Link to enlarge K6042 (Las Bocas - Ceramic Vessel) THE FOUNDATION RESEARCH DEPARTMENT

A Grammar of the Yucatecan Mayan Language
by David & Alejandra Bolles

The Caste War Literature

In the late 1840's there was a great uprising by the Maya against the Spanish speaking overlords and became known, by the white people of Yucatan in any case, as "La Guerra de Castas" ("The Caste War"). During this war there was quite a lot of writing in the Mayan language produced, mainly in the form of letters and proclamations. A sample of each type of writing is given here.

During this war there was a substantial interchange of letters between the leaders of the rebel Maya and the government in Mérida and also between the various factions of rebel Maya. Much of this writing was done in Mayan, and a very elegant Mayan at that. One of the early rebel leaders was Jacinto Pat, a Mayan hacienda owner from the area of Tihosuco who was apparently well educated and before the beginning of hostilities was a friend of Miguel Barbachano who became governor of Yucatan on March 25, 1848. On April 1, 1848, Jacinto Pat sent a letter to the governmental representative Felipe Rosado acknowledging the receipt of letters from Felipe Rosado, Miguel Barbachano, and the priest Jose Canuto Vela, also a friend of Jacinto Pat. This letter, which is given here, was the beginning of negotiations between Pat and the Barbachano government. However, other Mayan rebel leaders' reaction to the treaty produced by these negotiations was very negative and the war resumed.

After the initial successes the Mayan offensive broke into disarray and many of the troops retreated into what were the more or less uninhabited regions of what is now the state of Quintana Roo. These regions were uninhabited because of various diseases such as malaria and smallpox which the Maya were not able to withstand, and many of the new-comers succumbed to these diseases as well.

These Maya who escaped to Quintana Roo brought with them the political and religious structures which they had gotten used to over the centuries under Spanish colonial rule and so as they began to reorganize themselves in their new homeland these political and religious structures were recreated, although this time with Maya themselves being the heads of these organizations.

One of the most important towns to grow both politically and religiously during this period of reorganization was Chan Santa Cruz, today called Carrillo Puerto. It was here that the cult of the "Talking Cross" was established. In 1850 this "Talking Cross" issued a proclamation, the first part of which is given here.

Victoria Bricker gives a detailed overview of this caste war as well as the complete text of the proclamation given here, called "The Proclamation of Juan de la Cruz", in her book "The Indian Christ, The Indian King".


Mr. Esq. Political Superior,
Mr. Felipe Rosado,
Tihosuco, the first of April, 1848,
Don L. Superior Politico,
D. Felipe Rosado,
Tihosuco 1. de Abril, 1848;

My dear great respected venerated lordship. I received your venerated letter dated the 27th of the month just finished. Likewise also I received the venerated letter of lord governor Mr. Miguel Barbachano and of the venerated lord curate Mr. Jose Canuto Vela. I received also the copy of the act in which lord Mr. Miguel Barbachano received the oath and baton of governorship. I tell my venerated lordship that you have to have patience with me because I haven't answered quickly to your venerated letters - on the reason that I am gathering together so that I can listen to my fellow commandants so that I can hear what they say. Thus now my lord until now it has happened that they have told me nothing those my fellow commandants. I am telling your reverence therefore that I am taking into consideration all that your reverence has told me as well as all that your reverence is requesting me to give consideration to. Our lord god will be content. In the end thus also I will be reduced to dirt also.

In yamail noh talan tzicbenil yume. Tin kamah a tzicben huun fecha 27 ti le mez dzocilo. Bay xan tin kamah u tzicbenil huun yum Gobernador D. Migual Barbachano yetel u tzicbenil yum cura D. Jose Canuto Vela. Tin kamah xan u copiail le Acta uchic u kamic u juramentoil yetel u bastonil u gobiernoil yum D. Miguel Barbachano. Cin ualic tin tzicbenile yume ca yanac a mukolticeneex tumenel ma tin nuctah tu zebali ti a tzicbenili huunexi - u motivoile tumenel tan in paktic utial in uuyic ti in uet comandantoilobe in uic bax cu yalicoob. Bey tuno in yume tac bay u dza uilah ma u yaloob ten mix manbali le in uet comandantilobo. Cin ualic tun ti a tzicbenil dzoc in cħa nuctic tulacal bax cu yalic ten a tzicbenil hebix licil u tza nuctic ten a tzicbenile tulacale bax ca dza nuctico. Cimac yol c' yumil ti dios. Dzocebal bay xan in manbal luumal xan.

I say therefore to your great reverence therefore that I want to come therefore to the town of Peto with all of my troops, also therefore with all of the captains and their troops. It is very necessary that all of the arms taken from them be delivered to me. It is necessary these be delivered by Trujeque and that the government give the order that they be gathered. I say thus to your reverence how many of the arms were gathered, sir: two thousand five hundred arms were taken not counting the rest of the commandants; just my party. I say therefore to your reverence that it is necessary that these have to be delivered to me in the town of Peto by the venerated lord governor so that I can deliver them to my troops in the town of Peto. If I do not receive these arms I am not able to say to your reverence where negotiations can take place with your reverence. Be certain therefore that it is proclaimed to all the towns, and however it will begin that the venerated lord governor Mr. Miguel Barbachano will give me consideration because whichever town it is not proclaimed it is necessary that it is seen as the beginning of the end because he does not wish it to be proclaimed: a sign that they are the enemy. I tell your reverence also that you have to make it heard.

