Spanish Conquest of Yucatan
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 Director
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 superfluous.
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
THE PRE-COLUMBIAN HISTORY OF THE MAYAS
AND OF THE ITZAS, 1445
The Golden Age or Old Empire of the Maya
The Colonization 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
THE POLITICAL, SOCIAL, AND GEOGRAPHICAL FEATURES OF
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
THE FIRST SPANISH ENTRADAS INTO YUCATAN, 1517-1526
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
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
THE ENTRADA OF FRANCISCO DE MONTEJO AND HIS SON,
AND THE ARRIVAL OF THE FRANCISCANS, 1526-1542
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
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
THE ENTRADA OF PADRES FUENSALIDA AND ORBITA, 1618
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
The Padres set out
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
THE ENTRADA OF PADRE FRAY DIEGO DELGADO AND THE
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 begins
THE EARLY HISTORY OF GUATEMALA AND THE ENTRADA
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
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
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
THE FIRST AND UNSUCCESSFUL ATTEMPT MADE BY FRAY ANDRÉS
DE AVENDAÑO Y LOYOLA TO REACH THE ITZAS
OF TAYASAL, 1695-1699
Preparations for the journey
Arrival at Cauich
Departure from Cauich
Aguada of Hobon Ox; Chunzalam, Vecanxan
Nohhalal, Th[=a] Ayn, Sucte
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
The avarice of Paredes
Chunpich is reached
Zuviaur goes to the Itzas; the Padres return
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
THE SECOND ENTRADA OF PADRE AVENDAÑO
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
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
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
THE CONSUMMATION OF THE CONQUEST OF TAYASAL
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
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.
HISTORY OF THE SPANISH CONQUEST OF
YUCATAN AND OF THE ITZAS
THE PRECOLUMBIAN HISTORY OF THE MAYAS
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 flourish.
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.
PERIODS APPROXIMATE DATES
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 Itza.
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, 18.104.22.168.17. (about 100 B.C.); the date on the latter is 22.214.171.124.12. (about 50 A.D.).1.1 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 126.96.36.199.0. (210) to 10.2.0.0.0. (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.1.2 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 10.1.0.0.0. and 10.2.0.0.0. (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 rooms.
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.1.3
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 510.1.4 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 10.2.9.1.9. (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 occupation.
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 Cocom1.5 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 aside.1.6
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 end.
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)
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.
COGOLLUDO'S ACCOUNT OF THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE
MAYAS AND OF SOME OF THEIR CUSTOMS
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 death....
"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 customs:
"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 birds.
"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...."
THE POLITICAL, SOCIAL, AND GEOGRAPHICAL
FEATURES OF THE ITZA STATE DURING
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 ... idols2.3 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 hall2.4 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 all...."
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 possesses...."
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...."
THE FIRST SPANISH ENTRADAS INTO YUCATAN
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 Panuco.3.2
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 horses3.3 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 Izancanac3.4 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 themselves...."
"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 King.
"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 treachery."
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 others.
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 faith.
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
THE ENTRADA OF FRANCISCO DE MONTEJO AND
HIS SON, AND THE ARRIVAL OF THE
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 forces.
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 Campeche.
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 Champoton4.4] 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 Mendoza4.5was 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 later.
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 saidPueblo 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 land.
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 lands.
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.
THE ENTRADA OF PADRES FUENSALIDA AND
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 feet.
"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 them.
"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 disconsolate.
"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 him.
"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 littleCacao 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 Island."
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 Period5.6 ... 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.
THE ENTRADA OF PADRE FRAY DIEGO DELGADO AND
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 Yucatan.
"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 describe."
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 him.
"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.
THE EARLY HISTORY OF GUATEMALA AND THE
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 Arizmendi7.1 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 needed.
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 Margil7.2 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 gifts.
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 maize.
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 preparations.
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 conversion.
"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.
THE FIRST AND UNSUCCESSFUL ATTEMPT MADE BY
FRAY ANDRÉS DE AVENDAÑO Y LOYOLA TO REACH
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 Arismendi8.1 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 missionary....
