _santo
christo_, which finished, I recited a vigil, celebrating my burial."

The Miracle of the Sapote. "I was engaged in these exercises, when
suddenly, though there were no _sapote_ trees where I was, there came a
squirrel down a low tree, with a _sapote_ in his little paws, and
giving two jumps in my presence, it showed its little teeth and went
away. I was not able to stir, but with a little stick which was at my
side, I drew this _sapote_ to me and ate it, for it was as ripe and
sweet as honey. The wonder is that in thousands of _sapotes_ which we
found in these forests, we did not come across a single good piece of
one; and here without there being a tree, that little animal brought a
ripe one. I knew then that God sent me that aid, like another Saint
Paul, although I was very far from imitating him in his virtues, but
rather that God might show his greater mercy to such a great sinner as
I. I gave him thanks with some tenderness for such a kindness, hoping
with more confidence now that I should not die of hunger. In doing this
and saying my prayers, I passed the whole day and night, awaiting every
moment the hour of dawn."

Rescued. "Much neglected by human aid (and even forgotten) was I, when
it dawned the next day, since in six or eight days at the least, I did
not expect any result from the two Indians whom I had sent off. I
rested in this supposition as soon as it dawned and I gave thanks to
God for having brought me safely through that night, etc. I set about
reciting the divine service, which I never failed to recite in these
forests, nor was it ever absent from my mind, when suddenly I heard a
noise of people, and on turning my eyes, I saw some ten Indians of the
town of Mani and its suburbs, who came to get me. I did not take them
for men, but for angels, and as such they acted in my case in
everything. Scarcely had they come to where I was, when with great
affection they ran to embrace me, shedding plenty of tears, and at the
same time, saying a thousand tender words to me. I could not restrain
myself at this kindness, when I thought also of such an unexpected
blessing as God had shown me. On the other hand it caused me to feel
more kindly, when I saw that a people as impious as the Indians
naturally are, should be so merciful to me, as never have I seen such a
thing in them.

"They brought me a little meal that they eat, and in a moment they
warmed it so that I could drink it, they supporting me, one on one side
and one on the other, so that I might keep seated. They revived the
fire which was there, and warming up six cloaks very nicely, they
wrapped me up in them, and warmed my extremities, that is, my feet and
hands, since they were numb from weakness and cold air; I recovered by
means of that warmth and food which I drank, and in order to raise me,
they held aloft my whole body, stiff as if it was a sculptured statue.
They brought a hammock in which they took me to the town of Chuntucí,
from which I set out when I went among the said Ytzaes, and to which
the said Indians who carried me were loading up to go."

What had Happened to the Indians whom Avendaño Sent off. "Portentous
surely was the present event, if all the circumstances are considered.
The two Indians left my presence, whom I sent off against their will,
so as to save their lives, forcing them to leave me alone. Everything
happened through a higher direction,--first since the said Indians went
on falling and getting up again, from their want of strength, and in
spite of all this, they followed the path which led from where they
left me up to the town of Chuntucí, which they reached in an hour and a
half, for they only stopped long enough to take some refreshment with
the said carriers, and to tell them how I was left to die in the
forest. Scarcely had they heard this, when without any delay, they
started out to come and get me, and the distance which it took my two
Indians to go in an hour and a half, the said carriers had to take a
day and a half in finding me, without their losing their road, by which
the miracle can easily be understood. Secondly, that my Indians, coming
to Chuntucí, and meeting these carriers loading, was all one (i.e.,
simultaneous), so that if they had stopped even a little, they would
not have met them, and consequently would not have found supplies to
bring to me, and even less should I have been able to start out for a
settlement. Therefore the hurry which I showed in sending them away was
by divine direction. They took me in the said hammock, and though it
was a convenience on account of the rest that it gave, it was also some
affliction to me, since, although they wrapped me up very well in their
cloaks, every little while it gave me cramps in all my body, I being
stiff and cold from head to foot. At which they warmed the cloaks
again, and rubbing my hands and feet with them all warm, the muscles
again were stretched, although it lasted but a short time. At last I
reached the town of Chuntucí, on the Sunday of Septuagesima, which
was on the 19th of February, in this year of sixteen hundred and
ninety-six, about three o'clock in the afternoon,--a result surely very
different from what I thought,--that I should ever be in the said town
again, after the extremity to which I had come. All that afternoon I
stayed looking at this town, and I did not believe yet that I was
really there. Blessed be the mercy of God, who showed it thus in my
case. For his divine Majesty alone, of his own accord, could show such
compassion on this miserable sinner. Infinite thanks be given for so
great blessings as he gave me, and may his divine Majesty so will, that
it redound to his honor and glory through infinite centuries of
centuries. Amen. The Indian carriers continued in their pious work of
conveying me and of caring for my Indian singers, so that both in them
and in me, a great change of condition resulted from the fresh food,
which put us on the road to life."

Avendaño set out shortly afterwards for Merida.

The Messenger from Tayasal. When he and his companions reached Merida
they were told of the arrival of a messenger from Canek of Tayasal.
This messenger had reached Merida considerably before the time at which
the Padres left Tayasal. He had been received by the Governor and
society of Merida with great rejoicings because of the fact that he
announced that his errand was to proffer the allegiance of Canek and
all his subjects, some eighty thousand Indians in all.

Reasons for Avendaño's Distrust. Avendaño found it difficult to credit
this news for several reasons, the chief of which were:

First. The obvious fact that, at the time he (Avendaño) was last at
Tayasal, Canek was unable to force his subjects to adopt Christianity
on account of the hostility of Covoh and others.

Second. That, in spite of the intimacy that had existed between Canek
and Avendaño, the latter had never received the slightest hint of
Canek's intention of sending any such messenger.

Third. That Canek, had such a messenger really been sent while the
Padres were with him, would most certainly have detained them as
hostages until the safe return of the messenger.

Avendaño (p. 66 recto) closes his narrative thus:

"I omit, so as not to cause annoyance, many other effective reasons,
which I could give, but I leave it to the consideration of any one who
should reflect on this matter, better than I. As for me, who saw and
was in touch with it all, I am satisfied with what I have said. And, in
reference to the common opinion of all the Province, I say that the
large part of it is of the opinion that the said message was false...."

                               CHAPTER X

                      BY THE SPANIARDS, 1695-1696

The Expedition from Guatemala Reaches Cahabon. It will be remembered
that Fray Alonso Cano, the Augustine friar who had accompanied the
first, and unsuccessful, entrada from Guatemala, had returned to that
city in the autumn of 1695. He remained there until December of that
same year, when he set out once more for the north, reaching Cahabon in
January, 1696. There Cano and his companions awaited the arrival of
Doctor Don Bartholomé de Amezquita, who, in his capacity of Oidor and
Alcalde Ordinario of the Audiencia of Guatemala, was to lead the
expedition. Amezquita arrived early in February, and with him came
Captain Juan Diaz de Velasco. They found Cahabon in a bad condition on
account of the lack of preparations and because of the heavy rains.

Preliminary Movements and Plans. In order to appease the zeal of those
who were urging that the expedition proceed with all speed, it was
decided that Captain Diaz de Velasco should go ahead of the main body
of troops. He took with him seventy soldiers and thirty Indians; Cano
went with him. Guided by the Itza named Cuixam or Cuixan, Diaz de
Velasco set forth from Mopan (whither the force had moved) on March 7.
It was arranged that, from a place called Yxbol, near Tayasal, Cuixam
was to be sent on to ascertain Canek's attitude, and that the Captain,
Diaz de Velasco, and his men were to wait for him. On the tenth of
March, Amezquita and Cano left Mopan. They kept receiving letters and
messages from those ahead until they reached the Chacal River, where
all traces of their vanguard completely vanished.

The Fate of Diaz de Velasco; Amezquita Follows him. The reason for this
cessation of communication was briefly as follows: Captain Diaz de
Velasco sent Cuixam ahead, as had been planned, to Tayasal. Cuixam
reported that two Franciscans were on the island. The Captain would not
believe this. Still, he was so bold as to embark in a canoe rowed by
natives, who, as soon as the vessel was clear of the shore, began a
sharp struggle which resulted in the death of all the Spaniards in
the party. In due course Amezquita followed in the footsteps of the
ill-fated Captain. On arriving at the shores of the lake he learned the
fate that had befallen Diaz de Velasco. Seeing that there was nothing
he could do with so small a force as that which he had at his disposal,
Amezquita withdrew to Chacal, and later on, by the order of Don Gabriel
Sanchez de Berrospe, the new President of the Audiencia of Guatemala,
he withdrew to Guatemala City.

Conclusion of the Subjection of the Itzas Begun. After the series of
events which we have just studied came to an end there was, for a time,
a lull in the war. Our knowledge of the incidents which followed the
break is derived from Villagutierre y Sotomayor. (Lib. v, caps. 7, 8,
etc.) According to this authority, events occurred in the following

Parades is Ordered to March to Los Dolores. Ursua determined to bring
matters to a satisfactory conclusion by means of another expedition
into the Itza country. Accordingly he sent his orders to Alonso Garcia
de Paredes, who, with the soldiers of that unsuccessful expedition on
which Avendaño had gone, was still in Tzucthok. In substance Paredes
was ordered to go and place himself and his men under the orders of the
President of Guatemala or his successor. To this end he was to go south
from Tzucthok, and always "trying to incline his route a little toward
the left hand, or towards the east, was to place himself in sight of
the town of Lacandones, which the President had discovered and named
Nuestra Señora de los Dolores."[10.1] Paredes was to fortify himself
there about five leagues from the town of Lacandon, and he was to stay
there without molesting the surrounding settlements. From the time of
receiving these instructions to the time when he built his stockaded
redoubt he was to take especial care to inform himself concerning the
people round about, and especially those along the road which was being
built. On arriving in the neighborhood of Lacandon and after the
founding of the redoubt, Paredes was to go to the President so as to
hand over to him the various letters that he bore and so as to place
himself under his orders. Thereafter, if circumstances permitted, he
was to go as soon as possible to the Itzas, together with a suitable
number of Padres and soldiers. He; was ordered to subject and catechize
the natives.

Paredes appointed as officers Don Joseph de Estenoz, Pedro de Zuviaur,
Joseph Laynez, and Mateo Hidalgo, who had been picked out by Ursua for
their various posts. From this point on we have the account of Avendaño
to rely upon until after the Padre's withdrawal to Merida. An uprising
on the part of the Cacique Covoh, as we know, was the immediate cause
of the retirement. It did not have, however, a permanently discouraging

Canek's Ambassador, Can, Arrives at Merida. In the last third of
December, 1695, while Avendaño was still in the wilderness, an
ambassador named Can arrived at Merida from Canek.[10.2] He was
accompanied by three kinsmen of his, together with some Muzules
Indians. Ursua himself came out to meet him with a great following. The
parties met at the convent of the Mejorada; thence the embassy was
taken to the cathedral and to the palace. Can then said that his uncle,
Canek, asked for Padres so that Christianity might be introduced among
the Itzas. A suitable reply was given, and the ambassador was baptized.
(Villagutierre, lib. vi, caps. 3-5.) Can told Ursua that his uncle,
Canek, had four Kings under him who were his vassals. They were Citcan,
Ahamatan, Ahkin, and Ahitcan, as well as Ahatsi. Can was baptized
Martin Francisco Can and his brother Miguel Can. Finally, after many
ceremonies and solemn masses, Ursua sent them home with much good
feeling. An escort headed by Captain Francisco de Hariza or Ariza of
Bacalar set forth for the Itzas. Ursua sent word of all these
developments to Paredes, ordering him, as well as Hariza, to do all
that was necessary for the winning or conquering of Canek and his

Meanwhile the new President of Guatemala, Escals, was taking all
possible precautions for the furtherance of the design. His division of
the expedition, of which Fray Agustín Cano was a part, left Guatemala
in January, 1696. There is no need to tell again what happened, as Cano
has already told us all up to a certain point.

