[Extracted from Incidents of Travel in Yucatan, (London, 1843), pp. 323-7.]

Principal Epochs of the Ancient History of Yucatan.

Maya. Translation.

Lai u tzolan Katun lukci ti cab ti yotoch Nonoual cante anilo Tutul Xiu ti chikin Zuina; u luumil u talelob Tulapan chiconahthan. Cante bin ti Katun lic u ximbalob ca uliob uaye yetel Holon Chantepeuh yetel u cuchulob: ca hokiob ti petene uaxac Ahau bin yan cuchi, uac Ahau, can Ahau, cabil Ahau, cankal haab catac hunppel haab, tumen hun piztun oxlahun Ahua cuchie ca uliob uay ti petene cankal haab catac hunppel haab tu pakteil yete cu xinbalob lukci tu luumilob ca talob uay ti petene Chacnouitan lae.

This is the series of "Katunes," or epochs, that elapsed from the time of their departure from the land and house of Nonoual, in which were the four Tutul Xiu, lying to the west of Zuina, going out of the country of Tulapan. Four epochs were spent in travelling before they arrived here, with Tolonchantepeuj and his followers. When they began their journey toward this island, it was the 8th Ajau, and the 6th, 4th, and 2d were spent in travelling; because in the first year of the 13th Ajau they arrived at this island, making together eighty-one years they were travelling, between their departure from their country and their arrival at this island of Chacnouitan.

