Spanish Conquest of Peten Itza 1697

Peten Itza (Tah Itza, Tayassal) was the last independent Maya city, located in the jungle region of Peten (modern Guatemala), on Lake Peten. It was founded by the Itza people who had migrated there after leaving Chichen Itza and Mayapan.
Since 1677, Spanish expeditions were sent into the rainforest regions of Belize, since 1687 into the Peten. In July 1695, Captain Francisco de Hariza y Arruyo tried to establish contact with Peten-Itza, sending presents to Tah Itza. A Spanish force of 100 men invaded Peten territory, where a force of 4,000 armed men was assembled. The appearance of a Spanish armed force caused many Peten Indios to flee into Belize. The Spanish force was defeated.
On March 14th 1697 Spanish forces commanded by General Don Martin de Urzua y Arismendi attacked the city; they found an empty city without provisions - the population had fled into the jungle. The Spanish had to abandon Tah Itza because of a lack of supplies.
In 1700, the remaining population was forced by the Spanish to resettle at Ciudad de Flores; many Itza remained in the jungle and continued to resist. Meanwhile, the British had established a sphere of influence on the eastern coast - British Honduras. Many of the Peten Maya moved into that territory, only nominally British, and long contested by Spain.

Peten Online Information, from Mostly Maya
Datos Historicos, from Peten, posted by the Government of Guatemala, in Spanish
Early History of Belize, 1655-1901
Spanish Conquest of Yucatan, from Wikipedia
Teobert Maler, The Conquistador's Horse, from Mesoweb, account written on expeditions into Yucatan undertaken 1898-1905, illustrated (on Maya History; reference to Tah Itza)
REFERENCE Grant D. Jones, The Conquest of the Last Maya Kingdom, Stanford UP 1998, 550 pages

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on March 14th 2004, last revised on November 19th 2004

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