In 1697 the island capital of
the Itz , in Lake Pet n, Guatemala, was stormed by Governor Mart n de Ursua, and
with it fell the last stronghold of the independent Maya. Here, also, the
manuscripts discovered were destroyed.
In 1728 Bishop Juan Gomez Parada died, beloved by the Indians for the laws
which he had procured mitigating the harshness of their servitude. The
reimposition of the former hard conditions brought about another revolt in 1761,
led by the chief Jacinto Canek, and ending, as usual, in the defeat of the
Indians, the destruction of their chief stronghold, and the death of their
leader under horrible torture.
In 1847, taking advantage of the Government's difficulties with the United
States, and urged on by their "unappeasable hatred toward their ruler from the
earliest time of the Spanish conquest", the Maya again broke out in general
rebellion, with the declared purpose of driving all the whites, half-breeds and
negroes from the peninsula, in which they were so far successful that all the
fugitives who escaped the wholesale massacres fled to the coast, whence most of
them were taken off by ships from Cuba. Arms and ammunition for the rising were
freely supplied to the Indians by the British traders of Belize.
In 1851 the rebel Maya established their headquarters at Chan-Santa-Cruz in
the eastern part of the peninsula. In 1853 it seemed as if a temporary
understanding had been reached, but next year hostilities began again. Two
expeditions against the Maya stronghold were repulsed, Valladolid was besieged
by the Indians, Yecax taken, and more than two thousand whites massacred.
In 1860 the Mexican Colonel Acereto, with 3,000 men occupied Chan-Santa-Cruz,
but was finally compelled to retire with the loss of 1,500 men killed, and to
abandon his wounded - who were all butchered - as well as his artillery and
supplies and all but a few hundred stand of small arms.
The Indians burned and ravaged in every direction, nineteen flourishing towns
being entirely wiped out, and the population in three districts being reduced
from 97,000 to 35,000. The war of extermination continued, with savage
atrocities, through 1864, when it gradually wore itself out, leaving the Indians
still unsubdued and well supplied with arms and munitions of war from Belize.
In 1868 it broke out again in resistance to the Juarez government. In 1871 a
Mexican force again occupied Chan-Santa-Cruz, but retired without producing any
permanent result. In 1901, after long preparation, a strong Mexican force
invaded the territory of the independent Maya both by land and sea, stormed
Chan-Santa-Cruz and, after determined resistance, drove the defenders into the
The end is not yet, however, for, even in this year of 1910, Mexican troops
are in the field to put down a serious rising in the northern part of the
- Catholic Encyclopedia