Zuviaur Goes to the Lake. The early weeks of 1696, then, were spent by
Avendaño and the men of Yucatan in Peten and in the wilderness between
it and Tipu, to which the Padres were enabled to flee by Canek, who
knew well the plots that were being hatched against them by Covoh and
by Canek's wife.

Shortly after Avendaño reached Merida and made his report, Ursua
dispatched Captain Don Pedro de Zuviaur with seventy men, enough
Indians, and Padre Juan San Buenaventura to the lake by way of the
route so lately followed by Avendaño. The Itzas received them armed for
war. Padre San Buenaventura, however, partly calmed them by smooth
words; fighting did not, however, entirely cease, and before long
Zuviaur returned to the royal camp. At about the same time an Indian
messenger arrived from Hariza, who was in the neighborhood of Tipu,
with the information that the Franciscans who were administering the
villages along the road were meeting with a fair measure of success,
and that the Itzas were the only remaining obstacle to the completion
of the undertaking. Hourly they became more threatening and more
dangerous. Several skirmishes took place between them and the men of
Paredes. Finally, forced by lack of supplies, Paredes withdrew with all
his men into the province.

Ursua Determines to Take Vigorous Measures. Clearly enough, in Ursua's
opinion, things were far from being in a satisfactory condition. He
made up his mind that a stop must be put to the menace of the Itzas at
all costs, and he determined to go in person upon this definitive
expedition. He made especially elaborate and adequate preparations,
doing things which should have been done long before. He assembled a
sufficient number of carpenters to build brigantines and _pyraguas_ on
the shore of the lake, and he got together ample stores. Nothing was
said of all this to the King of Castile, as it was notorious that he
would have frowned upon such military preparations.

Lawsuits between Soberanis and Ursua. At this time the old enmity
between Soberanis and Ursua reawakened. Soberanis was at the viceregal
court, where, during the reign of the Conde de Galve, he opposed
Ursua's interests and plans with some success. Galve was succeeded,
however, by Don Juan de Ortega Montañes, Bishop of Michoacan, who was
appointed Viceroy _ad interim_ of Mexico. Ortega, being a broad-minded
man, could see the good of the wishes of both sides, and he determined
that the whole matter should be laid before the Council of the Indies.
The result was a long lawsuit, during which it became clear that
Soberanis wished for more territory for his King, while Ursua wanted
more vassals. A series of lawsuits, stained by false charges, perjury,
and petty recriminations (mostly on the part of Soberanis and his
party), followed. It is a matter which is very involved and for us
unimportant, as it did not alter the current of events in the region of

Captain Parades at Tzucthok. While these lawsuits were dragging on,
Captain Alonso Garcia de Paredes arrived at the bank of the large river
(Nohukum?). After building a _pyragua_ he and twenty men embarked on it
and went up the river to its source, where they captured ten canoes.
Soon after they returned to Tzucthok on account of the rainy season.

Captain Hariza at Tipu. Meanwhile Can, with Captain Francisco de Hariza
and an escort of thirty soldiers, had returned to Tipu from Merida. At
the former place they learned how Paredes had sent soldiers to the lake
under Zuviaur, how some had been taken prisoners there and put to
death, and how the Gran Cayo and its islands were devastated because
the Indians had wished to kill their King Canek on account of his
friendly attitude toward the Spaniards. In the trial of one Pablo Gil
of Salamanca, who at this time was accused of conspiracy, it came out
that this revolution at Peten had occurred soon after the departure of
Can for Merida. The _zamaguales_ or common people were incensed with
Canek because he had sent his nephew to Yucatan. When Can returned to
Peten he found that his uncle was still in power but not entirely
secure. Can was unable to return to his own village eight leagues away
because it was subject to Cintanek, who was at war with Canek.

The Cacique Cintanek's Villages. The five villages of Cintanek were
Chaltuna, Sac peten, Maconche, Saca, and Coba. The nine villages
subject, at this time, to Canek were Oraptun, Zacpui, Chee, Chacha,
Sacfinil, Linil, Oboncox, Chulul, and Eckixil. (Cf. Villagutierre, p.
435.) The people in these villages were very numerous; they knew
nothing of the Kingdom of Guatemala beyond the fact that some five
leagues away was a place called Mopan.

Can's Report. The Indians, Can and others, related how fifteen Spanish
men came to the Indians of the Gran Cayo and asked for provisions,
which were brought to them. (These Spaniards were, no doubt, a party
sent out by Paredes just before he withdrew.) Even as they were eating,
musket shots were heard on the shore. At once those who were eating on
the island judged their companions were in danger and hastily armed
themselves. A fight quickly took place, and the Spaniards even attacked
the person of Canek himself. At length, however, the Spaniards fled.

The Commands of King Charles II. At last the letters and reports which,
at the insistence of Ortega Montañes, the Viceroy Bishop, had been sent
to the court of Spain earlier in the year, bore fruit, for the King
sent new dispatches ordering Don Martin thus: acknowledgment was made
of the good work done by Sargento Mayor, Don Martin de Ursua y
Arizmendi, as well as of that done by Captain Alonso Garcia de Paredes,
Captain Joseph Fernandez de Estenoz, and others. Don Roque de Soberanis
y Centeno was ordered to give all possible assistance to Ursua and to
refrain from hindering him in any way. The cedulas were signed at Buen
Retiro on May 29, 1696. These dispatches, together with a commendatory
letter from the Conde de Adanero, President of the Council of the
Indies, arrived in Yucatan late in 1696. Fortunately Ursua had already
made all his preparations for the next campaign. Don Martin sent copies
of the cedulas and letter to the newly arrived Viceroy of Mexico, the
Conde de Moctezuma, to the Audience of Guatemala, and to the
Reverendissimo Don Fray Antonio de Arriaga, Bishop of Yucatan.

Before setting out there was one more formality to go through. Ursua
therefore sent the orders of the King to Don Roque, asking him at the
same time for certain aid. (Villagutierre, lib. viii, cap. 2.)
Straightway Don Roque sent Don Juan Geronimo de Abad to Campeche to
inform Ursua that Soberanis would give him all necessary aid for the
fulfilment of the royal will. He also ordered Ursua to pick out those
persons whom he thought ought to be captains, and Don Roque promised to
confirm the appointments.

Soberanis and Ursua in Agreement at Last. Abad executed his errand and
Don Martin replied that only the very numerous infidel Indians of the
Laguna del Itza stood between him and the successful completion of the
road, which was already open on the north almost as far as the lake and
on the south as far as Cahabon. The intervening region contained the
Itzas, whom Ursua purposed to conquer. He had already chosen as
captains Alonso Garcia de Paredes, Joseph Fernandez de Estenoz, Pedro
de Zuviaur, and Roque Gutierrez. At the same time Don Martin informed
Abad that he had prepared all sorts of supplies and munitions, and he
begged Don Roque de Soberanis to furnish him with advice as to the
proper payment for various things. Don Roque approved of everything
that Don Martin proposed, and he ordered that Abad, together with a
scrivener and an interpreter, should see to the proper financial

The Part to be Taken by Indian Villages. Ursua then asked that the
mountain villages of Tecax and Oxcuscab should be made to supply
service Indians. These, if granted, were to be under the orders of the
captain of Tecax; but Soberanis pointed out that those villages had
already done their share, and so he ordered that the Caciques of
Zotuta, Yaxcava, Tixcacal, and Peto should furnish the needed labor.
The part each was to take was as follows:

      Zotuta    16 mules; 16 arrieros; 16 other Indians
      Yaxcava   12   "    12     "     12   "      "
      Tixcacal  12   "    12     "     12   "      "
      Peto      20   "    20     "     20   "      "

All these Indians were to be in charge of Don Juan del Castillo,
captain of Tecax. Indians from Mani were to carry the supplies.

On January 23, 1697, Don Martin de Ursua set forth from Campeche after
giving thanks for aid received. On arriving at Tzucthok they took the
same road as on previous occasions. They camped at length two leagues
from the lake, having passed through Batcab. On the way south they
learned that the cacique of Tzucthok and some of the Indians of that
village had retired to such places as Apelchen, Bolonchen, Chabuhic,
and Sacauchen. Some of the Chanes, however, remained faithful, for
which Ursua rewarded them with presents. At about this time also,
although Ursua probably did not know of it, Berrospe had ordered the
troops of Guatemala to withdraw definitely from Mopan and other places.

The Road Completed as Far as the Lake. At the end of February and in
early March the two leagues of road between the camp and the lake were
completed. _Pyraguas_ had already been built and were finished by the
time the army encamped on the lake shore. Seeing such a display of
power, the Indians tried to rival it, but when they saw the galley and
_pyraguas_ they retired to their island. There were sundry attempts to
make friends with the Indians, but they showed themselves utterly
undeserving of confidence. On March 10, 1697, Don Martin Can, he who
had gone to Merida as ambassador for his uncle Canek and who was godson
of Ursua, hearing of the latter's arrival, came to him joyfully. As a
result of this the murmurs to the effect that he was a myth entirely

Some squads of Indians approached the camp by land with arms. The
general soon saw it was but a pugnacious attempt to force the Spaniards
into a skirmish. At the same moment a large canoe beached on the shore
where the camp was. Can said that those in it were Chamaxculu and other
important Indians from Alain. They were received with all possible
cordiality, and some of the Indians were found to be those who had been
in Merida with Can. Chamaxculu was an old man of seventy years.

Quincanek Feigns Friendliness. Very soon after that Quincanek visited
the camp. He was cordially welcomed and in conversation he promised to
aid the opening of the road. Ursua discreetly decided it would be
superfluous to make any allusion at that time to the idolatry,
treachery, and other foibles of the Itzas. Everything seemed serene and
amicable. The chiefs promised to return for dinner later.

They remained where they were from March 10 to 12, 1697. During those
three days many Indian women came in canoes and unattended from Peten
to the camp. Whether their purpose was to get themselves violated and
thereby furnish an excuse to the lurking squads of Indians to attack
the Spaniards, or whether they were led by mere curiosity, is not
absolutely certain; but it is probable that the former was the case,
for when, through good discipline, Ursua managed to restrain his men,
the women made all sorts of obscene gestures to attract the soldiers,
but to no purpose.

