Sotuta: Bust of Nachi Cocom

Sotuta: Bust of Nachi Cocom Sotuta: Bust of Nachi Cocom

July, 1997

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Nachi Cocom, head chief of Sotuta, was the last great ruler of the Cocom lineage. He led a determined resistance to the Spaniards through war, and through guile.

Mutual respect probably engendered the unlikely friendship between Diego de Landa and Nachi Cocom. Landa described him in the Relacion as "a man of great reputation, learned in their affairs, and of remarkable discernment and well acquainted with native matters".

This friendship probably led Cocom to show Landa sacred Maya writings preserved on folded deerskin. One of these books had belonged to his grandfather, a son of a Cocom who had been killed by the rival Xiu clan at Mayapan.

Some years after seeing these sacred histories and prophecies, Landa discovered secret Mayan rituals were still being practiced by the "converted" Indians. He felt betrayed, and responded with vengeance by staging an Inquisition at Mani and burning as many books and other sacred object as he could discover.

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Last update: February 3, 2000