"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 following:--
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 calledGuazes, 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 caimans."
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 Celmet."
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 surrender."
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 Colon....
"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, calledPan. 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 guns."
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 us....
"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...."
THE SECOND ENTRADA OF PADRE AVENDAÑO
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 Governor.
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 greataguada, 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 time."
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 accommodation."
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 theyAkalchees 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 less."
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 ofcacao, 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 enemies...."
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 treatise9.5 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 possession9.7 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 one.'
"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 happened...."
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 dangerous."
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 longakalchees, 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 saidaguada; 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 wereChuis, 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 sacraments."
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...."
THE CONSUMMATION OF THE CONQUEST OF TAYASAL
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 order.
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 effect.
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 vassals.
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 Tayasal.
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 arrangements.
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 vanished.
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.
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)
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 these.
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 Centroat
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.
juyu a small basin for pounding corn huyub
xemech an earthenware pan for cooking maize xamach
ma yaan there is none minan
uneec a seed hinah
chulul the bow for shooting and the material of which it is made.
hǒǒk a large fish-hook
coxti hǒǒk, we are going to fish (?)
litz a small fish-hook lutz, fish-hook]
cox ti man litz, we are going to buy a fish-hook
lutz lazy (said of an animal)
holé yesterday holhe
meyah to work manyah
ten in Ɔah hunpel tomin ti a Juan I give John a real ten in Ɔaic hunpel tomin ti Juan
ten cin hanal I eat hanal in cah
chumac wild-cat chamac
Ɔüt a long sack of palm leaves or of broom-plant fiber naza
Ɔit very small tamales.
yaax apat royal palm
ichcil or ichnil to bathe
in thǎ my forehead in lec
pichi guava (?) pachi
chuh calabash of water (this line is crossed out in the text)
nah house; holnah, door; bah, mole (?) na-holna-ba
pah chicken louse; leh, snare pa- te-
tuh stinking, obscene tu
uh the moon u
coh a tooth co
cih henequen qi
beh a road, a path be
ya in tzem I am in doubt (?) ya in tzem
tacté a pine tree tahte
(Several illegible words occur here)
nak xaan ....
Ɔu or chichan Ɔu small unweaned child chuchul paal
in nochil my child (used by the Lacandones)
tanché a beam tanche
puluoc a small dove.
(xamoch) pok a wall pak
ahmenché a carpenter ahmentahche
taman a sheep, they also say tomo tanam
top any flower nicte, lol
taz la top e he is bringing a flower talez nicte
cox ti meyaj we are going to work 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.
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 (tortillar)
tux yankin? where is the sun? tabx yax kin
tux ca bin? where are you going? 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? bahun uinicol t an ilab ti be?
(One illegible phrase here)
bix le lo? how is that?
bix yanil ech? how are you? 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 ɔin Ɔic tü? to whom am I to give it?
mayan ja there is no water manaan ja,
xturuhui yellow (or jaundice; text says amarillo)
quǐj henequen yaxci
kaim milk kabim
yǎ a small sapote (?) zaya
ten cin bin ich cah I am going into the village
kayem gruel made of corn flour keyem
iz Ɔit a small tamale made with new corn
culen sit down (imperative) culen, sit down!
cultal, to sit down
liken get up (imperative) likil, to get up
(Several illegible words follow)
thuth I weep (perhaps it means dark brown--loro)
(Several more illegible words)
sac fear zahaal, fear
sac en I am afraid, I fear zahal, to fear
saccep timorous ahzahet, timorous
mac people uinic
bizit that part of an animal... (illegible) ... which is composed of the lower part of the spine.
cǒǒb (meaning illegible) coc
paklam prickly pear (?) (Text has stapal y tuna) 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 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 zuz, to plane
chaac let it go! (sueltalo)
chaac la tzimine set the horse free! (suelta el caballo)
bot hail 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.
Ɔunum a bird.
Ɔununté laurel, a mountain bush.
hubuché a mountain bush; the leaves ... (illegible).
tanai a species of cane or bamboo ... very large.
tuƆ (meaning illegible)
jōǒle yesterday holhe
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 quǐ henequen
holé and jōǒle yesterday
beh and be road
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.
