Thirteen Spaniards were injured by arrows in the first assault, but the conquistadors regrouped and repulsed the Maya attack. The Yucatán Peninsula is bordered by the Caribbean Sea to the east and by the Gulf of Mexico to the north and west. [85] The Maya prepared for battle but the Spanish horses and firearms quickly decided the outcome. Other conquests followed in the Petén and Guatemala, but the spectacular Conquest of Mexico attracted many historians and chroniclers who recorded the event and what remained of Aztec civilization. From the natives they received a few gold trinkets and news of the riches of the Aztec Empire to the west. He initially met with resistance from the veteran conquistadores who had already established themselves in the region. [266], Montejo the Younger then sent his cousin to Chauaca where most of the eastern lords greeted him in peace. [7] The native population of the northeastern portion of the peninsula was almost completely eliminated within fifty years of the conquest. [271] At around this time the Spanish decided on the reduction of the independent Mopan Maya living to the north of Lake Izabal. Referred to as "Tonatiuh" or "Sun God" by the Aztecs because of his blonde hair and white skin, Alvarado was violent, cruel and ruthless, even for a conquistador for whom such traits were practically a given. [121] By 1524, Soconusco had been completely pacified by Alvarado and his forces. [107] Montejo the Younger founded Salamanca de Xicalango as a base of operations. [306] Captain Pedro de Zubiaur, García’s senior officer, arrived at Lake Petén Itza with 60 musketeers, two Franciscans, and allied Yucatec Maya warriors. [59] Soconusco also suffered catastrophic population collapse, with an estimated 90–95% drop. Upon his release, he met up with his son in Xicalango, Tabasco, and they then both rejoined d'Avila at Champotón. Before the conquest, this territory contained a number of competing Mesoamerican kingdoms, the majority of which were Maya. The richer lands of Mexico engaged the main attention of the Conquistadors for some years, then in 1526 Francisco de Montejo (a veteran of the Grijalva and Cortés expeditions)[194] successfully petitioned the King of Spain for the right to conquer Yucatán. Champoton was the last Spanish outpost in the Yucatán Peninsula; it was increasingly isolated and the situation there became difficult. [278] Soon afterwards, on 27 January 1624, an Itza war party led by AjK'in P'ol caught Mirones and his soldiers off guard and unarmed in the church at Sakalum and slaughtered them. [33] In the 17th century the Yalain capital was located at the site of that name on the north shore of Lake Macanché. [288] The expedition almost immediately withdrew back to Cahabón. The town was fortified with a wooden palisade and was surrounded by a moat. The Spanish soldiers opened fire with their muskets, and the Itza retreated across the lake with their prisoners, who included the two Franciscans. Godoy and Testera were soon in conflict and the friar was forced to abandon Champoton and return to central Mexico. Avendaño was accompanied by another friar, a lay brother, and six Christian Maya. The first Spanish conquest in the Americas was the island of Hispaniola. [287] At the lakeshore, the Spanish encountered such a large force of Itzas that they retreated south, back to their main camp. [208] By this time, the indigenous population had been greatly reduced by a combination of disease and famine. Champoton was the last Spanish outpost in the Yucatán Peninsula; it was increasingly isolated and the situation there became difficult. Average temperature in the peninsula varies from 24 °C (75 °F) in January to 29 °C (84 °F) in July. Montejo returned in 1531 with a force that allied with the Maya port city of Campeche. MINEDUC (2001). [65] The Spanish were sufficiently impressed by the quilted cotton armour of their Maya enemies that they adopted it in preference to their own steel armour. It incorporates the modern Mexican states of Yucatán, Quintana Roo and Campeche, the eastern portion of the state of Tabasco, most of the Guatemalan department of Petén, and all of Belize. [40] Conquistador Diego Godoy accompanied Luis Marín on his reconnaissance of Chiapas, and wrote an account of the battle against the inhabitants of Chamula. Montejo's party then continued to Sisia and Loche before heading back to Xelha. [95] On 23 February 1517,[96] the Spanish spotted the Maya city of Campeche. Various freshwater springs rise along the coast to form watering holes. The Spanish party retreated in defensive formation to the safety of the ships. [124] His aim was to subdue the rebellious Cristóbal de Olid, whom he had sent to conquer Honduras, and who had set himself up independently in that territory. [51], In 1511 the Spanish caravel Santa María de la Barca set sail along the Central American coast under