The Hostilities Begin. Finally the day arrived on which, according to
his promise, Quincanek, was to bring Canek to dinner with Ursua. But
instead of a peaceful Canek and Quincanek coming to have dinner with
them, the Spaniards saw a huge fleet of canoes all decked out in
warlike array approaching them. This, however, did not greatly dismay
the Spaniards, as they knew that their own galley and _pyraguas_, which
were all in readiness, would give them an immense advantage.

The Captains Urge Ursua to Fight; the Battle. Ursua called a council of
war in which Paredes, Estenoz, Zuviaur, and all the other captains
urged him to use force and thereby to conquer the Itzas finally. Ursua
was still determined, however, to maintain peace as long as possible,
being mindful of the King's wish.

On the following day, March 13, 1697, Ursua determined to go to the
Peten Grande, which lay two leagues from his camp. Leaving a good
garrison in the camp, he took two hundred men and Don Martin Can in the
boats and sailed for Peten. Before long the Spaniards, who were under
the strictest orders not to fire, were surrounded by a large fleet of
canoes filled with Itzas, who shot arrows at the invaders. As one would
naturally expect, all attempts to reason with the outraged Itzas proved
futile. Finally one Bartolomé Duran, maddened by an arrow wound, fired
off his gun. This precipitated a hot skirmish in which everyone took
part. At the end of it the Spaniards got upon the shore, and by means
of the artillery at length put the Itzas to flight. The latter fled
away as fast as they could by swimming, and when in due time Ursua and
his men got to Peten Grande, they found nothing but old women and
little children there. All who could had fled into and across the lake
rather than face the vengeance of the Spaniards.

Tayasal Becomes a Spanish Possession. The battle was over by eight in
the morning. The standard of Jesus Christ was set up; the royal arms
were engraved over the door of what had been the principal temple; and
thanks were given to God for the victory. A church was founded and the
houses of the idols were cleaned out. Oddly enough the temple where
Canek and his idolatrous priests had once torn out human hearts was
chosen as the Christians' place of worship.

Thus ends the history of the long, brave but fruitless struggle of the
Itzas against the Spanish conquerors. After so many romantic interests
it is but natural that any account of subsequent events should be an
anti-climax. The later history of the Itza country can be dismissed in
a word.

Later History of Tayasal. Since the conquest, Tayasal has been a mere
Spanish provincial village with nothing to distinguish it from scores
of others. In the first half of the nineteenth century serious
insurrections took place in the region. At about the same period the
name Tayasal was taken away and Flores was substituted, in honor of one
Cyrilo Flores, a local patriot. It is a pity that the old, unusual, and
euphonious name was not kept. At present Flores (Pl. III) is the
capital of the Department of Peten, Guatemala.

                               APPENDIX I

                      THE QUESTION OF ORTHOGRAPHY

Possibly the reader has noted in these pages a tendency toward
inconsistency in the matter of spelling proper names. I do not deny
that I have failed to avoid such inconsistency, but at the outset,
after due thought on the matter, I decided that it is most difficult to
try and lay down any hard and fast rule for the spelling of the proper
names used in this book. In many cases it is utterly impossible to say
"This is the correct spelling of this name." To show just the nature of
the sort of orthographical variations encountered in this work I give
here most of the variants of the name Itza.

      Itza        usual modern form
      Itzae       Maler, 1910, p. 168
      Itzaob      Brasseur de Bourbourg, 1858, vol. ii, p. 13
      Itzaex      Villagutierre
      Ytza        Cogolludo and Avendaño
      Ytzaex      Cogolludo and Avendaño
      Ytzalana    Cogolludo and Avendaño
      Yiza        On some church bells at Los Dolores (Morley)
      Ahiza       Cano
      Ahizaes     Cano
      Taiza       Cortes, Lizana, 1893, p. 120
      Taitza      Brinton, 1882, p. 25
      Tayca       Gomara, 1826, vol. ii, p. 138 ff.
      Ahitzaes    Jose Sanches de Leon, p. 146
      Ayasal      Garcia de Palacio (Gates-Bowditch photographed MS.)
      Ayajal      Garcia de Palacio, 1860 (Squier), p. 96
      Yzues       Ottens Atlas, 1740; Sanson d'Abbeville, 1656
      Tavasal     M. Bonne M. de Mathem, 1771
      Tayasal     Maler; Bellin, 1764; Charnay, etc.
      Iguastal    Abbé Mongez, 1779
      Laguastal   Popples' map, about 1740

Many of the other proper names have variations just as confusing as

                              APPENDIX II

                          THE DIALECT OF PETEN

This Appendix it a translation of a MS. written by Dr. Berendt at
Sacluk in 1866-1867. The original is in Spanish, but for the sake of
consistency I have translated it. In some cases Dr. Berendt's clear and
beautiful script has become blurred either through exposure to dampness
or from some other cause. In such a case I have hazarded a guess if it
seemed safe to do so, otherwise I have left a blank.[A2.1]

The MS. is in the Brinton Collection in the Library of the University
Museum, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and I wish to
acknowledge the kindness of Dr. G. B. Gordon in giving me permission to
publish it here.

The dialect of Peten is spoken in the PARTIDO DE LAS SABANAS at

Villages:   Guadalupe Saduk, Tziché, Chilonché
            S. Juan de Dios, Oxpayac, Simaron,
            Chachachurun, Santa Ana, Juntecholol.

      It is spoken in the PARTIDO DE DOLORES at

            Dolores, Machaquita, Petenzuc, Poctun,
            San Toribio, Yaxché (= Yaxha?), San Luis.

      And in the PARTIDO DEL CENTRO at

            San José. In the other villages of the Partido del
            Centro, and in that of San Antonio, the Yucatec dialect
            is spoken. In the Partido de la montaña or of
            Holmul is spoken the dialect of the East.

PETEN                                                 YUCATAN

  juyu, a small basin for pounding corn. [Yucatan: huyub]
  majaz, fiber....?
  xemech, an earthenware pan for cooking maize. [Yucatan: xamach]
  ma yaan, there is none. [Yucatan: minan]
  uneec, a seed.  [Yucatan: hinah]
  chulul, the bow for shooting and the material of which it is made.
  h[vo][vo]k, a large fish-hook.
     coxti h[vo][vo]k, we are going to fish (?)
  litz, a small fish-hook. [Yucatan: lutz, fish-hook]
     cox ti man litz, we are going to buy a fish-hook
  lutz, lazy (said of an animal)
  holé, yesterday. [Yucatan: holhe]
  meyah, to work. [Yucatan: manyah]
  ten in [Ts]ah hunpel tomin ti a Juan, I give John a real. [Yucatan:
        ten in [Ts]aic hunpel tomin ti Juan]
  ten cin hanal, I eat. [Yucatan: hanal in cah]
  chumac, wild-cat. [Yucatan: chamac]
  [Ts]üt, a long sack of palm leaves or of broom-plant fiber. [Yucatan:
  [Ts]it, very small tamales.
  yaax apat, royal palm.
  ichcil or ichnil, to bathe.
  in th[va], my forehead. [Yucatan: in lec]
  pichi, guava (?). [Yucatan: pachi]
  chuh, calabash of water (this line is crossed out in the text)
  nah, house; holnah, door; bah, mole (?). [Yucatan: na-holna-ba]
  pah, chicken louse; leh, snare. [Yucatan: pa- te-]
  tuh, stinking, obscene. [Yucatan: tu]
  uh, the moon. [Yucatan: u]
  coh, a tooth. [Yucatan: co]
  cih, henequen. [Yucatan: qi]
  beh, a road, a path. [Yucatan: be]
  ya in tzem, I am in doubt (?). [Yucatan: ya in tzem]
  tacté, a pine tree. [Yucatan: tahte]
  (Several illegible words occur here)
  nak xaan ....
  [Ts]u or chichan [Ts]u, small unweaned child. [Yucatan: chuchul paal]
  in nochil, my child (used by the Lacandones)
  tanché, a beam. [Yucatan: tanche]
  puluoc, a small dove.
  (xamoch) pok, a wall. [Yucatan: pak]
  ahmenché, a carpenter. [Yucatan: ahmentahche]
  taman, a sheep, they also say tomo. [Yucatan: tanam]
  top, any flower. [Yucatan: nicte, lol]
  taz la top e, he is bringing a flower. [Yucatan: talez nicte]
  cox ti meyaj, we are going to work. [Yucatan: cox ti menyah]
  bax le lo? or bax la je lo? who is that?
  max cutal? who is coming?
  xen a thone a Juan, go and call John.
  u tat ix Maria, the father of Mary.
  baai, a bag made of netting; also called champa.
  yampaj, (illegible).
  ma t'in patal, I cannot.
  ma in uojel, I do not know.
  uai, arm (almost illegible).
  bax u caa or bax u cuci, why or because.
  bax tal? why?
  cox ti pakach or cox ti pekech, we are going to make tortillas
  tux yankin? where is the sun? [Yucatan: tabx yax kin]
  tux ca bin? where are you going? [Yucatan: tab a benel (t)]
  jamach a katic? how much do you want? what do you ask?
  jamach nah yan tech? how many tortillas have you?
  jamach uinic tan ilah ti be? how many men have you seen on the road?
        [Yucatan: bahun uinicol t an ilab ti be?]
  (One illegible phrase here)
  bix le lo? how is that?
  bix yanil ech? how are you? [Yucatan: bicx a cah?]
  bax a kati? what do you want?
  bax akaba? what is your name?
  max u thinic en? who is calling me?
  max [ts]in [Ts]ic tü? to whom am I to give it?
  mayan ja, there is no water. [Yucatan: manaan ja, minan ja]
  xturuhui, yellow (or jaundice; text says _amarillo_).
  nicté, white.
  chacnicté, red.
  qu[vi]j, henequen. [Yucatan: yaxci]
  kaim, milk. [Yucatan: kabim]
  y[va], a small sapote (?). [Yucatan: zaya]
  ten cin bin ich cah, I am going into the village.
  kayem, gruel made of corn flour. [Yucatan: keyem]
  iz [ts]it, a small tamale made with new corn.
  culen, sit down (imperative). [Yucatan: culen, sit down!
        cultal, to sit down]
  liken, get up (imperative). [Yucatan: likil, to get up]
  (Several illegible words follow)
  thuth, I weep (perhaps it means dark brown--_loro_)
  (Several more illegible words)
  sac, fear. [Yucatan: zahaal, fear]
  sac en, I am afraid, I fear. [Yucatan: zahal, to fear]
  saccep, timorous. [Yucatan: ahzahet, timorous]
  mac, people. [Yucatan: uinic]
  bizit, that part of an animal... (illegible) ... which is composed of
        the lower part of the spine.
  c[vo][vo]b, (meaning illegible). [Yucatan: coc]
  paklam, prickly pear (?) (Text has _stapal y tuna_). [Yucatan: pakam]
  kuchune, the whorl (_jicarita_) which they use for spinning.
  cucut, a mountain fruit ... (illegible) ... like a small plaintain.
  kat or kot, flat earthen bowl set before an idol. [Yucatan: cat]
  (An illegible word)
  chim, a knapsack (_mochila_).
  zuzich, to cut off the grains from a cooked ear of corn; and also the
        grains thus cut off. [Yucatan: zuz, to plane]
  chaac, let it go! (_sueltalo_).
  chaac la tzimine, set the horse free! (_suelta el caballo_).
  bot, hail. [Yucatan: bat]
  punab, mahogany (_caobana_).
  hach nohoch punab, how big the mahogany tree is!
  chulul, the bow for shooting.
  tzaan, the cord of the bow.
  teztan, the bow used in the reverse (with the cord on the convex
        side) (?).
  cec che, an arrow with a tooth or jog.
  pocté, an arrow with a point of clay.
  yaxapat, the royal palm (from the Lacandones?)
  thahaan, the muscular part of the thumb.
  [Ts]unum, a bird.
  [Ts]ununté, laurel, a mountain bush.
  hubuché, a mountain bush; the leaves ... (illegible).
  tanai, a species of cane or bamboo ... very large.
  tu[ts], (meaning illegible)
  j[=o][vo]le, yesterday. [Yucatan: holhe]
  zamal, tomorrow.
  cui, (meaning illegible).
  chepetz, bread of new maize.
  uokekuch, a stick used in weaving.
  (Several illegible and obscurely translated words)