THE MAPS OF YUCATAN ARRANGED IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
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 inconclusive.
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.
RICHARD KING PORTOLAN (Hamy Coll.).
Has Cuba and other West Indies, also eastern portions of South America, neither Mexico nor Yucatan.
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.
PTOLEMY, ED. RUYSCH, ROME (Nord. XXXII).A3.1
America shown as a vague archipelago in the Pacific. It is not named.
PTOLEMY, ED. JOANNES DE STOBINICZA, Cracow (Nord.).
America indicated but not named.
LODOVICUS BOULENGER (Nord.)
America shown by name and called "Nova reperta."
GREGORIUS REISCH, STRASSBURG (Nord.).
Has no Yucatan.
PETRUS APIANUS (Nord.).
Has no Yucatan.
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.
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.
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.
BENEDETTO BORDONE, VINEGIA (Nord.).
Has no Yucatan.
RIBERO (E. L. S.).
Has Yucatan as a large island near to the mainland, with Hihueras (Higueras = Honduras) correctly located.
VERRAZANO (E. L. S.).
Has the general outlines of Yucatan approximately correct, but there is a large gap at the southern part.
WOLFENBÜTTEL-SPANISH (E. L. S.).
Yucatan a large island very close to the mainland. Cf. Ribero, 1529.
Shows Yucatan as an island.
ANONYMOUS CARTA DE LAS ANTILLAS, SENO MEJICANO Y COSTAS DE TIERRA FIRMA. CARTAS DE INDIAS 1877.
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.
ORONTIUS FINÆBUS (Nord.).
Yucatan (called Iucatanus) shown as an island.
SIM. GRYNÆUS NOVUS ORBIS, BASILEÆ (Nord.).
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.
PETRUS MARTYR, VINEGIA (Nord.).
Yucatan an island with dense archipelago in lieu of isthmus.
Yucatan a peninsula.
GERARDUS MERCATOR (Nord.).
Yucatan named and an island.
PORTULAN OF CHARLES V, IN WIENER, 1875.
Has Yucatan a round island a good way from mainland on three different maps.
PTOLEMY, BASEL (Nord.).
Yucatan shown as an island.
ALONSO DE SANTA CRUZ, IN DAHLGREN, 1892.
Shows Yucatan as a peninsula, but makes east coast run nearly east and west.
CASPAR VOPEL (Nord.).
Yucatan shown as an island.
PTOLEMY, VENICE (Nord.).
Yucatan shown as an island, not named.
Has Yucatan as a peninsula.
GASTALDI, MAPPAMUNDI, VENICE (Müller Coll.).
Has Yucatan a peninsula, but has no names save Cozumel and Catoche.
HIERONIMO GIRAVA, MILAN (Nord.).
Yucatan is a peninsula, but much too small.
FERRANDO BERTELI (Müller Coll.).
Yucatan (called Luc[=a]tan) is an island close to the mainland.
MARTINES, JOAN, MAP OF THE WORLD (in Stevenson, 1911).
Yucatan is shown as a peninsula. The isthmus is too narrow.
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.
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
ORTELIUS, THEATRUM ORBIS TERRARUM.
Shows Yucatan as a peninsula; calls Merida Atalaria, Cozumel Acasumal, etc.
THOMASO PORCACCHI DA CASTIGLIONE, VENICE.
Has Yucatan as a peninsula.
ANOTHER EDITION OF PORCCACHI DA CASTIGLIONE.
PLANO DEL PUEBLO DE MUTUL, EN LA PROVINCIA DE YUCATAN, TERMINOS DE LA CIUDAD DE MERIDA. POR MARTIN DE PALOMAR? TORRES LANZAS, i, 33.
This map accompanies the Relaciones de la Provincia de Yucatan. Published by the Real Academia de Historia in 1898.
ANOTHER EDITION OF ORTELIUS.
Yucatan a peninsula named either Atalanta or Atalania (print indistinct).
