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|1038-1194 (285-441 AD) (L'Uniona Homanus)||1194- (441- AD) (L'Uniona Homanus)|
The Maya City-States
The change in the political systems of the Maya have left several city-states on the verge of war with each other for dominance of the Yucatan region. These were Tikal, Palenque, and Copán primarily, but the strategic position of Uaxactun among these other states allowed it to remain independent despite being much smaller than these other principal neighbors. In OTL the city-state of Tikal grew to dominate the region of the Maya ethnic group. Here the Cities remain independent and make many advancements that would not have otherwise occurred.
The Great DiscoveryBecause these small states were all ravaged by battles with each other, especially Uaxactun, they spent many efforts in peacetime looking for ways to out battle their rivals. In the year 1138 (385 AD) the city of Uaxactun, in an effort to look or a gift from the gods in the Earth, found iron deposits in vast quantities. The Uaxactun researchers, who were almost always priests as well, experimented with melting and solidifying the iron. They found that it was very strong and could be formed into knives and swords of greater use than the spears that the city-state had been using.
Uaxactun took on the city of Palenque, its rival city-state and the one who usually brought its wars into the territory of Uaxactun. Palenque underestimated the small city of Uaxactun, it had always been the weakest militarily of any of these original four Maya states. When the main city of Palenque saw that the Uaxactun army was marching into its streets, the shock to the people and military made them even better targets of the guns of Uaxactun. The quick victory over Palenque in the year 1040 (283 AD) sent waves throughout all of the Yucatan peninsula and the cities of Tikal and Copán were scrambling to find the source of the Uaxactun armies.Between Copán and Tikal was started an alliance to meet the Uaxactun in a war from the North and the South to take their unknown technology. The Coordinated effort by the two countries involved the highest strata of the Maya society to determine the outcome of the battles. From the stars, to rituals, to complex strategies made in secret the two small coutnries and the whole of their armies from the surrounding areas were building up to rip the Uaxactunese apart.
In Uaxactun itself the policies of the Chief were becoming more oppressive as his power grew. The city-state system that had existed before revolved around tributary cities and villages around one large city which allowed the farmers and other villagers to trade in that city. The mutually beneficial relationship between the smaller villages and the large city was overturn after Uaxactun took Palenque and its land. The Ajaw (King) of Uaxactun, named Cochimetl (seen left), made many reforms in how he would rule his large land and he would do this with his new weapon, though th chief weapon of the tyrant was intimidation.
The fear that led to the conquest of the city of Palenque was spread throughout the neighboring villages and many of them would not refuse or complain about the new taxes that were to be levied on them as there were also armies left standing among them. One city remained among the former Palenquese villages which would resist. Its name was Bonampak and when the armies of Uaxactun entered the city some began to surrender immediately. These people were taken prisoner but while they were being held they attempted to steal one of the weapons held by the soldiers. When one was taken the fugitives worked an elaborate plan to get the technology out of the prison walls. This was happening while many of the city were fleeing to their neighbor of Copán and with one of them came the firearm, or as it was described by one priest a snake with the breath of a dragon.
Years of Expansion 1142-46 (385-389 AD)The loss of their exclusive technology was not immediately known to the Ajaw of Uaxactun. The Copanese and the people of Tikal developed their technology and were working on a strategy to take on the armies of Uaxactun. However, this new technology was not entirely understood by the armies of the country. Rather than taking on the more developed state of Uaxactun the two old states moved out into the unoccupied regions of the region. They used their new technology to illicit tribute from their neighboring villages.
The People of Uaxactun were not entirely naive however. They moved out into the land that they called Oaxaca and Chiapa while the Tikalese took control of the entire Yucatan Peninsula. Chiapas was struggling to expand because the cities below them had made many new developments and had a unique position between many mountains, rivers, and volcanoes. The only major conflict that happened during these years of expansion was when the city of Tehuantepec found itself caught in a complicated entanglement,
The City of Tehuantepec was not a city-state as the other areas were. They had developed a system of government and were not a backwater when compared to their far away neighbors to the East. The city never wanted to gain tribute from its neighbors and was intense in its desire for peace. When they heard of the destruction of Palenque and the ambitions on Uaxactun, Tikal, and Copán they rushed to assure their own safety. They made pacts of peace with all three of the countries, as they could not truly foresee who was going to win out in the end. When Tikal and Copán discovered the technology that allowed the Uaxactunese to make their conquests possible they shared it with Tehuantepec, who they did not know was also allied with Uaxactun.
