« FöregåendeFortsätt »
SANTA CRUZ DEL QUICHE. 171
as we looked through the gratings, we saw lying on the ground, with only a few rags of covering, shivering in the cold. The alcalde provided us with supper, and promised to procure us a guide to the ruins.
Early in the morning, with a Mestitzo armed with a long basket-hilted sword, who advised us to carry our weapons, as the people were not to be trusted, we set out for the ruins. At a short distance we passed another immense barranca, down which, but a few nights before, an Indian, chased by alguazils, either fell or threw himself off into the abyss, fifteen hundred feet deep, and was dashed to pieces. At about a mile from the village we came to a range of elevations, extending to a great distance, and connected by a ditch, which had evidently formed the line of fortifications for the ruined city. They consisted of the remains of stone buildings, probably towers, the stones well cut and laid together, and the mass of rubbish around abounded in flint arrow-heads. Within this line was an elevation, which grew more imposing as we approached, square, with terraces, and having in the centre a tower, in all one hundred and twenty feet high. We ascended by steps to three ranges of terraces, and on the top entered an area enclosed by stone walls, and covered with hard cement, in many places still perfect. Thence we ascended by stone steps to the top of the tower, the whole of which was formerly covered with stucco, and stood as a fortress at the entrance of the great city of Utatlan, the capital of the kingdom of the Quiche Indians.
According to Fuentes, the chronicler of the kingdom of Guatimala, the kings of Quiche and Kachiquel were descended from the Toltecan Indians, who, when they came into this country, found it already inhabited by people of different nations. According to the manuscript of Don Juan Torres, the grandson of the last king of the Quiches, which was in the possession of the lieutenant-general appointed by Pedro de Alvarado, and which Fuenles says he obtained by means of Father Francis Vasques, the historian of the order of San Francis, the Toltecas themselves descended from the house of Israel, who were released by Moses from the tyranny of Pharaoh, and after crossing the Red Sea, fell into idolatry. To avoid the reproofs of Moses, or from fear of his inflicting upon them some chastisement, they separated from him and hia brethren. and under the guidance of Tanub, their chief, passed from one continent to the other, to a place which they called the seven caverns, a part of the kingdom of Mexico, where they founded the celebrated city of Tula. From Tanub sprang the families of the kings of Tula and Quiche, and the first monarch of the Toltecas. Nimaquiche, the fifth king of that line, and more beloved than any of his predecessors, was directed by an oracle to leave Tula, with his people, who had by this time multiplied greatly, and conduct them from the kingdom of Mexico to that of Guatimala. In performing this journey they consumed many years, suffered extraordinary hardships, and wandered over an immense tract of country, until they discovered the Lake of Atitlan, and resolved to settle near it in a country which they called Quiche.
Nimaquiche was accompanied by his three brothers, and it was agreed to divide the new country between them. Nimaquich6 died; his son Axcopil became chief of the Quiches, Kachiquels, and Zutugiles, and was at the head of his nation when they settled in Quiche, and the first monarch who reigned in Utatlan. Under him
HISTORY OP THE QUICHES. 173
the monarchy rose to a high degree of splendour. To relieve himself from some of the fatigues of administration, he appointed thirteen captains or governors, and at a very advanced age divided his empire into three kingdoms, viz., the Quiche, the Kachiquel, and the Zutugil, retaining the first for himself, and giving the second to his eldest son Jintemal, and the third to his youngest son Acxigual. This division was made on a day when three suns were visible at the same time, which extraordinary circumstance, says the manuscript, has induced some persons to believe that it was made on the day of our Saviour's birth. There were seventeen Toltecan kings who reigned in Utatlan, the capital of Quiche, whose names have come down to posterity, but they are so hard to write out that I will take it for granted the reader is familiar with them.
Their history, like that of man in other parts of the world, is one of war and bloodshed. Before the death of Axcopil his sons were at war, which, however, was settled by his mediation, and for two reigns peace existed. In the reign of Balam Acan, the next king of Quiche, while living on terms of great intimacy and friendship with his cousin Zutugilcbpop, king of the Zutugiles, the latter abused his generosity and ran away with his daughter Ixconsocil; and at the same time Iloacab, his relative and favourite, ran away with Ecselixpua, the niece of the king. The rape of Helen did not produce more wars and bloodshed than the carrying off of these two young ladies with unpronounceable names. Balam Acan was naturally a mild man, but the abduction of his daughter was an affront not to be pardoned. With eighty thousand veterans, himself in the centre squadron, adorned with three diadems and other regal ornaments, carried in a rich chair of state,