JOANNES MYRITIUS, OPUSCULUM GEOGRAPHICUM RARUM, INGOLDSTADT (Nord.).
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 large.
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.
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.
MATTHIAS QUADUS, FASCICULUS GEOGRAPHICUS, KÖLN (Nord.).
Hispania Nova. Yucatan a peninsula, but not named.
HONDIUS WORLD-MAP (E. S. L.).
General shape of Yucatan approximately correct. Tabasco is shown in the middle of the isthmus. Atalana in northeast corner of Yucatan.
MERCATOR, ED. IUDOCI HONDIJ, AMSTERDAM.
Yucatan a peninsula.
ANOTHER EDITION OF PORCACCHI DA CASTIGLIONE.
JOHN SPEED (London ?).
Yucatan shown as a peninsula.
WILLEM JANSZOON BLAEU, AMSTERDAM (E. L. S.).
Yucatan shown as a peninsula.
Another edition of MERCATOR.
MEXIQUE OU NOUVELLE ESPAGNE, PAR M. SANSON D'ABBEVILLE, PARIS.
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.
BLAAUW, AMSTERDAM, YUCATAN AND GUATIMALA.
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.
ARNOLDUS MONTANUS, AMSTERDAM.
A shameless "steal" from the preceding. (Montanus may, however, make acknowledgment in his text.) Practically identical with Blaauw, 1667.
EDWARD WELLES, LONDON.
Has Merida, Valladolid, Campeachy, and Vera Pax. Abo Guatimala.
JAILLOT'S MAP IN ALLARD'S ATLAS MINOR.
Has Merida, Valladolid, Campeche, Chetumal, Salamanca, Vera Pax, etc.
AVENDAÑO'S MAP. (See Plates Ia and Ib.)
Shows Lake Peten.
ATLAS MARITIMUS NOVUS, LONDON.
Has coasts only. Fairly correct.
1714 or just before
Has Merida and LAKE PETEN rightly placed.
MATTEO SEUTTER, ATLAS NOVUS, AUGSBURG.
Very poor. Gives few names. Southern portion of Yucatan much too narrow. No lake.
PLANO DE PARTE DE LA COSTA DR YUCATHAN ... LA QUE VISITÓ SU GOBERNADOR Y CAPITAN GENERAL D. ANTONIO CORTAYRE, AÑO 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.
ATLAS MARITIMUS ET COMMERCIALIS, LONDON.
Has "Jucatan" and Campeche, but not much else.
PIERRE VANDER AA, LEYDEN.
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
MIGUEL DE GUZMAN, PICTURE MAP OF PETEN, IN TORRES LANZAS.(See Plate II.)
ATLAS NOUVEAU, BY JEAN COVENS ET CORNEILLE MORTIER (Boston Athenaeum).
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.
OTTENS, ATLAS NOUVEAU, AMSTERDAM (vol. iv.).
Has the Yzues between Merida and Valladolid, and the Cocomes south of them. Cf. 1656, 1667, 1671.
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, Campeche, CHAVICH, QUEHACHES, TIPU, BATCAB, CHANES, ITZA, PETEN o LOS REMEDIOS, CHAXAL RIVER, MOPAN, Chol, Coban, etc. LACANDON and LOS DOLORES are located northwest of the lake.
PLANO Y DEMARCACÓN DEL CAMINO Y DISTANCIA DESDE LA CIUDAD DE MERIDA DE YUCATAN HASTA LA LAGUNA DE BACALAR ... DESDE EL PUEBLO DE CHUNHUHUB A LA LAGUNA AY 35 LEGUAS DE DESPOBLADO ... AÑO 1746. TORRES LANZAS, i, 114.
Shows all the towns on the road from Merida to Bacalar.
PLANO DEL RIO HONDO QUE SE COMUNICA CON LA LAGUNA DE BACALAR.... TORRES LANZAS, i. 115.
PLANO DE LOS TRES RIOS DE BALIZ NUEVO Y HONDO CITUADOS ENTRE EL GOLFO DULCE O PROVINCIA DE GOATEMALA, Y LA DE YUCATAN.... LA CITUACION DEL REAL PRESIDIO DE SAN PHELIPE DE BACALAR, EL CAMINO QUE DE EL VA A LA CAPITAL DE MERIDA, LA LAGUNA DEL 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.