Cin ualic tun ti a noh talan tzicbenil tune tal in caah tun ti cah Peto yetel tulacal in tropaoob, tumen tun tulacal u capitaniloobe yetel u tropailobe. Hach tza ca yanac u kubul ten tulacal le armasoob cħab tiobe. Tza ca yanac u kubul tumenel Trujeque yetel u gobiernoil dza u ordenil cat yanhi u molchahtiobe. Cin ualic tun ti a tzicbenile bahun le u armaobo molochahio, yume: dos mil quinientos armas cħaan tiobo ma ocaan u chucaan comandanteobi; chen tin partido. Cin ualic tun ti a tzicbenile hach tza cu yanac u kubul ten tu cahil Peto tumenel u tzicbenil yum gobierno tu yoklal in kubic tiob in tropaob ti le cah Peto. Hasta ma in kamic leti le armaobo ma tan in ualic ti a tzicbenil tuux uchac in than yetel a tzicbenil. Bey bic tumenel tan u dza nuctic ten a tzicbenile bicil tan u pronunciarticuba tulacal cahobe yetel hebix licil u dza nuctic ten u tzicbenil yum Gobernador D. Miguel Barbachano porque hencex cah ma tan u pronunciarticubae tza cac ilab ix cu cutal yetel u dzocol tumenel ma u kat u pronunciartubae: señal que enemigoob. Cin ualic ti a tzicbenil xane leti le ca betci yuobo.

I am pursuing these men (and) it is necessary that they be delivered to me also: their names: Trujeque = Jaun Vasquez Vega = Cecelio Camillo = Miguel Bastion = Manuel Muños. These are the ones I am asking which have to be delivered to me. I tell your reverence also that these are the ones which did evil to the south of Tekax.

Cin ualcabtic u pachobo ca yanac u kubultenoob xan: u kabaobe: Trujeque = Juan Vasquez Vega = Cecilio Camillo = Miguel Bastion = Manuel Muños. Leti le cin katic ca yanac u kubul teno. Cin ualic ti a tzicbenile xane leti le men loboob yan tu nohol ti Kaxo.

It is necessary that I arrive in the town of Peto so that I can see which captain I am going to send there. That is what your reverence tells me in your venerated letter. In any case this is the end of my speech to your venerated lordship. Our lord god protect your holy spirit for many years: I

Cu yantal in kuchul ti cah Petoe cin uilic max capitanil cin bin in tuchi ti. Le cu yalic ten a tzicbenil ichil a tzicben huune. Hali u xul in than ti a tzicbenil yume. C' yumil ti dios u canaan ta santo pixan tu yabal haab: ten

Jacinto L. Pat

Jacinto L. Pat



Jesus Mary!

Jesus Maria!

In the name of god the father and god the son and in the name of god the holy spirit.

Tu kaba dios yumbil yetel dios mehenbil yetel tu kaba dios espiritu santo.

Amen Jesus.

Amen Jesus.

In the month of October on the 15th day I begin my word with my engendered ones here on Earth in the year of 1850, I Juan de la Cruz who live in the town of X-Balam Na (Jaguar House, later called Chan Santa Cruz and now known as Carrillo Puerto). My dear christian townspeople! Now has arrived the day, the hour that I give you a sign over the land of all my engendered people on Earth so that it can be read to be heard by all of the commandants and all of the captains and all of the lieutenants and all of the sergeants and to be heard by all of my engendered people on Earth so that all of my engendered people will come to know that during this very year it happens that I am passing it below the right hand of my lord for my engendered people here on Earth because only I have offered my spirit to you my engendered people. Because I engendered you. Because I redeemed you. Because I spilled my holy blood for you. Then I engendered you to see on Earth. Thus therefore my beloved people here on Earth in the very hand of the holy crown of my holy lord Jesus Christ I am showing here to their eyes this paper so that they know all of my commandments. Thus my engendered people here on Earth, whoever does not believe in my commandments will receive a draught of suffering without end. Whoever completes my commandments will earn the grandeur of my glory, will earn also my love. I will also shade (protect) him under my right hand. I will also give the end of my glory so the their souls earn even that final resurrection.

U mesil ti quince u xocol Octubre ca tin hopp in than yetel in zihzahbiloob uay yokol cabe tu haabil 1850 años, ten Juan de la Cruz cahnalen tu cahil X-Balam Na. In hach yamail cristiano caheex! Beyora cu kuchul tu kinil, tu orail in dzaic teex humppel señala yokol u luumil tulacal in zihzah uinciloob yokol cab tioklal ca anac u xocol yub tulacal commandantesoob yetel tulacal capitanoob yetel tulacal tenienteob yetel tulacal sargentoob yetel yub tulacal in zihzah uinciloob yokol cab tiolal ca yanac yoheltcoob tulacal in zihzahbilobe hach u manal u yaabil u menmah cin manzic yalan u noh u kab in yum yoklal in zihzah uinciloob uay yokol cabe tumen halili ten kuchaan in uol ti texe in zihzah uincileex. Tumen ten tin zihzeex. Tumen ten tin lohheex. Tumen ten tin uecah in cilich kikel ta uoklaleex. Ca tin zihzahheex ti pacat yokol cab. Bey tuno in yamahil uinceex yokol cab hach tu kab u cilich corona in yum h-cilich Jesu Cristo cin chicultic te tu uich lay huuna tioklal ca yanac yoheltic tulacal in ualmah than. Ley in zihzah uinciloob yokol cab, hemax ma tan yoczah oltic in ualmah thane bin u kam hun lukul numyah ti minaan u xul. Hemax bin u dzocbez in ualmah thane bin u nahalt u nohchil in gloria, bin ix xan u nahalt in yacunah. Bin ix xan in boybeze yalan u noh in kab. Bin ix xan in dza u xul in gloria ti u nahalt u pixanoob tac tu xul caput cuxtal.

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