the command of Pedro de Valdivia. [75] At the mouth of the Tabasco River the Spanish sighted massed warriors and canoes but the natives did not approach. "Los Gonzalo de Alvarado, Conquistadores de Guatemala" (in es). [38] Those areas of the peninsula that experience damper conditions, particularly those possessing swamplands, became rapidly depopulated after the conquest with the introduction of malaria and other waterborne parasites. This battle marked the final conquest of the northern portion of the Yucatán Peninsula. The terrible plagues that swept the peninsula were recorded in Yucatec Maya written histories, which combined with those of neighbouring Maya peoples in the Guatemalan Highlands, suggest that smallpox was rapidly transmitted throughout the Maya area the same year that it arrived in central Mexico with the forces under the command of Pánfilo Narváez. [279] Spanish reinforcements arrived too late. The Mam army advanced across the plain in battle formation and was met by a Spanish cavalry charge that threw them into disarray, with the infantry mopping up those Mam that survived the cavalry. His expedition passed through the towns of Xamanha, Mochis and Belma, none of which survives today. [266], On 8 November 1546 an alliance of eastern provinces launched a coordinated uprising against the Spanish. [270], The leaders of Xocolo and Amatique, backed by the threat of Spanish action, persuaded a community of 190 Toquegua to settle on the Amatique coast in April 1604. [29] In the southern portion of the peninsula, a number of polities occupied the Petén Basin. The expedition recruited further forces on the march north to the Cuchumatanes. His campaign is largely undocumented but in January 1528 he successfully established the settlement of San Cristóbal de los Llanos in the Comitán valley, in the territory of the Tojolabal Maya. In 1553 the population was recorded at around 4,000. [49] This was the first recorded contact between Europeans and the Maya. ... we waited until they came close enough to shoot their arrows, and then we smashed into them; as they had never seen horses, they grew very fearful, and we made a good advance ... and many of them died. [123] His expedition was later joined by Franciscan friar Diego Delgado. "Defensive Architecture and the Context of Warfare at Zacpetén". Mérida and Campeche were forewarned of the impending attack; Montejo the Younger and his cousin were in Campeche. [175] The Spanish friars became lost and suffered great hardships, including the death of one of Avendaño's companions,[176] but after a month wandering in the forest found their way back to Chuntuki, and from there returned to Mérida. Alvarado was deeply suspicious of K'iche' intentions but accepted the offer and marched to Q'umarkaj with his army. The Tz'utujil kingdom had its capital on the shore of Lake Atitlán. With local guides they headed into the hills north of Lake Izabal, where their guides abandoned them to their fate. [159], In 1524 Luis Marín led a small party on a reconnaissance expedition into Chiapas. [76] At Cozumel, Cortés heard rumours of bearded men on the Yucatán mainland, who he presumed were Europeans. [156] He was unable to find the Kejache but did manage to get information regarding a path that led southwards to the Itza kingdom. The San Mateo group headed northeast into the Lacandon Jungle,[246] and joined up with Jacinto de Barrios Leal, president of the Royal Audiencia of Guatemala. Salazar, Gabriel (2000) [1620]. [283] At the beginning of March 1695, Captain Alonso García de Paredes led a group of 50 Spanish soldiers south into Kejache territory, accompanied by native guides, muleteers and labourers. The Cupul Maya also opposed Spanish domination, but were quickly defeated. [131], No Spanish military expeditions were launched against the Maya of Belize, although both Dominican and Franciscan friars penetrated the region in attempts at evangelising the natives. [171] The Kaqchikel kept up resistance against the Spanish for a number of years, but on 9 May 1530, exhausted by warfare,[172] the two kings of the most important clans returned from the wilds. [83] In Tabasco, Cortés anchored his ships at Potonchán,[84] a Chontal Maya town. Uaymil was in the southeast, and Chetumal was to the south of it; all three bordered on the Caribbean Sea. The fledgling Spanish colony was moved to nearby Xamanha,[203] modern Playa del Carmen, which Montejo considered to be a better port. [26] A significant Maya presence remained in Petén into the Postclassic period after the abandonment of the major Classic period cities; the population was particularly concentrated near permanent water sources. The king of the Itza, cited Itza prophecy and said the time was not yet right. [153] Avendaño continued south along the course of the new road, finding increasing evidence of Spanish military activity. Clendinnen 