  Phrases. (Only those with meanings given in the text appear here)

  Bax a kati?                   What do you want?
        mix baal in kati          I want nothing
  Bax yan tech?                 What have you? What is the matter?
        Yab ten ya ti paczikal    I have a stomach-ache
  Bax cu tazic ah Pedro?        What is Peter bringing?
        Talez ha                  He is bringing water
  Bax caualic?                  What are you saying?

  In some cases two forms for the same thing appear, as:

  yaax apat and yaxapat         royal palm
  cih and qu[vi]                henequen
  holé and j[=o][vo]le          yesterday
  beh and be                    road

                              APPENDIX III

                     THE MAPS OF YUCATAN, 1501-1800

While I was at work on the main body of this book my attention was
drawn to the question of cartography by Dr. Edward Luther Stevenson of
New York. I decided that it would be worth while to try and compile a
list of all the early maps of Yucatan. It would be folly for me to
claim that the list I give here is complete; it is, however, at least
as complete as any such list now existing. No attempt has been made to
list all the modern maps of the area; neither has there been any
attempt to include maps of limited portions of the peninsula. A
selection from the immense amount of material given by Pedro Torres
Lanzas has, however, been made, and the notes made by Dr. Tozzer in
Seville are appended.


1502 ?      PORTUGUESE.
        Valentini (1898, 1902) refers to this map as being dated either
      in 1493 or 1502. There is little doubt that this map is misdated
      for the following reasons:

        1. The information contained in the map is so full that it
      cannot have been earlier than 1520.

        2. The nomenclature is mainly "sailor names" and therefore

        3. The alleged Yucatan runs from its nearest point to Cuba
      northwardly, not southwardly. It is my belief that the peninsula
      in question is meant for Florida, and that it is too far west.

        4. The whole style of the map is comparable to that of the
      following well-known ones: Turin-Spanish, 1523-25;
      Wolfenbüttel-Spanish, 1525-30; Maggiolo, 1527; Verrazano, 1529;
      Weimar-Spanish, 1527. It is for more full and accurate than
      Maggiolo, 1519. Therefore it cannot date from before 1520, and
      probably not from before 1525.

ca. 1501-02 RICHARD KING PORTOLAN (Hamy Coll.).
        Has Cuba and other West Indies, also eastern portions of South
      America, neither Mexico nor Yucatan.

1502-04 CANTINO (Stevenson, 1903).
        Has Cuba, etc. No Mexico and Yucatan.

        America first so called. Its presence is indicated, but its
      shape is not defined. Florida, Cuba, and Brazil appear; Mexico
      and Yucatan do not.

1508  PTOLEMY, ED. RUYSCH, ROME (Nord. XXXII).[A3.1]
        America shown as a vague archipelago in the Pacific. It is not

        America indicated but not named.

        America shown by name and called "Nova reperta."

        No Yucatan.

        See 1507.

        Has no Yucatan.

        See 1527.

1520  PETRUS APIANUS (Nord.).
        Has no Yucatan.

1523-25 TURIN-SPANISH (E. L. S.).[A3.2]
        The general outline of Yucatan is recognizable. There is a gap
      on the south of Yucatan where the isthmus should be. All the
      names save Cozumel are wrong.

1527 MAGGIOLO (E. L. S.).
        The shape of Yucatan is all wrong, and Yucatan is shown as a
      rather small island far from the mainland. No names.

1527  WEIMAR-SPANISH (E. L. S.).
        Yucatan a peninsula. Isthmus is roughly drawn and too narrow,
      "gotoche" (Catoche), "y. demuJeres" (Isla de Mujeres), and
      "cocumel" (Cozumel), etc. At the isthmus is a name which possibly
      may be Ytza; it is very indistinct.

        Has no Yucatan.

1529  RIBERO (E. L. S.).
        Has Yucatan as a large island near to the mainland, with
      Hihueras (Higueras = Honduras) correctly located.

1529  VERRAZANO (E. L. S.).
        Has the general outlines of Yucatan approximately correct, but
      there is a large gap at the southern part.

        Yucatan a large island very close to the mainland. Cf. Ribero,

        Shows Yucatan as an island.

        Yucatan is shown as a peninsula. Merida does not appear.
      Campeche is written "Campeci," and Mexico "Mesico." It seems to
      be a map of the same period as the Weimar-Spanish, 1527.

        Yucatan (called Iucatanus) shown as an island.

        Cuba and America confused. Yucatan not named, but indicated as
      a part of Cuba, which lies where Mexico should. There is a break
      in the isthmus.

         Has Yucatan as an island far from mainland with a dense
      archipelago instead of an isthmus.

        Yucatan an island with dense archipelago in lieu of isthmus.

        Yucatan a peninsula.

        Yucatan named and an island.

        Has Yucatan a round island a good way from mainland on three
      different maps.

1540  PTOLEMY, BASEL (Nord.).
        Yucatan shown as an island.

        Shows Yucatan as a peninsula, but makes east coast run nearly
      east and west.

1543  CASPAR VOPEL (Nord.).
        Yucatan shown as an island.

1548  PTOLEMY, VENICE (Nord.).
        Yucatan shown as an island, not named.

        Has Yucatan as a peninsula.

        Has Yucatan a peninsula, but has no names save Cozumel and

        Yucatan is a peninsula, but much too small.

1560  FERRANDO BERTELI (Müller Coll.).
        Yucatan (called Luc[=a]tan) is an island close to the mainland.

1562  MARTINES, JOAN, MAP OF THE WORLD (in Stevenson, 1911).
        Yucatan is shown as a peninsula. The isthmus is too narrow.

1566? LANDA (see Plate IV).
        This map, notwithstanding its inaccuracies, is interesting and
      valuable. It appears in the original MS. of Bishop Landa's famous
      work. The remarks as to distances, in the southwest corner, are,
      of course, entirely erroneous. Also it should be noted that
      Cozumel (i.e., Cuzmil) and Las Mujeres are placed on the wrong
      side of the peninsula. One of the most interesting points about
      the map is that it gives Mani as "The city of the King." This is
      undoubtedly a reference to the Tutul Xius whom we have mentioned
      in the body of this book.

1566? LANDA (see Plate V).
        This smaller map is much like the foregoing one. But it fails
      to include such place names as Ychpa, Chicheniza, Mani, and so
      on. At the same time a slight improvement is to be noted in the
      location of Cozumel, though one is at a loss to account for the
      placing of Cape Catoch.[A3.3]

        Shows Yucatan as a peninsula; calls Merida Atalaria, Cozumel
      Acasumal, etc.

        Has Yucatan as a peninsula.


          LANZAS, i, 33.
        This map accompanies the _Relaciones de la Provincia de
      Yucatan_. Published by the Real Academia de Historia in 1898.


1587  MERCATOR (Nord.).
        Yucatan a peninsula named either Atalanta or Atalania (print

        Yucatan not named. There is a projecting territory which,
      because of a large bay running in from the north, looks not
      unlike a U. Possibly the bay is the Laguna de Terminos shown too

1603  GULIELMUS NICOLAI BELGA, GLOBE, Lyons (Müller Coll.).
        Yucatan an island far from the mainland. Cozumel much too large
      and close to western end of Cuba.

1605  WILLEM JANSZOON BLAEU, WORLD MAP (original in Hispanic Museum,
          New York City).
        Yucatan shown as a peninsula. Tabasco appears in the middle of
      the isthmus.

        Hispania Nova. Yucatan a peninsula, but not named.

        General shape of Yucatan approximately correct. Tabasco is
      shown in the middle of the isthmus. Atalana in northeast corner
      of Yucatan.

        Yucatan a peninsula.


1631  JOHN SPEED (London ?).
        Yucatan shown as a peninsula.

        Yucatan shown as a peninsula.

1638  Another edition of MERCATOR.

        Shows Merida and Valladolid with the YZUES between them, and
      with the COCOMES between Valladolid and L. Bacalar. Southern
      portions of Yucatan very poorly shown.

        A very good map for the time. It shows accurately what were
      then thought to be the facts. Merida, Conil, Chuaca, Valladolid,
      Campeche, Bacalar, and Chetumal all nearly correctly placed. Just
      south of Merida are the YZAES and just south of them the COCOMES.
      The isthmus is too elongated and runs too much east and west. The
      Zoques given.

        A shameless "steal" from the preceding. (Montanus may, however,
      make acknowledgment in his text.) Practically identical with
      Blaauw, 1667.

        Has Merida, Valladolid, Campeachy, and Vera Pax. Abo Guatimala.

        Has Merida, Valladolid, Campeche, Chetumal, Salamanca, Vera
      Pax, etc.

ca. 1697 AVENDAÑO'S MAP. (See Plates Ia and Ib.)
        Shows Lake Peten.

        Has coasts only. Fairly correct.

1714 or just before POPPLE, LONDON.
        Has Merida and LAKE PETEN rightly placed.

        Very poor. Gives few names. Southern portion of Yucatan much
      too narrow. No lake.

          1721. TORRES LANZAS, i. 88.
        Coast with Merida in south, Cacalchen Tilam in east. Sisal in
      west; shows possible defense of the roads. Drawn with care as to
      the details; colored; trees near coast.

        Has "Jucatan" and Campeche, but not much else.

        Copied exactly from Blaauw, 1667, and Montanus, 1671. The
      Choles appear in addition to the Zoques (who are on the other two
      maps). Latitude and longitude have also been added.[A3.4]

        (See Plate II.)

        Map of Yucatan by Popple, in colors. Has, among other places,
      Sisal, Quyo, Merida, Valladolid, Lago de Bacalal, Thub,
      Salamanca, Chuckabul, PETEN LAKE, with LAGU-ASTAL on the southern
      bank, Verapax, etc. Lake too far east. Cf. Popple, 1714.