JAQUES NICOLAS BELLIN, PARIS? (Cong. Lib.).
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.
CARTE DU MEXIQUE, MR. BONNE M. DE MATHEM, PARIS (Harvard College Library).
Gives Merida, Valladolid, Campeche, Sacahuchen (= Sahcabchen?), Tikax, Bacalar, Tzuthok, Salamanca, Sumasinta, TAVASAL, etc.
ATLAS PORTATIF, BELLIN, AMSTERDAM (Harvard College Library).
Much like Bellin, 1764.
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.
BRION DE LA TOUR, L'AMERIQUE SEPTENTRIONALE, PARIS (Cong. Lib.).Much like Bellin, 1764.
Lake is too far east and is not named.
TOMAS LOPEZ, MADRID, MAP OF YUCATAN IN 4 SHEETS (Cong. Lib.).
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 Yucatan.
DUDLEY COSTELLO, MAP OF YUCATAN, IN FANCOURT, 1854, and MACNUTT, 1908.
A clear and useful map with a few minor mistakes.
V. A. MALTE-BRUN, CARTE DU YUCATAN, PARIS.
A reliable and invaluable modern map with many place names, routes, etc.
MAPA ... DE YUCATAN, FOR JOAQUIN HÜBBE, ANDRÉS AZNAR PEREZ Y ... C. HERMANN BERENDT.
The best and largest and fullest map of Yucatan.
GUATEMALA, BY M. HENDGES, BUREAU OF AMERICAN REPUBLICS, 1902.
The best map of Guatemala. It has proved very valuable.
MAP OF THE REPUBLIC OF MEXICO. PAN AMERICAN UNION, 1915.
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.
ITINERARY OF AVENDAÑO, TOGETHER WITH
(See Plate VI)
First Trip June to September, 1695
June 3, 1695 Left Merida.
Canich, Cauich, Bolenchen, Bolonchen Cauich, OR 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.
Two towns, respectively two and three leagues from Cauich.
Two leagues from Hobon-ox.
One league from Chunzalam.
Three-fourths of a league from Vecanxan.
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.
Nohbecan or Nohvecan.
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.
Tzucthok, Suctok, Tzucthok, etc., or San Felipe.
On Costello, Malte-Brun, Lopez, Bellin, Brion de la Tour, and Bianconi-Mexico maps.
Chunpich or Paybono (?) among Cehaches.
Possibly at or near the Paybono or Botab of Lopez.
Second Trip Mid-December to Mid-February, 1695-1696
Sept 16-Dec 10
Leave Merida as result of Hariza's information.
Is on Lopez' map as Botab (?); is on Costello, Bailly, Malte-Brun, and Bellin's maps.
Jan. 6, 1696
Chuntucí or Chuntuqui.
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.
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 Chuntuqui.
Tanche or Nohtanche.
Four leagues from Oppol. On Lopez, Avendaño, and Bianconi-Mexico maps.
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.
Nohthub. Two leagues from Nohpek.
Bacechac or Concepción.
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
1792 Historia natural y moral de las Indias. Madrid. 2 vols.
1878 Historia de Yucatan. Merida. 4 vols.
Avendaño y Loyola, Fray Andrés de
Relation of Two Trips to Peten. MS. translated into English by Charles P. Bowditch and Señor Rivera. (See Chaps. VIII-X.)
Bandelier, Ad. F.
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.)
Bernal Diaz del Castillo
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.
Brasseur de Bourbourg, C. E.
1858 Histoire des nations civilizées du Mexique et de l'Amérique centrale durant les siècles antérieurs à Christophe Colomb. Paris. 4 vols.
Brasseur de Bourbourg, C. E., Editor
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.)
Carrillo y Ancona, Crescencio
1883 Historia antigua de Yucatan. Merida.
1895 El comercio en Yucatan antés del descubrimiento. 11th Sess. Inter. Cong. of Americanists, pp. 203-208. Mexico.
Cartas de Indias
Cervantes de Salazar, Francisco
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.
