13 Mar: Fall of the Maya

The Guatemalan island of Flores, once known as Nojpetén, witnessed the final clash between Spanish conquistadors and the last independent Maya kingdom on March 13th, 1697. 

The Itza warriors, equipped with ornate spears and swords, fought valiantly to defend their homeland; but Spanish firepower ultimately overwhelmed them, leading to heavy casualties and the retreat of many defenders. 

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how the fall of Nojpetén marked the end of an era for the Maya people, but not their actual end; consider how foreign diseases like smallpox and typhoid were imported by the Spanish; and reveal how many languages still spoken today stem from this ancient civilisation… 

Further Reading:

‘The Maya People’ (SmithsonianNMAI, 2012):