        Has the Yzues between Merida and Valladolid, and the Cocomes
      south of them. Cf. 1656, 1667, 1671.

1746  HAZIUS AND LOWITZ, ATLAS (Harvard College Library).
        Has a very good map of Yucatan which shows in full the results
      to geography of the conquest of the Itza-Peten-Quehache region in
      1697. The map shows, among other places, the following: Merida,
      Linchanchi, Sisal, Cujo, Bocas de Conil, Valladolid, Bacalar,
      LOS DOLORES are located northwest of the lake.

         ... AÑO 1746. TORRES LANZAS, i, 114.
        Shows all the towns on the road from Merida to Bacalar.

          TORRES LANZAS, i. 115.
        Little detail.

          PETEN ITZA.... TORRES LANZAS, i, 143.
        Drawn with great detail, especially as regards coast line and
      islands. Northern portion of coast of Guatemala west to Peten,
      north to Bacalar. This is the road treated of by Villagutierre,
      Cogolludo, and Avendaño.

        The northern portions of Yucatan need no comment. In the south
      we find: Quehaches, Chenes, Batcab, Nohukum R., Tipu, Coboxes,
      Lac de Puc, Chaltuna, Alain, ITZA, Mopanes, Choles, etc. The lake
      is too far east.

        Gives Merida, Valladolid, Campeche, Sacahuchen (= Sahcabchen?),
      Tikax, Bacalar, Tzuthok, Salamanca, Sumasinta, TAVASAL, etc.

1773  ATLAS PORTATIF, BELLIN, AMSTERDAM (Harvard College Library).
        Much like Bellin, 1764.

1779  ABBÉ MONGEZ, ATLAS, PARIS (vol. ii).
        Map of Yucatan has Merida, Valladolid (wrongly placed),
      Salamanca de Bacalar (wrongly placed), Quehaches, L. DE PUC with
      IGUASTAL in it.

        Much like Bellin, 1764.

        Lake is too far east and is not named.

        A large and valuable map which contains many names, routes,
      lakes, rivers, etc. The distances and outlines of the land masses
      are inaccurate. There is a list of the Curatos and Visitas of

        A clear and useful map with a few minor mistakes.

        A reliable and invaluable modern map with many place names,
      routes, etc.

          ... C. HERMANN BERENDT.
        The best and largest and fullest map of Yucatan.

        The best map of Guatemala. It has proved very valuable.

        Also a very trustworthy map.

From the foregoing list of maps the following interesting points are to
be gleaned:

1. Yucatan does not appear on any map prior to 1523-1525. From the time
of its first discovery Yucatan was believed to be an island. Maps vary
greatly as to what sort of an island it was.

2. In 1527 the Weimar-Spanish map shows Yucatan for the first time as a
peninsula. Probably the maker of this map derived his information from
someone who had been with Cortes in 1524-1525. The name Ytza appears on
the isthmus; it is so faint as to be almost illegible, but I think I
have deciphered it correctly.

3. From 1529 (Ribero) to 1548 (Venice "Ptolemy") geographical knowledge
of Yucatan falls off badly. With only two exceptions (Mercator, 1536,
and Santa Cruz, 1542) the maps of this period show Yucatan as an island
more or less remote from the mainland. I think that the comparative
accuracy of Alonso de Santa Cruz is accounted for by the fact that he
was official cartographer to the crown of Castile and that he had
official information of Montejo's explorations, 1526-1541.

4. From 1551 onward Yucatan is usually shown as a peninsula; but even
so late as this there are exceptions such as Ferrando Berteli, 1560,
and Gulielmus Nicolai, 1603, whose inaccuracies are many.

5. In Sanson d'Abbeville, 1656, the Itzas appear again, this time under
the name of Yzues. They and the Cocomes are misplaced, being too far
north. It is barely possible that the entradas of Fuensalida and Orbita
and Delgado, 1618-1624, may have had some influence on this map.

6. In Blaauw, 1667, we have the first step toward a really accurate map
of Yucatan. This map bears many place names, among them the Yzaes and
the Cocomes.

7. About 1714 Henry Popple, the great London map maker, made an
excellent map of the region. On it Lake Peten is rightly located. There
can be but little doubt that Popple derived his information from the
English in British Honduras. Through them he probably learned of the
conquest of the Itzas. It is not impossible, of course, that he was
also acquainted with the writings of Cogolludo and Villagutierre, but
that does not seem very likely. From that time onward the Itzas have
appeared regularly on the maps of that region.

                              APPENDIX IV

                        GEOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

                             (See Plate VI)

                   First Trip June to September, 1695

June 3, 1695   Left MERIDA.

                 BOLONCHENTICUL, CAVICH.

                 This name has several variations. It may be that each
               one means a slightly different locality; but in one form
               or another it is found on Bianconi-Mexico, Costello,
               Malte-Brun, Lopez, and Charnay's maps.
               HOBONMO, HOBON-OX.
                 Two towns, respectively two and three leagues from
                 Two leagues from Hobon-ox.
                 One league from Chunzalam.
                 Three-fourths of a league from Vecanxan.

June 12-13     SUCTE, SAN SALVADOR DE.
                 Six to eight leagues from Cauich. On Lopez' map.
               NOKHU OR NOHCU.
                 Four very long leagues from Sucte. On Lopez' map.

                 Four (?) leagues from Nohku. On Malte-Brun, Lopez,
               Costello, Charnay, and Avendaño's maps.
               OPPOL OR TOPOL.
                 Four leagues from Nohbecan. On Lopez, Aven, and
               Bianconi-Mexico maps.

                 On Costello, Malte-Brun, Lopez, Bellin, Brion de la
               Tour, and Bianconi-Mexico maps.
                 Possibly at or near the Paybono or Botab of Lopez.

Sept. 5        HOPPELCHEN.

Sept. 16       MERIDA.

          Second Trip Mid-December to Mid-February, 1695-1696

Sept 16-Dec 10 MERIDA.

Dec 13         MERIDA.
                 Leave Merida as result of Hariza's information.
                 Is on Lopez' map as Botab (?); is on Costello, Bailly,
               Malte-Brun, and Bellin's maps.

                 Is on Bianconi-Mexico, Costello, Lopez, and
               Malte-Brun's maps.
               CHINCHINUCUM = S. MARTIN.
                 San Martin is on Lopez and Malte-Brun's maps.
               COHUCUM = SANTA RITA.
                 Santa Rita is on Lopez and Malte-Brun's maps.
               TanXulucMul = SAN MIGUEL.
                 San Miguel on Lopez and Malte-Brun's maps.

Jan. 13        CHAKAN ITZA.
               PETEN ITZA.
                 Found on Bianconi-Mexico, Bianconi-Guatemala,
               Costello, Bailly, Lopez, Malte-Brun, Bellin, Brion de la
               Tour, Hendges, Charnay, Army Maps, etc.
                 Possibly the Chichanja of Lopez, Malte-Brun, and
               Bianconi-Mexico maps. It is, however, too far from

Feb. 17        CHUNTUCÍ.
               TANCHE OR NOHTANCHE.
                 Four leagues from Oppol. On Lopez, Avendaño, and
               Bianconi-Mexico maps.
               YOHCHALEK RIVER.
                 Two leagues from Tanche.
                 Three leagues from Yohchalek. Is on Lopez as very near
               San Antonio. San Antonio is on Bianconi-Mexico and
               Malte=Brun's maps.
                 Three leagues from Temchay. There is a logical space
               for it between the San Antonio and the Concepción of
               Bianconi-Mexico. It is probably the same, or nearly so,
               as the Ecouna of Lopez and the Exrana of Malte-Brun.
                 Two leagues from Nohpek.
                 Concepcion is on Malte-Brun and Lopez' maps.
               BUETE OR CHUMERU (?).
                 Four and one-half leagues from Bacechac. Chumeru on
               Lopez' map.


ACOSTA, Padre Joseph de
1792 Historia natural y moral de las Indias. Madrid. 2 vols.

ANCONA, Eligio
1878 Historia de Yucatan. Merida. 4 vols.

Relation of Two Trips to Peten. MS. translated into English by Charles
P. Bowditch and Señor Rivera. (See Chaps. VIII-X.)

1878 On the Distribution and Tenure of Lands ... among the Ancient
Mexicans, 11th Annual Report of the Peabody Museum, Cambridge, Mass.

BERENDT, C. Hermann
Itza Dialect. MS. in the Brinton Collection of the University of
Pennsylvania. (See Appendix I.)

1908-16 The True History of the Conquest of New Spain. Translated by A.
P. Maudslay. _Hakluyt Society_. London. 5 vols.

BOWDITCH, Charles P.
1901 Memoranda on the Maya Calendars used in the Books of Chilan Balam.
_Am. Anth._ (n. 8.), vol. iii, pp. 129-138.

1910 The Numeration, Calendar Systems and Astronomical Knowledge of the
Mayas. Cambridge, Mass.

1858 Histoire des nations civilizées du Mexique et de l'Amérique
centrale durant les siècles antérieurs à Christophe Colomb. Paris. 4

1864 Relation des choses de Yucatan de Fray Diego de Landa. Paris.

BRINTON, Daniel Garrison
1882 The Maya Chronicles. Library of American Aboriginal Literature,
vol. i. Philadelphia.

1885 The Annals of the Cakchiquels. Philadelphia.

1885b Did Cortes Visit Palenque? _Science_, vol. v, p. 248.

CANO, Fray Alonso
Manche and Peten. MS. translated into English by Charles P. Bowditch,
Esq. and Señor Rivera. (See Chap. VII.)

1883 Historia antigua de Yucatan. Merida.

1895 El comercio en Yucatan antés del descubrimiento. 11_th Sess.
Inter. Cong. of Americanists_, pp. 203-208. Mexico.

Madrid, 1877.

1914 Chronica de la Nueva España. Hispanic Society of America. New York
and Madrid.

1887 The Ancient Cities of the New World. Translated by J. Gonino and
Helen S. Conant. New York.

1688 Historia de Yucathan. Madrid.

CORTES, Fernando
1908 Five Letters of Relation from Fernando Cortes to the Emperor
Charles V. Translated and edited by Francis Augustus MacNutt. New York.
2 vols.

1892 Alonso de Santa Cruz, A Spanish Geographer. Stockholm.

1915 Études sur les civilizations americaines. Paris. 2 vols.

FANCOURT, Charles St. John
1854 The History of Yucatan from its Discovery to the Close of the
Seventeenth Century. London.

1882 Historia de Guatemala (1695). Madrid.

1860 Letter to Philip II (1576). Translated by E. G. Squier. New York.

GÓMARA, Francisco Lopez de
1826 Historia General de las Indias. Mexico. 2 vols.

1897 The Archaic Maya Inscriptions. London. Biologia Central-Americana.

GORDON, George Byron
1899 The Ruined City of Copan. _Bull. Am. Geog. Soc._, vol. xxxi, p. 39
ff. New York.

