Full Text

Tecún Umán (d. 1524)

Dima Zito


Extract

Tecún Umán led the resistance of the Mayan Quiché people against the Spanish invasion in the highlands now called Guatemala and was killed in a battle by the conquistador Pedro de Alvarado. In 1524 Spanish conquerors under the command of Pedro de Alvarado attacked the region populated by the Maya. The Quiché and other Maya groups fought the arriving Spanish troops with intelligent guerilla tactics, but the invaders benefited from the fact that the different peoples were divided among themselves. Tecún Umán, a member of the Quiché royal family, formed an alliance with some of the neighboring peoples and gathered thousands of warriors to resist the Spanish invasion. The army of about 450 Spaniards was strengthened by numerous allied indigenous fighters and equipped with superior weapons – guns and steel arms as well as horses, which were still not known by the Maya. In an open battle near Quetzaltenango, Alvarado and Tecún Umán met face to face. A legend claims that Tecún Umán killed Alvarado's horse, thinking that man and animal were one, and was then killed by the conqueror. A Quiché legend says that Tecún Umán was accompanied by a quetzal, Guatemala's national bird, which was his nahual (spiritual guide). When Tecún Umán was killed, the quetzal landed on him and was stained with his blood. Since then quetzal birds are said to have red feathers on their breast and no longer sing. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:

 

     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.


[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top