Yohl Ik'nal

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K'inich Janaab' Pakal, grandson of Yohl Ik'nal

Yohl Ikʻnal [johl ikʼnal], Ix Yohl Ikʻnal or Ol Ikʻnal (ruled December 21, 583 – November 7, 604) was a female ruler of the Maya city of Palenque, ruling from 583 to 604, during the Mesoamerican Classic Period.[1] Her name means "Heart of the Wind Place".


Yohl Ikʻnal was a grandmother of K'inich Janaab' Pakal, Palenqueʻs greatest king.[2] She was a descendent of K'uk' B'alam I, the founder of the Palenque dynasty and she came to power within a year of the death of her predecessor, Kan B'alam I.[3]

She was the first female ruler in recorded Maya history and was one of a very few female rulers known from Maya history to have borne a full royal title.[4] She must have come to the throne due to extremely unusual circumstances, the details of which have not survived.[5] She was the only woman to have ruled Palenque and was likely to have been either the sister or, more likely, the daughter of Kan Bʻalam, who left no male heir.[6]

Her husband was King Janaab' Pakal and her daughter was Lady Sak K'uk'.


During the reign of Yohl Ik'nal, Palenque suffered an important defeat by Calakmul, one of the two great Maya powers of the Classic Period.[7] The battle took place on 23 April 599 but Yohl Ikʻnal reigned for several years more and died in AD 604.[8] After the defeat, Palenque apparently maintained its political identity but Yohl Ik'nal probably had to pay tribute to the king of Calakmul.[9] There are indications that either Yohl Ik'nal or her successor successfully rebelled against Calakmulʻs dominance before 611.[10]

Archaeologist Merle Greene Robertson has suggested that a vaulted tomb under Temple 20 at Palenque is that of Queen Yohl Ik'nal.[7] She was considered important enough to be depicted twice on the sarcophagus of her grandson K'inich Janaab' Pakal and to be sculpted in stucco on the wall of his tomb.[11]

Preceded by
Kan B'alam I
Queen of Palenque
December 23, 583 – November 7, 604
Succeeded by
Aj Ne' Yohl Mat


  1. ^ Stuart & Stuart 2008, pp.139-142. Sharer & Traxler 2006, p.459.
  2. ^ Webster 2002, p.132.
  3. ^ Stuart & Stuart 2008, p.139. Drew 1999, p. 264.
  4. ^ Stuart & Stuart 2008, p.139. Martin & Grube 2000, p.159. Drew 1999, p.264.
  5. ^ Stuart & Stuart 2008, p. 139.
  6. ^ Stuart & Stuart 2008, p.238. Martin & Grube 2000, p.159.
  7. ^ a b Stuart & Stuart 2008, p.140.
  8. ^ Stuart & Stuart 2008, pp.140-142.
  9. ^ Stuart & Stuart 2008, p. 142.
  10. ^ Stuart & Stuart 2008, p.144.
  11. ^ Stuart & Stuart 2008, pp.177, 180.


Drew, David (1999). The Lost Chronicles of the Maya Kings. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0-297-81699-3. OCLC 43401096. 
Martin, Simon; Nikolai Grube (2000). Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens: Deciphering the Dynasties of the Ancient Maya. London and New York: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-05103-8. OCLC 47358325. 
Sharer, Robert J.; Loa P. Traxler (2006). The Ancient Maya (6th (fully revised) ed.). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-4817-9. OCLC 57577446. 
Stuart, David; George Stuart (2008). Palenque: Eternal City of the Maya. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-05156-6. OCLC 227016561. 
Webster, David L. (2002). The Fall of the Ancient Maya: Solving the Mystery of the Maya Collapse. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-05113-5. OCLC 48753878. 

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