1897 Galerie américaine du Musée d'ethnographie au Trocadero. Paris.

1601-15 Historia general de Indias. Madrid. 5 vols.

1916 The Oldest Dated American Monument. _Art and Archaeology_, pp.
275-278, May.

JOYCE, Thomas A.
1914 Mexican Archaeology. 2d ed. London and New York.

LA CONDAMINE, Charles-Marie de
1748 Quelques anciens monuments du Pérou du temps des Incas. Berlin,
Académie des Sciences.

LANDA, Diego de

1893 Monografias Historico-Americanas. Lima.

LIZANA, Bernardo de
1633 Historia de Yucatan. Valladolid, 1633. (Reprint by Museo Nacional,
1893, Mexico.)

See GOMARA, Francisco Lopez de.

LOPEZ, Tomás
1801 Mapa ... de Yucatan. Madrid.

MALER, Teobert
1908 Exploration in the Department of Peten, Guatemala.... _Peabody
Museum Memoirs_. vol. iv, no. 2.

1910 Explorations in the Department of Peten, Guatemala.... _Peabody
Museum Memoirs_, vol. iv, no. 3.

See TOZZER, 1912.

MARROQUÍN, Bishop of Guatemala
1865 Letter to the Curas of the Province of Soconusco. _Documentos
Ineditos_, vol. iv, p. 130 ff.

1906 Historiadores de Yucatan. Campeche.

1912 De Orbe Novo. Translated and edited by Francis Augustus MacNutt.
New York. 2 vols.

MAUDSLAY, Alfred Percival
1889-1902 Biologia Centrali-Americana. Archaeology. 4 vols. London.

MEANS, Philip Ainsworth.
1917 Rise of the Inca Empire, 19_th Sess. Inter. Cong. of
Americanists_, pp. 236-252. Washington.

MERRIMAN, Roger Bigelow
1912 Annals of Charles V. By Francisco Lopez de Gomara. Oxford.

1897 Historia del descubrimiento y conquista de Yucatan. Merida.

1906 Los Anales del Peru. Edited by Victor M. Maurtua. Madrid. 2 vols.

MORLEY, Sylvanus Griswold
1910 Correlation of Maya and Christian Chronology. _Am. Jour. Arch.,
Sec. Ser._, vol. xiv, pp. 193-204.

1915 Introduction to the Study of Maya Hieroglyphics. _Bulletin_ 57,
_Bureau of American Ethnology_. Washington.

1680 Historia antigua y de la conquistada de Mexico.

OVIEDO Y VALDES, Gonzalo Fernandez de
1851 Edition for the Academia Real by D. Jose Amador de los Rios.

PERIGNY, Comte Maurice de
1908 Yucatan inconnu. _Jour. Soc. des Americanistes de Paris_, vol. v.

PI Y MARGALL, Francisco
1892 América en la época del descubrimiento. Ateneo de Madrid. Madrid.

REMESAL, Antonio de
1620 Historia general ... de Chiapa y Guatemala. Madrid.

Apuntamientos de la historia de Guatemala. No date. Pamphlet in
University of Pennsylvania Library.

1891 Ein Besuch bei den östlichen Lacandonen. _Das Ausland_, no. 45.

1891b Die Verapaz und ihre Bewohner. _Das Ausland_, nos. 51-52.

1904 Independent Indian States of Yucatan. Bulletin 28, _Bureau of
American Ethnology_. Washington.

1895 Indian Settlements in Central America. _Smithsonian Report._

SELER, Eduard
1889 Die Chronologie der Cakchiquel-Annalen. _Zeit. für Ethnol._, vol.
xxi, Verhand, pp. 475-476.

1908 Die Ruinen von Chichen-Itza. _Rept. 16th Sess. Inter. Cong. of
Americanists, Vienna_.

1647 Política Indiana. Madrid.

SPINDEN, Herbert J.
1913 A Study of Maya Art. _Peabody Museum Memoirs_, vol. vi. Cambridge,

SQUIER, E. George
1860 A Letter from Garcia de Palacio to Philip II. New York.

1877 Incidents of Travel and Exploration in the Land of the Incas. New

1841 Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan. New
York. 2 vols.

1843 Incidents of Travel in Yucatan. New York. 2 vols.

STEVENSON, Edward Luther
1903 Early Maps of America.

1907 Map of the World by Jodocus Hondius. New York. Text and

1911 Portolan Charts. New York.

1914 Willem Janszoon Blaeu. New York. Text and reproductions.

1884 Zur Ethnographic der Republik Guatemala. Zurich.

1885 Was Palenque Visited by Cortes? _Science_, vol. v, pp. 171-172.

1904 Maya Calendar systems, 22_nd Rept. Bureau of American Ethnology_,
pp. 197-305. Washington.

1904 Archaeological Researches in Yucatan. _Peabody Museum Memoirs_,
vol. iii, no. i. Cambridge, Mass.

1903 Relación descriptiva de los Mapas ... de Guatemala. Madrid.

1723 Monarquia Indiana. Madrid. 3 vols.

TOZZER, Alfred Marston
1907 Comparative Study of the Mayas and Lacandones. New York.

1911 Preliminary Study of the Ruins of Tikal, Guatemala. _Peabody
Museum Memoirs_, vol. v, no. 2. Cambridge, Mass.

1912 A Spanish Manuscript Letter on the Lacandones. _Rept. 18th Sess.
Int. Cong. Am._

1917 The Books of Chilam Balam. _Rept. 19th Sess. Inter. Cong. of

ULLOA Y SANTACILLA, Jorge Juan de and Antonio de
1748 Relacion historica del viage a la America Meridional. Madrid. 4

1880 The Katunes of Maya History. Translated by Stephen Salisbury, Jr.
_Proc. Am. Antiq. Society_, pp. 59-61, October. Worcester.

1898 Pinzon-Solis, 1508. _Gesell. für Erdkunde, Zeitschrift_ xxxiii,
pp. 254-282.

1902 The Discovery of Yucatan by the Portuguese in 1493. An Ancient
Chart. _Records of the Past_, vol. i, pp. 45-59.

1701 Historia de la conquista de la provincia de el Itza. Madrid.

WIENER, Charles
1875 Malartic Portolan. Paris.

Plate IA. Avendaño's Map of Lake Peten, circa 1697

Plate IB. Avendaño's Map with English Translation

Plate II. Peten Itza in the Middle of the Eighteenth Century

Plate III. Lake Peten and Flores

Plate IV. Sketch (with English Translation) of a Map of Yucatan, circa
1566, found with the Landa Ms.

Plate V.  Sketch (with English Translation) of Another Map of Yucatan,
circa 1566, found with the Landa Ms.

Plate VI. Map showing Entradas to Lake Peten

[Transcriber's Note: This map in drastically incomplete because of the
folds. The map is intended to show the Entradas of Cortez (1524-1525),
Fuensalida and Orbita (1618), Gallegos and Delgado (1675), President
Barrios (1694-1695), Padre Cano (1695), and Padre Andres de Avendaño
y Loyola (1695, 1696).]

                               Chapter I.

[Footnote 1: Mr. Bowditch (1901, p. 137) says that the earliest date at
Quirigua is that on Stela C: and that the latest is that on
Stela K: According to his reckoning these dates correspond
approximately to 75 B.C. and 275 A.D. respectively. Mr. Bowditch
informs us that other cities in the south show similar dates, and at
the same time he points out that it is possible that these cities were
occupied beyond the latest dates shown on the stelae. We see, then,
that the difference between Mr. Bowditch's computation and that of Mr.
Morley rests solely in this: according to Mr. Bowditch the Golden Age
or Old Empire had its beginnings as far back as 75 B.C.; Mr. Morley, on
the other hand, believes that up to 200 A.D. there was a wholly
indefinite Migratory period which led up to the Golden Age and to the
Colonization period (that is, to 700 A.D.). From 700 onward the two
systems are the same. Whatever divergence exists between Mr. Bowditch
and Mr. Morley on the subject of chronology concerns only the Golden
Age or Old Empire cities.]

[Footnote 2: Nakum was first studied scientifically by Count Maurice de
Perigny (1908). Its importance is exceeded, however, by that of Tikal,
which, in addition to being very near Lake Peten, is now well known.
Descriptions of this elaborate group of ruins are to be found in
Charnay (1887), Maudslay (1883), and in other earlier writers. The most
satisfactory work on Tikal is that of Maler and Tozzer (1911). In both
Nakum and Tikal the buildings are excellent examples of Old Empire
construction, having massive substructures, towering superstructures,
and a mass of intricate ornamentation. The dates at Tikal range from to (about 210-480 A.D.).]

[Footnote 3: This documentary history is based on the Books of Chilan
Balam. Daniel G. Brinton's translations as given in his Maya Chronicles
have been used. For bibliographical purposes the reader is referred to
Tozzer, 1917.]

[Footnote 4: Although the terms Maya and Itza are used more or less
interchangeably, it is to be noted that there is authority for
believing them to mean two separate races. Ancona (1878, vol. i, p. 31
ff.) says that the Itzas were the earlier inhabitants of Yucatan. He
adds that they worshiped Itzamna and founded Itzamal, Tihoo, and
Chichen Itza. The Maya, on the other hand, worshiped Kukulkan, were
enemies of the Itzas, and were the founders of Mayapan, Uxmal, and
other cities. This distinction, though a fine one and hard to prove
correct, deserves to be noted.]

[Footnote 5: This name, Cocom, will be brought to our attention later
on, and it will be advisable for us to compare now the exceedingly
confusing accounts of what the Cocom family was.

Brinton (1882, p. 165), in his introduction to the Book of Chilan Balam
of Chumayel, says: "We have no longer to do with the reckoning of the
subjects of the Xiu family who ruled at Mani, but with one which
emanates from the priests of the Cocomes, who were hereditary masters
of Chichen Itza."

According to the Chronicle of Chac Xulub Chac, by Nahau Pech, there was
a king named Ixcuat Cocom of Aké, who led the people of Chichen Itza
from that place very late in their history, about eight years before
the Spaniards touched at Campeche in 1516. (Brinton, 1882, p. 218.)