Cogolludo, Diego L.
1688 Historia de Yucathan. Madrid.
1908 Five Letters of Relation from Fernando Cortes to the Emperor Charles V. Translated and edited by Francis Augustus MacNutt. New York. 2 vols.
Dahlgren, E. W.
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.
Fuentes y Guzman
1882 Historia de Guatemala (1695). Madrid.
Garcia de Palacio, Diego
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.
Goodman, J. T.
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.
Hamy, E. T.
1897 Galerie américaine du Musée d'ethnographie au Trocadero. Paris.
Herrera Tordesillas, Antonio de
1601-15 Historia general de Indias. Madrid. 5 vols.
Holmes, W. H.
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
1864 See Brasseur de Bourgourg, Editor.
Larrabure y Unánue, Hipólito
1893 Monografias Historico-Americanas. Lima.
Lizana, Bernardo de
1633 Historia de Yucatan. Valladolid, 1633. (Reprint by Museo Nacional, 1893, Mexico.)
Lopez de Gomara, Francisco
See Gomara, Francisco Lopez de.
1801 Mapa ... de Yucatan. Madrid.
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.
Marjil de Jesus, Fray Antonio
See Tozzer, 1912.
Marroquín, Bishop of Guatemala
1865 Letter to the Curas of the Province of Soconusco. Documentos Ineditos, vol. iv, p. 130 ff.
Martinez Alomía, Gustavo
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, 19th Sess. Inter. Cong. of Americanists, pp. 236-252. Washington.
Merriman, Roger Bigelow
1912 Annals of Charles V. By Francisco Lopez de Gomara. Oxford.
Molina Solis, J. F.
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.
Orozco y Berra, Manuel
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. Madrid.
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.
Sanches de Leon, Pedro
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. Washington.
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.
Solorzano Pereira, Juan de
1647 Política Indiana. Madrid.
Spinden, Herbert J.
1913 A Study of Maya Art. Peabody Museum Memoirs, vol. vi. Cambridge, Mass.
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 York.
Stephens, John L.
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 reproductions.
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, 22nd Rept. Bureau of American Ethnology, pp. 197-305. Washington.
Thompson, Edward H.
1904 Archaeological Researches in Yucatan. Peabody Museum Memoirs, vol. iii, no. i. Cambridge, Mass.
Torres Lanzas, Pedro
1903 Relación descriptiva de los Mapas ... de Guatemala. Madrid.
Torquemada, Juan de
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 Americanists.
Ulloa y Santacilla, Jorge Juan de and Antonio de
1748 Relacion historica del viage a la America Meridional. Madrid. 4 vols.
Valentini, Philip J. J.
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.
Villagutierre y Sotomayor, Juan de
1701 Historia de la conquista de la provincia de el Itza. Madrid.
1875 Malartic Portolan. Paris.
Footnote 1.1: Mr. Bowditch (1901, p. 137) says that the earliest date at Quirigua is that on Stela C: 188.8.131.52.0. and that the latest is that on Stela K: 184.108.40.206.0. 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 1.2: 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 220.127.116.11.0. to 18.104.22.168.0. (about 210-480 A.D.).
Footnote 1.3: 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 1.4: 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 1.5: 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 1422-1444.
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 Sotuta.
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 1.6: 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../p>
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.
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, 1907.
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 image.
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.
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.
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 people...."
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 population.
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 conversion.
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.
Footnote 7.1: Avendaño (p. 1 recto) calls him Don Martin de Urssua y Arismendi.
Footnote 7.2: See Tozzer, 1912.
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.
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 July11-July17 was Vayeab
Feb. 1-Feb. 21 " Zac July17-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-May12 " Muan Oct. -Nov. " Zul
May12-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."
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 Christianized.
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 dialect.
Footnote A3.1: Nord. = Baron Nordenskiold's reproductions, Stockholm, 1889.
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.
PEABODY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ARCHAEOLOGY AND
ETHNOLOGY, HARVARD UNIVERSITY