Shana'Kin Yaxchel Pacal

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Shana'Kin Yaxchel Pacal
Title Queen consort of Copan
Spouse(s) King Yik'in Chan K'awiil

Shana'Kin Yaxchel Pacal ("Green Jay on the Wall") was a Mayan Queen of Copan and the wife of Yik'in Chan K'awiil.[1] She is also known by the title of Yax Ahau Xoc, which may mean "A Noble Young Reader" or "The Young Lord's Counter". It is unknown what her personal name was; she was always referred to in official writings as Lady Yax Ahau Xoc.

Shana'Kin Yaxchel Pacal was a princess of Lakamha, although the name and origin of her mother is unknown. Her father was Lord K'inich Hanaab Pacal II, and her only known sibling was her brother, K'uk Balaam ("Quetzal Jaguar"), who was Lord of Lakamha after his father. She married Lord Yik'in Chan K'awlil in her early teens and bore him a son, Yax Pasaj Chan Yopat. Her husband died in 763 AD after thirteen years of marriage and her young son was crowned Lord of Copan; Yax Pasaj Chan Yopat reigned for fifty-seven years as the last ruler of Copan. By the end of his reign, tension between the upper and lower classes as well as inbreeding among the small number of noble families led to the loss of the Lords' influence over the common people. Shortly after, in the middle of the ninth century, the Classic Mayan cities collapsed due to deforestation, soil depletion, drought, over-hunting, and overpopulation.

Cultural depictions[edit]

A fictional portrayal of Shana'Kin Yaxchel Pacal is found in Lady of Palenque: Flower of Bacal, a young adult novel that is part of Scholastic's Royal Diaries series. The novel begins when the Lady is thirteen and marries Yik'in Chan K'awlil (Fire Keeper Serpent of Holy Lineages), who was twenty years her senior. The book is an account of her journey from Lakamha (modern-day Palenque) to Xukpi and her first days there. In the epilogue it is stated that a year after their marriage they had a son, Yax Pasaj Chan Yopat (New Dawn Sky Anther). The Lady's husband, Lord Fire Keeper, died at age 46 after thirteen years of marriage and left his kingdom to his 12-year-old son. It is suggested that the Lady may have married again and had another son after her husband's death.