Monday, March 26, 2012

Maya Political Condition at the Time of the Conquest.

Maya Political Condition at the Time of the Conquest.

When the Spaniards first explored the coasts of Yucatan they found the peninsula divided into a number of Maya political independent petty states. According to an authority followed by Herrera, these were eighteen in number. There is no complete list of their names, nor can we fix with certainty their boundaries. The following list gives their approximate position. On the west coast, beginning at the south—
The Maya Political System:
1.Acalan, on the Bahia de Terminos.
2.Tixchel (or Telchac?)
3.Champoton (Chakanputun, or Potonchan).
4.Kinpech (Campech or Campeche).
5.Canul (Acanul or H’ Canul).
7.Cehpech, in which Merida was founded.
8.Zipatan, on the northwest coast.
On the east coast, beginning at the north—The Maya Political System was divided:
9.Choaca, near Cape Cotoche.
10.Ekab, opposite the Island of Cozumel.
11.Conil, or of the Cupuls.

Bakhalal, or Bacalar.


Taitza, the Peten district.
[26]The Maya political system in the Central provinces—

H’ Chel (or Ah Kin Chel) in which Itzamal was located.

Zotuta, of the Cocoms.

Mani, of the Xius.

Cochuah (or Cochva, or Cocolá), the principal town of which was Ichmul.
As No. 15, the Peten district, was not conquered by the Spaniards until 1697, it was doubtless not included in the list drawn up by Herrera’s authority, so that the above would correspond with his statement.
Each of these Mayan politcial provinces was ruled by a hereditary chief, who was called batab, or batabil uinic (uinic=man). He sometimes bore two names, the first being that of his mother, the second of his father, as Can Ek, in which Can was from the maternal, Ek from the paternal line. The surname (kaba) descended through the male. It was called hach kaba, the true name, or hool kaba, the head name. Much attention was paid to preserving the genealogy, and the word for “of noble birth” was ah kaba, “he who has a name.”
Each Mayan village of a province was organized under a ruler, who was styled halach uinic, the true or real man. Frequently he was a junior member [of the reigning family. He was assisted by a second in command, termed ah kulel, as a lieutenant, and various subordinate officials, whose duties will be explained in the notes to Nakuk Pech’s narrative.
Personal tenure of land did not exist. The town lands were divided out annually among the members of the community, as their wants required, the consumption of each adult being calculated at twenty loads (of a man) of maize each year, this being the staple food.