The Katunes of Maya History (Valentini, 1880, pp. 54, 86) say that "In
the 8th Ahau the Governor of Chichen Itza was deposed because he
murmured disrespectfully of Hunac-eel." The 8th Ahau would be about

Brasseur de Bourbourg (1858, vol. ii, p. 35) says that the Cocomes were
the kings of Mayapan and that as they became more and more tyrannical
so did the Tutul Xiu of Uxmal become more and more the champions of the
people. He suggests that Hunac-eel was a Cocom, and he also speaks of
the Lord of Chichen as being quite distinct from the Cocomes. Brasseur
(cf. Lizana, 1893, p. 3) continues his account by saying that Chac Xib
Chac, who was then reigning in Chichen, likewise became indignant at
the cruelty of Hunac-eel (or Cocom). As a result of this seven Nahua
chiefs were sent by Hunac-eel against Chac Xib Chac, whom they
vanquished. With his power thus seemingly assured, Hunac-eel set about
oppressing his Mexican allies, who appealed for help to the Tutul Xiu
of Uxmal, with the result that the dynasty of Cocom was ruined (about
1440). One child of the last King of Mayapan, however, was absent at
Xicalanco, and he lived to set up a new Cocom kingdom at Tibulon or

Molina Solis says (1896, p. li): "After the time of Hunac-eel, the
Cocomes, descendants of an ancient and rich house of the Itzaes, one of
whose members had made himself known as a man of valor in the last war,
began to rule as lords of Mayapan. The Cocomes continued the policy of
their predecessor...." According to this writer it was the Cocomes who
called in the people from Mexico, in spite of whom they were
overthrown. The only survivors of the massacre of the family were a
young son of the last king (as has been said) and a distant relative
named Cocom Cat, who escaped to the town of Tiab. Molina's authority
for this statement is the Relación of Juan Bote, which he quotes (p.
liii). After these events the Mexican mercenaries seized the province
of Canul or Ahcanul. (Landa, 1864, p. 55.) The Cheles founded a
religious state at Izamal; the Cocomes withdrew to Sotuta and the Xius
to Mani. All this is accepted in the main by modern writers. (Tozzer,
1907, p. 9; Faliès, 1915, vol. i, p. 247 ff.)

To summarize, we may say that the Cocomes were the lords of either
Mayapan or Chichen Itza, though it is more likely they were identified
with the former. They became too ambitious and powerful to please the
Tutul Xiu of Uxmal and the ruler of Chichen; they called in Mexican
mercenaries about 1200, and from then until about 1440 they became
increasingly more arrogant until, in the latter year, the Xiu and other
people who had been wronged completely destroyed the city of Mayapan,
so that only two or three members of the ruling family escaped
destruction. We have now reached the crux of this whole discussion. The
three possible surviving Cocomes were; (1) the son of the last lord of
Mayapan; (2) the Cocom Cat, who, according to Molina (quoting an old
Relación), fled southward to Tiab at about that period; and (3) King
Ixcuat Cocom of Aké, who, according to Nahau Pech, also went southward,
about 1508 more or less.

There is a distinct possibility that Cocom Cat may eventually have got
to Tayasal. It is likewise entirely possible to believe that from him
descended that Cocom who, with Ahchatappol and Ahauppuc, came out from
Tayasal to meet Padres Fuensalida and Orbita in 1618. (Villagutierre,
p. 116.) Sapper (1904, p. 625) tells that a Juan Pablo Cocom became the
leader of an insurrection at Bacalar in May, 1848.]

[Footnote 6: Seler (1908, p. 157 ff.) says that the Casa de las Monjas,
the Akat tz'ib, and the Casa Colorada all belong to this period and
that they are to be associated with the various buildings at Uxmal,
Kabah, Labna, and elsewhere. Rain-god masks are a striking
characteristic of the architecture of this period.]

                               Chapter II

[Footnote 2.1: The question of nomenclature is a puzzling one. In
Appendix I will be found a number of the almost innumerable variations
of the name of Itza. The Spanish writers use both Peten and Tayasal
when they mean the Itza stronghold. As Peten really means island, I
shall use Tayasal in the future.]

[Footnote 2.2: This is an error. The greatest length of Lake Peten runs
east and west. The dimensions, like many of Avendaño's distances, are
most inaccurate.]

[Footnote 2.3: A gloss reads "adoratorios."]

[Footnote 2.4: A gloss reads "mesa de piedra en cassa del rei."]

[Footnote 2.5: This is difficult to understand, as the early Maya
peoples had recorded numbers running into the millions.]

                              Chapter III

[Footnote 3.1: The claim of the Portuguese to have visited and mapped
Yucatan is not founded on historical fact. Dr. Roger Merriman of
Harvard was so kind as to put at my disposal his historical information
on the subject of early voyages to Yucatan. It is his unqualified
opinion that the map reported on by Valentini, and discussed in the
list of maps in Appendix III, is greatly misdated, being placed about
twenty to thirty years too early.]

[Footnote 3.2: Yucatan, at this time, was thought to be an island.
Grijalva named it Nuestra Señora de los Remedios. (Oviedo, 1851, vol.
i, p. 508.) Soon after leaving Cozumel, Grijalva reached a small place
called Lazaro, which figures on the map known as the Turin-Spanish of
1523-1525. See Dr. Stevenson's edition, 1903.]

[Footnote 3.3: Bernal Diaz (vol. iv, p. 284) says 100 crossbowmen and
musketeers and 22 horses. Gomara (1826, vol. ii, p. 126) says 150
horses, 160 foot-soldiers, and 3000 Indians. Cogolludo (p. 44 ff.) says
130 cavalrymen, 120 musketeers, and 3000 Indians.]

[Footnote 3.4: Cyrus Thomas (1885, pp. 171-172) once tried to prove
that Cortes visited Palenque. Apparently he thought that either
Izancanac or the large town reached after that was Palenque. This
belief was proved to be erroneous by Brinton, who said (1885 a) that
Cortes never reached Palenque, but passed to the north of it. Maler
(1901, pp. 105-106) also discusses this point.]

[Footnote 3.5: For a description of the modern Lacandones, see Tozzer,

[Footnote 3.6: This refers to the horse of Cortes, Morzillo, which was
wounded in the foot either during the deer hunt described above or
while crossing the Mountain of Alabaster. Morzillo's injuries were so
severe that he became a burden to the expedition, and Cortes left him
behind with Canek, charging the latter to take good care of him. When
Morzillo died, probably from lack of proper food, the Itzas made an
image of him which they treated as an idol. In 1618 Padre Orbita,
infuriated by this idol and the worship accorded it, shattered the

[Footnote 3.7: I am at a loss to explain why Gomara heads his chapter
"De como Canec quemo los Idolos." Canek, according to most accounts,
did not actually burn the idols; he merely promised to do so.]

                               Chapter IV

[Footnote 4.1: These names are a puzzle; it may be that these men later
in life became identified with the two cities whose names they adopted.
There is neither a Lima nor a Quito in Spain, as both those names are
of American origin. Lima, however, is a common enough name in Portugal,
and it is one of the great names of Brazil.]

[Footnote 4.2: When the town of Valladolid was first founded it was
either on or very near the east coast of Yucatan. The original
foundation took place about 1542; many years later the town was moved
to its present location some twenty-five miles to the southwest of Lake
Suchen. In some of the old maps Valladolid is indicated in such a way
that one is perfectly justified in assuming that the city was still at
no great distance from the sea. Such maps as that of Blaauw (1667), as
that of Montanus (1671), as that of Vander Aa (1729), and that of
Bellin (1764) fall into this category. On the other hand the maps of
Brion de la Tour (1783) and of Lopez (1801) show Valladolid in
approximately its present situation. We may safely believe, then, that
the move took place between 1764 and 1783, long after Cogolludo wrote,
and that therefore he had the first location in mind.]

[Footnote 4.3: The province of Choaca or Cochva is in the northeast
corner of Yucatan.]

[Footnote 4.4: Champoton = Potonchan = Chakanputun = Chanputun.]

[Footnote 4.5: Antonio de Mendoza, Conde de Tendilla, born about 1480,
died 1552, was Viceroy of Mexico (New Spain) from 1535 to 1551. He
established the Bishopric of Michoacan in 1537 and from 1551 to 1552
was Viceroy of Peru. He was a statesman of excellent qualities.]

                               Chapter V

[Footnote 5.1: Villagutierre's spelling of proper names and
capitalization are given in most cases.]

[Footnote 5.2: Cogolludo adds some details concerning the mock embassy
of the Itzas to Merida which the account of Villagutierre lacks.
Cogolludo says (p. 472 ff.) that, in the time of Don Antonio de
Figueroa, who was Governor of Yucatan from August, 1612, to September,
1617, Yucatan enjoyed a goodly measure of prosperity, which was
interrupted in the following manner: "... there came in the time of
this Governor [Figueroa] to the city of Merida some Itzaex Indians,
saying that their purpose was to give their obedience to the King and
to the Governor in his name, and he gave them staffs as Alcaldes, and
appointed them a government, and they returned, leaving him in the
belief that they were voluntarily his subjects, but soon it was all
seen to be a trick. Now that it was known that the coming of those
Indians had no better end than this, in the reign of this Governor a
great reduction of this province was carried on, for many of the people
of this Province were fugitives in the Woodlands of Zahcabchen. By
these, says the Bachiller Valencia in his relation, were founded the
Villages of San Antonio de Zahcabchen, San Lorenzo de Vlumal, Tzuctok,
Cauich, by a commission headed by Captain Francisco de Villalobos, his
[Valencia's] grandfather, who intended the reduction of these

[Footnote 5.3: This was the Juan de Coronel who was the author of an
"Arte en lengua de Maya" published by Diego Garrido, Mexico, 1620. See
Wilkinson Sale Catalog, 1914, number 193.]

[Footnote 5.4: A curious misuse of this word. The Caribs of the West
Indies were so ferocious that their name became proverbial as a synonym
for savagery; our own word "cannibal" is derived from it. Ancona says
that the Caribs actually made invasions into Yucatan (1878, vol. i, p.
29). The present Lacandones are usually called Caribes by the Spanish

[Footnote 5.5: _Vecino_ = citizen, i.e., freeholder. The
non-freeholders were not citizens in Spanish America.]

[Footnote 5.6: The prophecies spoken of by Avendaño (pp. 22, 23)
are interesting. They are those of Patzin Yaxun, of Nahau Pec, of
Ahkukil-Chel, of Ahnupuc-Tun, and of Chilan-Balam, High-priest of
Tixcacayoc Cabich in Mani. The text of all of them is given by
Villagutierre and by Cogolludo; translations appear in Fancourt and
many other places.

We may believe that no matter when the events took place which gave
rise to the present versions of the prophecies, the versions themselves
probably grew up among the Itzas between 1524 and 1618, for, as we have
seen, the Canek of Cortes's day displayed no aversion to the proposed
introduction of Christianity among his subjects.

It is not denied that a foundation in fact may have existed for the
belief that the seers of northern Yucatan foretold some calamity; the
present contention is merely that the prophecies which the Itzas had in
mind when they told Padre Fuensalida that the time for their conversion
had not yet come were of comparatively recent origin among them. The
Catholic character of the phraseology is too obvious to dwell upon.

Cf. Villagutierre, p. 35 ff.; Cogolludo, p. 96 ff.; Fancourt, 1854, p.
57 ff.; Lizana, 1633, pt. ii, chap. i; Brasseur de Bourbourg, 1858,
vol. ii, p. 603; Orozco y Berra, 1880, pp. 73-74; Carrillo y Ancona,
1883, pp. 523-606.