Uaxac Ahua, uac Ahua, cabil Ahua kuchci Chacnouitan Ahmekat Tutul Xiu hunppel haab minan ti hokal haab cuchi yanob Chacnouitan lae. In the 8th Ajau arrived Ajmekat Tutul Xiu, and ninety-nine years they remained in Chacnouitan.
Laitun uchci u chicpahal Tzucubte Ziyan-caan lae Bakhalal, can Ahua, cabil Ahua, oxlahun Ahua oxkal haab cu tepalob Ziyan-caan ca emob uay lae: lai u haabil cu tepalob Bakhalal chuulte laitun chicpahi Chichen Itza lae. Then took place the discovery of the province of Ziyan-caan, or Bacalar; the 4th Ajau, the 2d, and the 13th, or sixty years, they ruled in Ziyan-caan, when they came here. During these years of their government of the province of Bacalar occurred the discovery of Chichen Itza.
Buluc Ahau, bolon Ajau, uuc Ahau, ho Ahau, ox Ahau, hun Ahau uac kal haab cu tepalob Chichen Itza ca paxi Chichen Itza, ca binob cahtal Chanputun ti yanhi u yotochob ah Ytzaob kuyen uincob lae. The 11th Ajau, 9th, 7th, 5th, 3d, and 1st Ajau, or 120 years, they ruled in Chichen Itza, when it was abandoned, and they emigrated to Champoton, where the Ytzaes, holy men, had houses.
Uac Ahau, chucuc u luumil Chanputun, can Ahau, cabil Ahau, oxlahun Ahau, buluc Ahau, bolon Ahau, uuc Ahau, ho Ahau, ox Ahau, hun Ahau, lahca Ahau, lahun Ahau; uaxac Ahau paxci Chanputun, oxlahun kaal haab cu tepalob Chanputun tumenel Ytza uinicob ca talob u tzaclé u yotochob tu caten, laix tun u katunil binciob ah Ytzaob yalan che yalan aban yalan ak ti numyaob lae. The 6th Ajau they took possession of the territory of Champoton; the 4th Ajau, 2d, 13th, 11th, 9th, 7th, 5th, 3d, 1st, 12th, 10th, and the 8th, Champoton was destroyed or abandoned. Two hundred and sixty years reigned the Ytzaes in Champoton, when they returned in search of their homes, and then they lived for several epochs under the uninhabited mountains.
Uac Ahau, can Ahau, ca kal haab catalob u hecob yotoch tu caten ca tu zatahob Chakanputun. The 6th Ajau, 4th Ajau, after 40 years, they returned to their homes once more, and Champoton was lost to them.
Lai u katunil cabil Ahau, u hecci cab Ahcuitok Tutul Xiu Uxmal. Cabil Ahau, oxlahun Ahau, buluc Ahau, bolon Ahau, uuc Ahau, ho Ahau, ox Ahau, hun Ahau, lahca Ahau, lahun Ahau, lahun kal haab cu tepalob yetel u halach uinicil Chichen Itza yetel Mayalpan. In this Katun of 2d Ajau, Ajcuitok Tutul Xiu established himself in Uxmal; the 2d Ajau, the 13th, 11th, 9th, 7th, 5th, 3d, 1st, the 12th and the 10th Ajau, equal to 200 years, they governed and reigned in Uxmal, with the governors of Chichen Itza and of Mayapan.
Lai u katunil buluc Ajau, bolon Ahau, uac Ahau, uaxac Ahau, paxci u halach uinicil Chichen Itza tumenel u kebanthan Hunac-eel, ca uch ti Chacxib-chac Chichen Itza tu kebanthan Hunac-eel u halach uinicil Mayalpan ichpac. Cankal haab catac lahun piz haab, tu lahun tun uaxac Ahau cuchie; lai u haabil paxci tumenel Ahzinteyutchan yetel Tzunte-cum, yetel Taxcal, yetel Pantemit, Xuch-ucuet, yetel Ytzcuat, yetel Kakaltecat lay u kaba uinicilob lae nuctulob ahmayapanob lae. After the lapse of the Ajau Katunes of 11th, 9th, 6th Ajau, in the 8th the Governor of Chichen Itza was deposed, because he murmured disrespectfully against Tunac-eel; this happened to Chacxibchac of Chichen Itza, who had spoken against Tunac-eel, governor of the fortress of Mayalpan. Ninety years had elapsed, but the 10th of the 8th Ajau was the year in which he was overthrown by Ajzinte-yutchan, with Tzunte-cum, Taxcal, Pantemit, Xuch-ucuet, Ytzcuat, and Kakaltecat; these are the names of the 7 Mayalpanes.
Laili u katunil uaxac Ahua, lai ca binob u pà ah Ulmil Ahua tumenel u uahal-uahob yetel ah Ytzmal Ulil Ahua lae Oxlahun uuc u katunilob ca paxob tumen Hunac-eel tumenel u cabal u naátob; uac Ahua ca coci: hunkal haab catac can lahun pizí. In this same period, or Katun, of the 8th Ajau, they attacked King Ulmil, in consequence of his quarrel with Ulil, king of Yzamal; thirteen divisions of troops had he when he was routed by Tunac-eel; in the 6th Ajau the war was over, after 34 years.
Uac Ahua, can Ahua, cabil Ahua, oxlahun Ahua, buluc ahua, chucuc u luumil ich pà Mayalpan, tumenel u pach tulum, tumenel multepal ich cah Mayalpan, tumenel Ytza uinicob yetel ah Ulmil Ahua lae, can kaal haab catac oxppel haab; yocol buluc Ahua cuchie paxci Mayalpan tumenel ahuitzil cul, tan cah Mayalpan. In the 6th Ajau, 4th Ajau, 2d Ajau, 13th Ajau, 11th Ajau, the fortified territory of Mayalpan was invaded by the men of Ytza, under their King Ulmil, because they had walls, and governed in common the people of Mayalpan; eighty-three years elapsed after this event, and at the beginning of the 11th Ajau Mayalpan was destroyed by strangers of the Uitzes, or Highlanders, as was also Tancaj of Mayalpan.
Uaxac Ahua lay paxci Mayalpan lai u katunil uac Ahua, can Ahua, cabil Ahua, lai haab ca yax mani upañoles u yaxilci caa luumi Yucatan tzucubte lae, oxkal haab páxac ich pà cuchie. In the 6th Ajau Mayalpan was destroyed; the epochs of 6th Ajau, 4th and 2d Ajau, elapsed, and at this period the Spaniards, for the first time, arrived, and gave the name of Yucatan to this province, sixty years after the destruction of the fortress.
Oxlahun Ahua, buluc Ahua, uchci mayacimil ich pà yetel nohkakil: oxlahun Ahua cimci Ahpulá uacppel haab u binel ma cococ u xocol oxlahun Ahua cuchie, ti yanil u xocol haab ti lakin cuchie, canil kan cumlahi pop, tu holhun Zip catac oxppeli, bolon Ymix u kinil lai cimci Ahpulá; laitun año cu ximbal cuchi lae ca oheltabac lay u xoc numeroil años lae 1536 años cuchie, oxkal haab paaxac ich pà cuchi lae. The 13th Ajau, 11th Ajau, pestilence and smallpox were in the castles. In the 13th Ajau Ajpula died; six years were wanting to the completion of the 13th Ajau; this year was counted toward the east of the wheel, and began on the 4th "Kan." Ajpula died on the 18th day of the month Zip, in the 9th Ymix; and that it may be known in numbers, it was the year 1536, sixty years after the demolition of the fortress.
Laili ma cococ u xocol buluc Ahua lae lai ulci erpañoles kul uincob ti lakin u talob ca uliob uay tac hurmil lae bolon Ahua hoppci cristianoil uchci caputzihil: laili ichil u katunil lae ulci yax obispo Toroba u kaba. Before the termination of the 11th Ajau the Spaniards arrived; holy men from the East came with them when they reached this land. The 9th Ajau was the commencement of baptism and Christianity; and in this year was the arrival of Toral, the first bishop.

