Between 8300 and 8200 BCE, the Cho and Kiche increased their repression on Isla Tigre, forcing all people there to comply with the first-born child sacrifice practice. This precipitated a move to the mainland of El Salvador, splitting into the four lineage communities, each by water. The leaders of the communities - Olomega, Tehuacan, Güija, and Coatepeque - decided to meet together in a central location perhaps once a year. They chose a spot that is roughly halfway (by water) between the mouth of the Lempa, the Cuscatlan base, and Lago Güija, where the Chorti/Chol/Itza were located. This was essentially where the Sumpul River enters the Lempa River. This is known from the name Arcatao, a name that used to be associated with a place along the Sumpul River a few kilometers upstream from the Lempa.
The first meaning of Arcatao in Mi is ar k’at ta or, “the time of the crossing of the leaders of the remnants.” The ‘a’ followed by the ‘o’ is an unusual construction, saved for a special place. It is likely that the early names Teotipa, Teopan, and teosinte were meant to mirror the ending of the name Arcatao.
The name Sumpul also explains a reason that the four remnants came together. On the surface the name is sum pul or “up and down twisting,” which does describe the motion of the Sumpul River as it comes out of the mountains of Chalatenango. However a double meaning is revealed by a hidden, dropped ‘r’, a somewhat common linguistic trick in Mi, in the first syllable. In this meaning Sumpul is sur rum pu ul, or “explain the land of the foreigner who slashes.” The foreigner was the Xibalba based in Corinto to the east. The four remnants came together to discuss what they had learned about the Xibalba and to defend themselves from the violent Xibalba. They probably hid this meaning so that the Xibalba themselves, who spoke the same Mi language, wouldn’t know the purpose of the Sumpul meeting place, which would be relevant if the four leaders planned to continue to meet regularly at the Sumpul River.
It may seem ironic for the Mesoamerican leaders to call the Xibalba “foreigners” since the Mesoamerican leaders were in the land of the Xibalba. But “foreigner” doesn’t relate to whose land but rather simply that the Xibalba were foreign to them, that is, from a different migration from Asia as them. This would seem to connect the Xibalba to the Zuni whose name means "foreigners of the hills (cliffs)".
Based in the east at Lago Olomega, the Olomeca were probably the ones explaining - they were the closest to the Xibalba at Corinto. If Sumpul was named at the first gathering of the four lineages since they left Isla Tigre, the Olomega might have needed a year or two, but not too much time, to scout out the trails, hunting and other routines of the Xibalba. This would place the Sumpul-Arcatao encounter right around 8200 BCE, a few years after the 8208BCE triple star event, which triggered the move to the mainland.
The place names around the Rio Sumpul tell the story of what happened next. At the confluence of the Sumpul and the Lempa is El Dique. In Mi this is ti ik’ k’er or “slashed and opened Ik’.” A member of the Ik’ party, from Tehuacan near the mouth of the Lempa, was killed. Next to El Dique is San Benito, tza an ben ni it to, “run from the sacrificing blows at the wetness to the wild hills.” San Benito may be the first use of the prefix “San” in a name in Mesoamerica, usually indicating the death of a person or people. This usage of San may stem from a visit by the Mesoamerican people to the San people of southern Africa, the first human dissident group to flee the main group of humans over 100,000 years ago, due to repression and killings. The San name uses “san” in a similar way - tza an or “run from the shiny (wetness).” This name suggests that the leaders at the Sumpul wished to sacrifice her young child and her partner intervened but was killed. It indicates that the men pursuing the woman still desired to carry out the sacrifice of the woman’s child.
Northeast a couple kilometers is El Candungo or hel ka an tu un k’o or “other (woman) and beginner (young child) run from the corpse from the blades.” The wife of the Ik’ man and their child(ren) fled from the river up into the hills toward Candungo.
Who was this Ik’ leader? The ethnic name Ulua tells us more. Ulua is ul uh ha’ or “explain to the sacred (shamans) at the river.” The Ik' leader was explaining the truth, what was sacred, to the sacred ("holy" leaders), with some sarcasm expressed in "holy" leaders. It seems that the Ik’ leader (Ulua) was stopping a sacrifice process by one or more shaman at the Sumpul River. This tells us that the sacrifice practice did not stop at Isla Tigre. A link between the Ulua and the Cuscatlan is the name Usulutan near the mouth of the Lempa River which has a similar, but rare, structure: ulu.
San Antonio de la Cruz provides some detail about events: tza an toh on ni ot te hel la ak’ k’er ruz, or “shelter for the woman in the trees on the hill tired of the slashing of the skin of the swimmer.” Calling her husband a swimmer indicates that he was trying to escape in the river when he was killed. Nearby Eramon echoes these events: her ra am mo on is “woman tired of the previous trapping by the spiders.” “Previous” indicates the events did not happen while she was resting at Eramon. “Spiders” refers to the paddlers (the "holy leaders") who killed her husband. Generally “spider” is used in a derogatory fashion. The wife of Ulua hid in the thick woods on Eramon Mountain.