The Tehuantepec had gone from being every one's ally to every one's enemy really fast. Tikal and Copán wanted to make them another allied state so they could force the Uaxactunese back from all angles. Theses cities also said, privately from the other state, that they intended to take the other state once they moved through Uaxactun. Uaxactun told Tehuantepec that they could work together to take on both cities separately and simultaneously. Tehuantepec did not respond to any of these ideas but each state was waiting intently while they moved to expand their own state. They expected Tehuantepec to do the same but every day when they did not hear from any of their neighbors was a good day for them.Uaxactun, being the closest, moved into Tehuantepec, believing that they had a responsibility to do so. With that, the cities of Tikal and Copán were confused at the move. They found out at the entangling alliances that Tehuantepec made. Uaxactun took the city after they took their defenses. This was no easy accomplishment however. Tehuantepec made the largest defenses in the history of Mesoamerica to date. Walls and embankments distinguished the landscape and the people of Tehuantepec also had the firearm from their allies. Uaxactun was determined to take their city and the distraction on the walls gave them the perfect opportunity to invade from the sea. Though Tehuantepec had some navy it wasn’t a match for the large ships of Uaxactun. When Tehuantepec was taken and their leader hung in the public forum the other states were at the ready to move while the Uaxactunese were spread across their area. Despite the growth in tension among these states the Uaxactunese, the Tikalese and the Copanese were equal unprepared for a war by the year 1147 (290 AD).
The Zapotec EmergenceOn the border of the Uaxactunese, they were planning to explore further inland in the hopes of finding even richer resources so that they could truly overpower the powers of Tikal and Copan. The Uaxactunese were surprised by what developed. Hidden mostly from the Uaxactunese were the military powers of the Zapotec civilization. Separate though similar to the Yucatan civilization to which Uaxactun belonged, the Zapotec were their own group wit their own customs. Zapotecs had learned not only of the weapons of the Yucatan civilizations but were also aware of the expansions which had been taking place and which were now threatening the Zapotecs themselves. The Chief of the city of Lambityeco, capital of the Zapotecs, named Nidawai was preparing to unleash the army which he had gathered together not only from his subjects but also from refugees and people of the other Zapotec cities. Nidawai attacked many of the new areas being explored by the Uaxactunese in the year 1149 (392 AD). The Uaxactunese expected that the Zapotecs would fall like many of the uncivilized peoples in that same region. The Uaxactunese only sent a small contingency of their larger strength to conquer the Zapotecs. The Zapotecs were able to overcome this small army and prove that they could win and that the Uaxactunese had underestimated them. The biggest effect that these initial battles had was that the Uaxactunese guns were now taken used by the Zapotecs. Nidawai celebrated this victory and this also brought more people into the fold of the Zapotec military and Nidawai’s hegemony. Many of these fearing the Uaxactunese more than anything. The Final battles of this war would come in the beginning of the year 1150 (393 AD). The Uaxactunese were now going to bring most of their forces down on the Zapotecs. The reports that were coming back to them put the Zapotec strength at no more than 10-15 thousand, small when compared to the 30 thousand which were heading towards Lambityeco. However the Zapotec army had nearly doubles since the end of the last battle and the two were on more or less equal footing in terms of numbers. This being the case, the Zapotecs knew that they needed more than just numbers. The Uaxactunese had conquered Palenque which was much larger than Uaxactun or Lambityeco. The Zapotecs used their knowledge of this land to not only come in from the front but from the sides and leave the Uaxactunese little room to maneuver. This plan worked very well and the Uaxactunese surrendered, reluctantly, for the sake of maintaining the rest of their military in order to fight Tikal and Copan. The Uaxactunese tried to keep this a secret, for the sake of their reputation, but this was futile. Zapotecs were now a power and this up and coming group of cities brought down the streak of victories which made the Uaxactunese so proud. The Zapotecs now had more land and prestige and were beginning to be taken seriously. Mesoamerica would not be the same hereafter.
The Sea Jaguar and the Chimu Wars
In the year 1157 (404 AD) there were several small chiefdoms which would become assistants to the Zapotecs. Among the other things which the Zapotecs improved upon was their shipping and naval powers. This was very important to a larger strategy which Nidawai had been working on in theory but was becoming increasingly probable as his Kingdom expanded and grew wealthier. The first ship to said far past the seas which the Zapotec were used to, for fishing and the like, was named after Nidawai and it made contact with the coastal people known as the Chimu. They were a coastal fishing group on the edge of South America. The Zapotecs had barely any knowledge of the actual size of this continent and believed, much like the Chimu themselves, that only ocean extended over the Andes Mountains. Nidawai was pleased to hear of this development as well as to hear of the kindness and openness with which the Zapotecs were received. They replenished their boats with the products of that land as gifts from its people and were able to return from their long journey well-fed and happy.Nidawai and the Chimu Chief, Capac Chimo, grew closer and even visited each other’s coutnries by the end of the 1150’s. It was when this report was established that Nidawai began to develop the idea he had been keeping secret for some time. His strategy in defeating and dominating the Maya in the Yucatan was to surround them. These were not explorations for the sake of exploration but in a search for allies to expand around the Yucatan countries so they would fall easily. Nidawai prepared to change his strategy so that if no people were found suitable for him to trust with such a task, he would populate a fertile area with his own people. Nidawai did not have to do this however and the Chimu were looking forward to having the success which the Zapotecs had, as well as the wealth which Capac Chimo saw on his visits there.