1989, 2003, p. 21. These events ended all Spanish attempts to contact the Itza until 1695. [269] The Contact Period in the Petén lowlands lasted from 1525 through to 1700. They stayed for some days in an attempt to evangelise the Itza, but the Aj Kan Ekʼ refused to renounce his Maya religion, although he showed interest in the masses held by the Catholic missionaries. [117] As a result of the uprising and the Spanish response, many of the Maya inhabitants of the eastern and southern territories fled to the still unconquered Petén Basin, in the extreme south of the peninsula. The original plan was for the province of Yucatán to build the northern section and for Guatemala to build the southern portion, with both meeting somewhere in Chʼol territory; the plan was later modified to pass further east, through the kingdom of the Itza. They wore padded cotton armour to protect themselves. [92] By this time the remnants of the expedition had been reduced to a few hundred; Cortés succeeded in contacting the Spaniards he was searching for, only to find that Cristóbal de Olid's own officers had already put down his rebellion. [69] The two ships sailed through a storm for two days and nights; Alaminos, the pilot, then steered a course for Florida, where they found good drinking water, although they lost one man to the local Indians and another drank so much water that he died. [266] The provinces of Cupul, Cochua, Sotuta, Tazes, Uaymil, Chetumal and Chikinchel united in an effort to drive the invaders from the peninsula; the uprising lasted four months. Attempts to convert the Itza failed, and the friars left Nojpetén on friendly terms with Kan Ekʼ. [328], In the late 17th century the small population of Ch'ol Maya in southern Petén and Belize was forcibly removed to Alta Verapaz, where the people were absorbed into the Q'eqchi' population. [127] Cortés accepted an invitation from Kan Ek' to visit Nojpetén. [152] This latter group left Mérida on 2 June 1695. Olmos then launched a disastrous full-scale frontal assault on the city. [88], In 1511 the Spanish caravel Santa María de la Barca sailed along the Central American coast under the command of Pedro de Valdivia. [255] The Land of War described an area that was undergoing conquest; it was a region of dense forest that was difficult for the Spanish to penetrate militarily. Mercederian friar Diego de Rivas was based at Dolores del Lakandon, and he and his fellow Mercederians baptised several hundred Lakandon Ch'ols in the following months and established contacts with neighbouring Ch'ol communities. Native resistance to the new nucleated settlements took the form of the flight into inaccessible regions such as the forest or joining neighbouring Maya groups that had not yet submitted to the European conquerors. [302] The Franciscans baptised over 300 Itza children over the following four days. [209] Mazariegos entered into protracted three-month negotiations with the Spanish settlers in Coatzacoalcos (Espíritu Santo) and San Cristóbal de los Llanos. [nb 1], The conquistadors were all volunteers, the majority of whom did not receive a fixed salary but instead a portion of the spoils of victory, in the form of precious metals, land grants and provision of native labour. Cortés then returned to Mexico by sea. [238] Repeated expeditions into the Lacandon Forest succeeded in destroying some villages but did not manage to subdue the inhabitants of the region, nor bring it within the Spanish Empire. This successful resistance against Spanish attempts at domination served to attract ever more Indians fleeing colonial rule. The Spanish stormed the wall, to find that the inhabitants had withdrawn under cover of torrential rain that had interrupted the battle. [349] When the Spanish finally conquered Petén in 1697 they produced a vast quantity of documentation. Colonial opposition to the Dominicans was such that the Dominicans were forced to flee Ciudad Real in fear of their lives. García decided to retreat around the middle of April. The nervous Sajkabʼchen sentries feared that the residents were returning en masse and discharged their muskets at them, with both groups then retreating. With the defeat of the Itza, the last independent and unconquered native kingdom in the Americas fell to the Spanish. Shortly after their first expeditions to the region in the 16th century, the Spanish attempted to subjugate the Maya polities several times. [132], Following these killings, Spanish garrisons were stationed in several towns in southern Yucatán, and rewards were offered for the whereabouts of AjKʼin Pʼol. The mounted conquistador was highly manoeuvrable and allowed groups of combatants to quickly displace themselves across the battlefield. [246] On 28 February 1695, all three groups left their respective bases of operations to conquer the Lacandon. 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