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Zaculeu

IMAGE # D37

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Zaculeu, was the Capitol City of the Mam (Grand Parent) kingdom, during the Post Classic, Its name in Mam was Xinabajul and the K'iche conquerors changed it to its current name, Zaculeu, that means White Land in K'iché. The site is located  5 Km east of  Huehuetenango city, and 267 Km. West from Guatemala City, on a paved road. The site is partially restored, and there is a museum that has Ceramics from burials and other objects found there. The royal elites were the: Kachib’ix, B’amak’, Tzizol and Nima Amak’. The Mam territory, extended from Pochulum or Xalcatja , to the southwest, to  Momostenango in the northwest and  Tzicaché, today's Huitán.  The mames had 4 important cities: Xinabjul, the most important, now Zaculeu; Kulajá, Chikitzak and Tzolojtze´. The Mam king Chunza Yo´k, fought the K'ichés leaded by  K'ikab and Kakisinaj, but he lost his life and the city of  Kulajá.

Founded on 400 AD, Zaculeu was an important commerce route between Kaminaljuyú and Teotihuacán, during the early Classic, and with other cultures in the Late Classic and Post Classic. The Mam were one of the oldest inhabitants of this area, The Popol Vuh narrates the travel of the K'iché people, through the Mam teritory around 1000 AD.   Xinabajul was conquered by the K'iché King, Kicab the great, around 1450 AD, --The same that expelled the Kakchiquels from Chaiviar (Chichicastenango), years before-- and he changed its name to Zaculeu. The Mam chief established in today's  Quetzaltenango valley, naned “Yo’c” resisted the K'iché, but many fell giving this place the name of  Aj Kamik, meaning  “Place of Death”. After Kicab death, the Mam regain power and named Acab as their king, who belonged to the Cavec house, one of the main families, who claimed a direct descendant from Balam Acab, one of the founders of the K'iché empire, thus named his first born Kaibil Balam, born on 1492. He was trained as a warrior and belonged to the elite group named Quachic, that received a very hard training, he never surrender to the conquistadores and kept a "guerrilla warfare" against them. (The elite forces in today's Guatemalan Army are named Kaibil after him). Zaculeu was located in a well defended plateau, and conquered on October 27, 1525, after a 4 month siege, by Gonzalo de Alvarado, commanding some 20,000 Tlaxcaltec indians from mexico and Scale Model in site's museum110 Spaniards with guns and cannons, that could not defeat in the several battles the 18,000 Mam army during the kingship of Kaibil Balam. The Mames for its Warfare had 4 main weapons namedMacahuitl, with Obsidian edges Macuahuitl, a heavy axe with 3 rows of obsidian that can cut a man in half; the Atlatl, a long distance dart,  the Itzli, a leather bag with arrows and large spears.

The site's architecture shows several palaces and Pyramid temples with altars in front, a large Ball Court and several housing complex.  The style is typical from de Postclassic, with columns and flat roofs. There are no Hieroglyphic or Carved monuments there. Some skulls with healed bones have been documented here, showing the advance Medicine practiced here.

The site in very close to Huehuetenango and Chiantla, with very good access, it also has a museum and can be visited in 2 hours.

 

     

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Last updated 28/01/2011 17:07:34 -0500
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