Thus far only from the Maya manuscript, because the other events cited are posterior to the conquest, and of little historical interest. Although this manuscript may contain some errors which should be rectified, still, as these are committed in the numeration of the epochs, or Ajaues, which do not keep a correlative numerical order, it was very easy for the author, who wrote from memory, to transpose them, preserving solely the number of periods which elapsed between the occurrence of one and the other event, without designating correctly the sign of the period. I repeat that the writer of this epitome did it from memory, because it was done long after the conquest: the histories, paintings, and hieroglyphics of the Indians had about this period been collected by order of Bishop Landa, as is related by Cogolludo in his history; and likewise because his historical narrative is so succinct, that it appears rather a list than a circumstantial detail of the events. But, notwithstanding these defects, as the manuscript is the only one which has been found treating of this matter, it is well worthy the trouble of correcting and analyzing it, on account of the ideas which it communicates respecting the ancient history and establishment of the principal peoples of that time, whose ruins are admired at the present day, such as those of Chichen and Uxmal; deducing from these, what were the others which the traveller encounters, and whose origin is unknown.

The manuscript may be abridged in the following manner: "Four epochs were expended by the Toltecos between their departure from their city under the direction of Tolonchante Peech, and their arrival at Chacnouitan.1 They arrived at this province of Chacnouitan in the first year of the following epoch, and remained in the same place with their captain Ajmekat Tutul Xiu during the space of four epochs more.2 They discovered Ziyancan, or Bacalar, and governed in it three epochs, until they came to Chichen Itza.3 They remained here until their departure to colonize Champoton, a period of six epochs.4 From the discovery of Champoton, where they settled and reigned until it was destroyed, and they lost it, thirteen epochs elapsed.5 They were wanderers among the hills during two epochs, when they established themselves for the second time at Chichen Itza.6 In the following epoch, Ajcuitok Tutul Xiu colonized Uxmal, and reigned with the governor of Mayapan during ten epochs.7 After a farther lapse of three epochs, and on the tenth year of the one following, Chacxibchac, governor of Chichen Itza, was defeated by Tunac-eel, governor of Mayapan, and his seven generals.8 In this same epoch of the defeat of the Governor of Chichen, they marched to attack Ulmil, king of Chichen, because he had made war against Ulil, king of Yzamal, and the object was effected by Tunac-eel in the following epoch.9 After this epoch, Ulmil, king of Chichen, recovering from his defeat, invaded the territory of Mayapan in the following epoch, and, after the lapse of two more, and in the third year of the one following, Mayapan was destroyed by the strangers, inhabitants of the hills.10 After the lapse of three more epochs, the Spaniards arrived for the first time, and gave to this province the name of Yucatan.11 In the following epoch occurred the plague, which visited even the temples and castles; and in its sixth year Ajpula died, on the 11th of September, 1493.12 In the eleventh epoch, and the last of this record, was the arrival of the conquerors; this happened in 1527.13 In the following epoch the conquest was finished, and the first bishop reached the province: the first occurred in January, 1541, and the other in 1560."



1 From the year 144 of the vulgar era up to 217.

2 From 218 until 360.

3 From 260 until 432.

4 From 432 until 576.

5 From 576 until 888.

6 From 888 until 936.

7 From 926 until 1176.

8 From 1176 until 1258, in which was the defeat.

9 From 1258 until 1272.

10 From 1272 until 1368, the date of the destruction of Mayapan. And the following, from 1368 to 1392.

11 From 1392 until 1488.

12 From 1488 until 1512.

13 From 1512 until 1536, which concluded the eleventh epoch; the following one beginning in 1536, and concluding in the year 1560.