Yohl Ikʼnal

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Yohl Ikʼnal
Queen of Palenque
Yohl Ik'nal.svg
Yohl Ikʼnal's glyph
Reign23 December 583 – 4 November 604
PredecessorKan Bahlam I
SuccessorAjen Yohl Mat
Died4 November 604
IssueAjen Yohl Mat?
Janahb Pakal?
ReligionMaya religion

Yohl Ikʼnal[N 1] (Mayan pronunciation: [johl ikʼnal]), also known as Lady Kan Ik and Lady Kʼanal Ikʼnal, (died 4 November 604) was queen regnant of the Maya city-state of Palenque. She acceded to the throne on 23 December 583, and ruled until her death.[N 2][1]


Yohl Ikʼnal was a grandmother or great-grandmother of Kʼinich Janaab Pakal I, Palenque's greatest king.[2] She was a descendant of Kʼukʼ Bahlam I, the founder of the Palenque dynasty and she came to power within a year of the death of her predecessor, Kan Bahlam I.[3]

Kʼinich Janaab Pakal I, grandson or great-grandson of Yohl Ikʼnal

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 one of two women to have ruled Palenque, second was her daughter or granddaughter Sak Kʼukʼ and was likely to have been either the sister or, more likely, the daughter of Kan Bahlam, who left no male heir. Her husband or her son was Janahb Pakal.[6]


During the reign of Yohl Ikʼnal, 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 Ikʼnal reigned for several years more and died in 604.[8] After the defeat, Palenque apparently maintained its political identity but Yohl Ikʼnal probably had to pay tribute to the ajaw of Calakmul.[9] There are indications that either Yohl Ikʼnal or her successor successfully rebelled against Calakmul's dominance before 611.[10]

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

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Kan Bahlam I
Queen of Palenque
23 December 583 – 4 November 604
Succeeded by
Ajen Yohl Mat


  1. ^ The ruler's name, when transcribed is IX-(Y)O꞉L-la IKʼ-NAL-la, translated as "Lady Heart of the Wind Place".
  2. ^ These are the dates indicated on the Maya inscriptions in Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, Acceded: 9 Lamat 1 Muwan and Died: 2 Eb 20 Keh.


  1. ^ Stuart & Stuart 2008, pp. 139–142. Sharer & Traxler 2006, p. 459. Skidmore 2010, p. 39.
  2. ^ Skidmore 2010, pp. 56–57. 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. Skidmore 2010, pp. 56–57.
  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. Skidmore 2010, pp. 56–57.


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.
Skidmore, Joel (2010). The Rulers of Palenque (PDF) (Fifth ed.). Mesoweb Publications. p. 39. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
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.