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Late Postclassic


Late Postclassic (A.D. 1200-1502)

At the start of the Late Postclassic period Chichen Itza, Mayapan  and Izamal were among  the most prominent cities in the Yucatan.  The ruler of Chichen was a man named Chac Xib Chac and that of Mayapan was Hunac Ceel.   Legend has it that Hunac Ceel convinced the ruler of Chichen to steal the bride of the ruler of Izamal.  In response the city of Izamal and their allies attacked Chichen and drove the Itza from their city.  Many of the surviving Itza eventually left the Yucatan and moved south to the Peten where they founded a new island capital by the name of Tah Itza (the present location of Flores Peten).  Following the fall of Chichen the Cocom family of Mayapan became the most powerful lineage in the region.  To centralize their control over the eastern Yucatan peninsula the Cocoms demanded that the leaders of all allied provinces had to live at Mayapan.  This “League of Mayapan” as it was known, included about 16 provinces or city states.  The province of Chetumal extended from southern Quintana Roo to the Belize River and its capital was located just outside of Corozal Town at the site of Santa Rita.  The city of Santa Rita, or ancient Chetumal, was under the control of the Can family.

In 1441 the Xiu lineage led an uprising against the Cocoms who were eventually defeated, their leaders sacrificed, and their followers driven from Mayapan.   Thereafter the League of Mayapan disbanded and what had been a unified Maya state reverted back to sixteen rival provinces that became embroiled in civil wars until the arrival of the Spanish.