It is impossible to pass over without remark the fact that Mr.
Maudslay, in a note at pages 34 and 35 of the last volume of his
edition of Bernal Diaz, creates a false impression of the reason why
Padres Fuensalida and Orbita left Tayasal. As the two last paragraphs
of Maudslay's note stand they imply that the Padres left Tayasal
because of the hostility of the Indians caused by the breaking of the
idol of the horse. As a matter of fact this was not the reason. Rather,
their leaving was due to the fact that the Itzas refused to be baptized
before the time which they believed to be appointed for their

                               Chapter VI

[Footnote 6.1: The description given by Cogolludo (lib. x, caps. 2, 3)
of the events during and resulting from the entrada of Delgado is much
the same as that of Villagutierre y Sotomayor. He calls Zaclun
"Zacalum." This entrada is mentioned by Fray Andrés de Avendaño y
Loyola (p. 28 verso), who attributes the blame for the slaying of
Delgado to the Spanish soldiers who followed him.]

                              Chapter VII

[Footnote 7.1: Avendaño (p. 1 recto) calls him Don Martin de Urssua y

[Footnote 7.2: See Tozzer, 1912.]

                              Chapter VIII

[Footnote 8.1: Others write this name Ursua y Arizmendi.]

[Footnote 8.2: A digest of the itinerary of the two trips of Avendaño is
given in Appendix IV.]

                               Chapter IX

[Footnote 9.1: The text of the cedula in question may be found at pp.
18v-22r in Avendaño's MS.]

[Footnote 9.2: The reader's attention is called here to Plates Ia and
Ib, and also to Maler, 1908, p. 56 for a reproduction and translation
of the map by Avendaño.]

[Footnote 9.3: This refers to the myth, shared alike by the Toltecs and
Mayas, of the culture hero, Quetzalcoatl-Kulkulcan, who was to return
to the land from across the ocean.]

[Footnote 9.4: A gloss reads "Cajon con el huesso."]

[Footnote 9.5: This work has never been found.]

[Footnote 9.6: Cogolludo (lib. iv, cap. 5) gives the following
description of the calendar and the method of reckoning time. "In the
time of their heathendom the Indians of Yucathan had books made of the
bark of trees; over this was a white cement which was perpetual, and
these books were from ten to twelve varas long, being doubled over and
folded.... On these the Indians painted the accounts of their years,
wars, inundations, famines, hurricanes, and other events. From one of
them, which Dr. Aguilar took away from some Idolaters, it was learned
that in ancient times there was a plague called _Mayacimil_ and also
another called _Ocna Kuchil_, which is to say Sudden Deaths, and
Times-in-which-ravens-entered-the-houses-to-eat-the-corpses. Inundation
and hurricane they called _Hunyecil_, Overflowing-of-trees....

"They counted the year as having 365 days, divided into months of
twenty days each, corresponding to ours in this order:

  Jan. 12-Feb.   1 was Yaax      July  11-July  17 was Vayeab
  Feb.  1-Feb.  21  "  Zac       July  17-Aug.   6  "  Poop
  Feb. 21-Mch.  13  "  Ceh       Aug.   6-Aug.  26  "  Voo
  Mch. 13-Apr.   2  "  Mac       Aug.  26-Sept. 15  "  Cijp
  Apr.  2-Apr.  22  "  Kan Kin   Sept. 15-Oct.      "  Zeec
  Apr. 22-May   12  "  Muan      Oct.    -Nov.      "  Zul
  May  12-Jun.   1  "  Paax      Nov.    -Dec.      "  Yax Kin
  Jun.  1-Jun.  21  "  Kayab     Dec.    -Dec.      "  Mool
  Jun. 21-July  11  "  Cum Ku    Dec.    -Jan.  11  "  Cheen

By this count the year was divided into eighteen months, but their year
began on the seventeenth of our July. The five days which were lacking
to complete the 365 were called Nameless Days. They held them to be
melancholy, and they said that on them happened disastrous deaths and
unforeseen events, such as stings and bites from poisonous snakes and
wild or venomous animals as well as quarrels and dissensions; and they
especially feared the first of these days. During this period they
tried not to go out of their houses, and so they always provided
themselves with what was necessary beforehand so as not to have to go
to the fields or elsewhere. At this time they attended especially to
their Heathen Rites, begging their Idols to keep them free from harm in
those dangerous days and to grant that the following year might be
fertile and abundant. And these days so greatly feared were the 11, 12,
13, 14, 15 and 16 (sic) of our July. All the days of the month had each
its name, which I leave untold for fear of prolixity.

"By means of this count they know the time in which to clear the
woodlands and to burn the underbrush, to expect rains, to sow the Maize
and other vegetables, for all which actions they have their Proverbs.
The first Religious (says Aguilar), holy men, and true Keepers of the
Vineyard of Jesus Christ, tried to abolish this count, holding it to be
superstitious, but they did not progress far because most [of the
Indians] know it. This matter was laid before a great and Apostolic Man
named Padre Solana, and before another scarcely less great called Fray
Caspar de Naxara, who were great Ministers and Preachers and who felt
that it was not prejudicial to the Christianizing of the Indians; but
Padre Fuensalida says in his Relacion, treating of the ancient counts:
'It would be far better in every way if the Indians did not learn and
know of the ancient peoples, because they have been found still at
their idolatries, and those who were converted to our Holy Catholic
Faith still perform the rites, adoring the Demon through thousands of
Idols which have been found in this Province.' ...

"They counted their eras and ages which they put in their books by
groups of twenty years and by lustra of four years. The first year they
fixed in the East, calling it _Cuchhaab_; the second in the West,
calling it _Hijx_; the third in the South, _Cavac_; the fourth in the
North, called _Muluc_." These refer to the four dominical days, which
he has given incorrectly. They should be Kan, Muluc, Ix (Hijx), and
Cauac. (See Bowditch, 1910, p. 278.) "When these lustra reached five,
which is exactly twenty years, they called it a _Katun_ and placed a
carved stone upon another, fixing them with lime and sand in the
walls of their Temples and the houses of their Priests, as is
to be seen today in the edifices which have been spoken of and
in certain ancient walls of our Convent in Merida, over which
there are cells. In a village called Tixualahtun, which signifies
Place-where-a-carved-stone-is-placed-upon-another, it is said that
there were Archives where were preserved all the events, as is done in
Spain at the Archivo de Simancas.

"The common way of counting their age was by these periods or Katuns,
as, for instance, to say 'I have sixty years' _Oxppelvabil_--'I have
three eras of age,' that is, three stones; for seventy it is three and
a half. Wherever it was known that there were not too many barbarians,
they continued to live by this count, and it was said to be very
accurate, so much so that not only did they know with certainty of an
event, but also of the day and month on which it took place."]

[Footnote 9.7: A gloss reads "the devil excites their minds."]

[Footnote 9.8: A gloss reads "varias cosas que tratamos."]

                               Chapter X

[Footnote 10.1: This passage (Villagutierre, p. 315) is very important.
The question of the location of Dolores and of Lacandon, as well as
that of their identity, has long been a moot point. (Tozzer's
introduction to Marjil, 1912.) The main body of the Lacandones, as well
Chol-speaking as Maya-speaking, lies southwest of Lake Peten. (Cf.
Tozzer, 1907.) That fact accounts for Costello's location of Los
Dolores southwest of the lake. (Fancourt, 1854, map.) On the map of our
region in Hazius and Lowitz' Atlas of 1746 Lacandon and Los Dolores are
located northwest of the lake, whereas maps such as those of Bellin
(1764) and Brion de la Tour (1783) do not mention either, nor do they
leave any territory southeast of the lake where they might possibly be.
In spite of these contradictions we need be in little doubt as to the
true location of Los Dolores del Lacandon, for as the expedition under
Paredes was marching southward, their left was to the east, and
consequently they were to march southeast from Tzucthok in order to
reach Los Dolores. The Lacandones have been shown to have existed in
that region as well as in Chiapas. (Thomas, 1911, p. 70 and map.)
Therefore we may safely believe that Hendges (Map of Guatemala, 1902)
is right in locating Los Dolores southeast of the lake. Further
confirmation of this belief lies in the fact that Mr. Morley found in
the village of Dolores three church bells dated 1718, which bear
inscriptions that show they were intended for the Church of Nuestra
Señora de los Dolores en la Provincia del Yiza, i.e., the Dolores of
which we speak.]

[Footnote 10.2: This is, of course, the same ambassador in whose
authenticity Avendaño, as we know, felt so much distrust. Something is
known in regard to this messenger. His full name was Don Martin Can,
and he was a native of Peten Grande, whose King was Canek. His father
was Can, a native of Tipu; his mother was Cante, sister of Canek. His
father, stung by a serpent, had long been dead; his mother, of whom he
had heard it said that she came from Chichen Itza, had also been dead a
long time. He was baptized Martin a year before in Merida, and, though
he did not know exactly, he thought he was about thirty years old. He
was married to an Indian girl named Coboh, who lived in Alain. Canek
had sent him and three other Indians of Alain to Merida with an embassy
and with a crown of plumes as homage, to ask for Padres to come and
enlighten the Indians as to the True God. Having passed from Alain he
had arrived at Tipu, where the Muzules Indians had wished to join him,
and although he knew them to be mere savages, he took them with him.
All sorts of food and drink, as well as a house, had been made ready
for the Padres who should go to Alain. He had then gone to Merida and
had been most cordially received by Ursua. His baptism had taken place
and he had delivered his message, receiving in return many presents for
Canek and for himself. After taking leave of Don Martin de Ursua, Can
and his companions, together with Hariza and the Padres, had returned
to Tipu, where they stayed two weeks until, on account of the
opposition of the Cacique Zima, Can fled to Alain, leaving the present
for Canek in the hands of Hariza. Arrived in Alain, Can was told by
Chamaxculu, the Cacique, that many of the Indians had rebelled against
Canek, killing many of the Spaniards. He himself was the object of the
Indians' hatred on account of his conversion. He took refuge in the
small Peten of Motzkal until he was sent for by Canek, his uncle. He
told how trenches and walls of stones had been built at Peten Grande.
Both the King Canek and the chief priest Kincanek were now in Peten
ready to defend it against the Spaniards who had injured them. The
Cacique of Alain, Chamaxculu, wished, with his people, to be

                              Appendix II

[Footnote A2.1: To judge by the haphazard way in which the words and
phrases contained in the MS. are set down, and taking into
consideration the informal nature of the MS. itself, this vocabulary
was intended by Dr. Berendt merely to act as a field glossary and
phrase book. Despite its incompleteness and formlessness, however, it
is of value for us because it is the only known glossary of the Itza

                              Appendix III

[Footnote A3.1: Nord. = Baron Nordenskiold's reproductions, Stockholm,

[Footnote A3.2: E. L. S. = Dr. Edward Luther Stevenson's reproductions
of maps.]

[Footnote A3.3: The tracings from the originals of these two maps were
made by Dr. Tozzer in Madrid. The translation was done by the author.]

[Footnote A3.4: Dr. Stevenson has pointed out (1914, p. 26) that the
habit of appropriating the work of others was very common among
cartographers. A good case of the sort is found in Montanus, 1671, and
Aa, 1729.]

[Footnote 3.5: The maps from 1801 onward given here are merely some of
those that I have used; the list, after 1800, is very far from being an
attempt at completeness.]

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the Spanish Conquest of Yucatan and of the Itzas - Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and - Ethnology, Hard University. Vol. VII." ***

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