In 1162 (409 AD) a special ship was carrying weapons and blueprints for mining and other operations so that the Chimu could find the resources to make weapons and use them to expand and eventually fight alongside the Zapotecs for the Yucatan Peninsula. This ship was named ‘the Sea Jaguar’ so that the Chimu would become a naval power to suppliment the Zapotecs strong land based military; there was a Zapotec navy but it was not near the amount that they would need. From the center of the Chimu civilization in the city of Chan Chan (Trujillo, Peru), the first large scale Andean civilization emerged after the arrival of the Sea Jaguar in 1162 (409 AD). The Chimu spread out and conquered first the Moche civilization, largest in their immediate area. The Wari, the Tiahuanaco, and the Paracas also came down fairly quickly after the arrival of the Sea Jaguar. Many of the Chimu were more focused on expansion than assisting the Zapotecs. This would receive little reaction from the Zapotec leadership as they believed the Chimu would be there in case a war started. By 1173 (420 AD) a considerable portion of the coast West of the Andes Moutains. This area extended from The Moche Lands to the North and then down along teh coast through all the civilizations until they reached Lake Titicaca, where the movement of troops was considered too difficult to press much further. They were now enjoying the wealth and spoils of war as well as constructing new temples, cities, and weaponry.
The Maya Alliance and the Tutul War
Tikal and Copan had been existing in cooperation against the Uaxactunese and their aggressive action. However the alliance they had was always circumstantial and both of them knew that a conflict could erupt between the two of them at any time if they were not more afraid of the Uaxactunese than they were of each other. However in 1175 (422 AD) the son of the Ajaw of Tikal was able to marry the daughter of the Ajaw of Copan. This would found a new Mayan Alliance after the death of both of this new couple’s parents. By 1192 (439 AD) Ajaw Tutul Balam and his wife Ixchel Xoc were leaders of a new and larger Kingdom known as the Maya Alliance.It was at this time that the Maya began to emerge as more of an ethnic group than just a name for the separate and continuously warring peoples of the Yucatan Peninsula. In 1193 (440 AD) the Ajaw of Uaxactun died and so had the leadership in the Zapotec state as well. Being the only country with leadership the Maya took this as their chance to, if not capture Uaxactun, at least to advance into their territory and perhaps gain some fertile grounds. The stockpiles of weapons that had been being built up in Tikal and Copan were now being put to use.
It began with moves against the main cities. Some of the tributary city-states which made up the sources of much of the food and resources used by the wealthy and powerful in the main cities would ally with the Maya immediately. One of these was Palenque, the first of the cities which Uaxactun conquered and who still desired their independence to return. That aside, other cities also expressed a desire to break from Uaxactun or to even rejoin with Palenque. Tonina and Bonampak began supporting the Palenquese resistance and the Maya were planning to transport reinforcements to these areas specifically and move out from there into Uaxactun.
But this wouldn’t happen. The city of Tehuantepec chose to remain loyal to the Uaxactunese and coordinated an attack of the Palenque allied state. Many of them were pinned down by the strong Tehuantepec soldiers and the Maya looked for another move. The Copan troops in the south pushed up into the Uaxactunese lands and progressed into Kaminaljuyu where they were forced to stay for nearly half a year in order to assure control of that area. Ajaw Tutal Balam began to reform his approach as this battlefield changed. The city of Uaxactun was still scrambling for a leader but eventually settled on the most well qualified General in their area. The Uaxactunese planned on forcing themselves into Palenque so that they could reemerge from that city and dismantle the whole areas around Uaxactun. General Ixcomotli of Uaxactun began to earn his title of Ajaw when he led the Tehuantepec to victory in Palenque. General Ixcomotli emerged as the leader of the Uaxactunese and the Maya fell back, but Ixcomotli wasn’t done.
He moved into the ares the Maya believed they had secured on the Northern coast they had been using as a supply line to Palenque. They also moved to the east coast of the Yucatan peninsula and took away the only land route the two cities had to communicate. Lastly, Ixcomotli moved into the southern edge of the Copanese half of the Maya Alliance. Much of the coasts were now in the control of Uaxactun and the Maya refused to advance more. The Maya Navy continued to coordinate correspondences between the two parts of the Maya lands and the uaxactunese were able to harass but not stop this. Ixcomotli became the new Ajaw outright and ruled by making projects to secure the Uaxactunese borders.
|1038-1194 (285-441 AD) (L'Uniona Homanus)||1194- (441- AD) (L'Uniona Homanus)|