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Toltec People Invade Chichen Itza

Perhaps the Toltec people arrived in Tula peacefully. However, the same could not be said of their departure from the city after less than a century nor of their arrival in the ancient Maya city of Chichen Itza around the end of the 10th century AD which is where it is recorded on the Bible Timeline with World History.

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Located in the Yucatan Peninsula, the powerful Maya city of Chichen Itza somehow escaped the civilization’s collapse in 800 AD and continued to dominate the region from its foundation in 800 until 1000 AD. Its rulers dominated the Maya lowland regions at the height of the city’s power. It was probably one of the largest Maya city-states at that time. The city covered an area of about 5 square kilometers which was dotted with magnificent Puuc style buildings of which the highlight was the massive Maya temple called El Castillo.

“The Sacred Cenote.”

Just like other Mesoamerican peoples, religion played a great part in the life of the Maya people of Chichen Itza. They worshiped the god Kukulkan, the Maya version of the Central Mexican god Quetzalcoatl who was revered by the Toltec people. The Maya of Chichen Itza also considered a nearby sinkhole known as the Sacred Cenote as the home of the rain god Chaac. They threw jewelry, ceramics, and even captives as sacrifice to this deity. But Maya’s political and religious domination ended after the mysterious destruction of Tula and the Toltec migration into the Yucatan peninsula.

The Toltec flourished in Tula since their mysterious arrival less than a century before but around 1050 AD. The magnificent city burned down and most of the structures were destroyed. The Toltec refugees streamed out of the city, and some groups traveled south into the Valley of Mexico while others continued south to the Yucatan peninsula where they finally reached the frontiers of Chichen Itza. Toltec warriors besieged the city, descended on its population violently, and seized the throne from its Maya rulers. Some of the citizens were killed on the streets during the invasion, while others were captured and thrown into the water of the Sacred Cenote as sacrificial offerings. The Toltec constructed a tzompantli (a skull rack or platform which contained the heads of their enemies), a Chacmool (a reclining stone figure with raised knees and flat middle where they laid out sacrificial offerings), and a temple to honor the supreme Plumed Serpent, Quetzalcoatl.

Picture By Ekehnel (Emil Kehnel) – Own work, CC BY 3.0,
Coggins, Clemency, and Orrin C. Shane, eds. Cenote of Sacrifice: Maya Treasures from the Sacred Well at Chichén Itzá. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1984.
McKillop, Heather Irene. The Ancient Maya: New Perspectives. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2004.
Miller, Robert Ryal. Mexico: A History. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1985.
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