Freedom8 Mesoamerica





Tayasal
is a pre-Columbian Mayan archaeological site that dates to the Postclassic period. The site is located in the southern Mayan lowlands on a small island in Lake Petén Itzá, now part of the Department of Petén in northern Guatemala.
Tayasal was the capital of one of the last independent Mayan polities to be subdued by the Spanish conquistadores and colonizers, which, along with Zacpeten, the capital of the Ko'woj Maya and Eixequil, the Yalnain capital, occurred in 1697.

As an archaeological site it has been almost completely compromised by the destruction and rebuilding undertaken on the island by the Spanish after its fall. The capital city of the modern Petén department, Flores, has been built over the island and the nearby shores of the lake.
The Itza left the Chichen Itza in the Yucatán in the 13th century and built the city later known as Tayasal as their capital. They called it Noh Petén, or literally "City Island". It was also called Tah Itzá, or Place of the Itzá.It was here on the island of Flores on the shore of Lake Petén Itzá that the last independent state of the Mayan civilization held out against the onslaught of the Spanish conquerors.

In 1541, Hernán Cortés came to the island, on route to Honduras, but needed to move on and did not try to conquer it, due to its excellent defensive position.
The Spanish did not manage to conquer the island until 1697, after several attempts, that begun in 1629, when they marched in, from Corozal in Belize, Yucatán and Alta Verapaz, attacked via boats and destroyed it. Those who could do so fled and many Itzá people hid in the jungle for years. From the structures of Noh Petén, were constructed the Roman Catholic church and municipal buildings in the city of Flores.