Near the base of Eramon is El Zapote or hel tza ap po ot te, which means “shelter in the trees for the woman from the swings of those at the wet hole.” It has the double meaning of “rub” indicating that the woman rubbed her muscles from the difficult hiking. To the east a couple kilometers is the place name Tequeque, a curious name that indicates the woman played a trick on her two pursuers. Tequeque is te ek’ her k’er or “woman slashing the trees under the stars.” It repeats the slashing syllable twice to over emphasize it. I believe this name indicates the woman cut a false path through the trees to fool her pursuers and then doubled back toward the Sumpul River. Tequeque has double meanings of “strengthen” and “to flatten on the hills.” She flattened a false path through the brush.
About four kilometers northwest of Tequeque is El Zacamil. This indicates that the two pursuers continued going north following the false path made by the woman at Tequeque. It is hel sak’ k’a am mi il and means “Woman satisfied to see the searching cats spidering along.” The leaders - the cats - continued walking, spidering, on the false path. El Zacamil became a well-used name in indigenous El Salvador and this was very likely its first usage. El Zacamil has a complete double meaning, hel tza ak’ k’a am mi il, “woman satisfied to see the skin of the cat at the wetness.” The woman doubled back from near El Zacamil, going west to the Sumpul River and saw the body of her deceased husband there.
The woman arrived to the Sumpul River perhaps near where the Manaquil River pours into the Sumpul, about four kilometers southwest of El Zacamil. Manaquil is ma an ak’ ki’ il or “run from the badness, see the skin of the dear one at the current.” This name seems to indicate that for some of her journey she followed the Manaquil River and upon reaching the Sumpul River saw the body of her husband. This also seems to imply that the Olomega leader in the boat with the body moved the boat upstream to the Manaquil confluence. Manaquil uses the nak’ syllable for a double meaning with il of “see the planets,” indicating that the same leaders who saw the spectacular triple planet alignment on Isla Tigre in 8208 BCE seem to be the ones who killed her husband and who now pursued her. The Kiche day sign of Manik seems to have been named for this woman, playing off the name Manaquil. Manik would mean “Ik’ who ran from the badness into the hills.” The Mars retrograde calendar moved into the Manik’ position in 8199 BCE, nine years after the triple planet event.
The second name of the Manaquil River, the Guayampoque, tells more of the story of the woman fooling the pursuing men, wa ya am po ok’ k’er - “being who slashed (the brush) splits to the hole (Sumpul) from the painful spiders.” The prefix “Guaya” (Waya) was meant to sound like Maya, linking the name Maya (Cho-Itza and Kiche) to the two men who killed her husband. Guayampoque has double meanings of “night”, “circle”, and “rinse,” so during the night she circled back to the rinse of the Sumpul River.
The name of the patron saint of Arcatao, San Bartolome, tells us that the wife of the Ik’ (Ulua) leader attempted to secure the body of her husband at the river. San Bartolome is tza an ba ar to ol lo om mer or “time of the failure to free the shiny (bloody) body of the one sacrificed by the leaders at the foam.” In her first attempt and perhaps more, the Ik’ woman failed to secure the body of her husband. The name has a double meaning of “boat” indicating that the body was in a boat. Perhaps in a boat at the Manaquil.
The names Nombre de Jesus and Escalante on the Lempa River slightly downstream from the Sumpul confluence tell us that the body of the Ulua leader in the boat with the Olomega leader was also located there, probably after its Sumpul location. Nombre de Jesus is no om ba ar re et te che es su us or “the time of being capable of the challenge of observing the large paddler at the foam with the body from layer of trees.” The use of re at the end of Nombre helps to confirm it was an Olomega paddler since the Ulua women would have said rep while the Olomega man would have said ren; dropping the last letter - resulting in re - is consistent with one describing the other. A double meaning is “boat”. Another double meaning is "to sip," indicating that the Ulua woman took advantage of when the Olomega was vulnerable, taking a drink.
Escalante is es k’al la an te or “observe the retained in the fatigued current from the trees. “Fatigued current” - lan - is a specific ethnic marker for the Olomega, another indicator that it was an Olomega man with the body. The village just north of Escalante is Los Henriquez: lo os sen ri ik ker re ez or “beside the loose sky one (Ik’) who observed the (Olomega) paddler to free the gashed wise one.” This village is beside where the Ulua (Ik’) woman observed the boat with the body. It makes it clear she was attempting to free the body at the Lempa River.
And she did free the body! Patanera is six kilometers north of Nombre de Jesus and seems to indicate the direction that the woman fled with the body, into the steep hills. Pa at ta an ne er ra - is “other (woman) runs with remains of body from the tail bath (Lempa) tired.” Pat has the double meaning of “pod” or “husks” which seems to indicate how the woman drug the body.
To the east is Quipure, which is ki ip pu ur re or “explain to the paddler the splitting open of the dear one.” Quipure indicates that the woman used persuasion with the Olomega paddler to free the body. Quipure has a double meaning of “lever on the up and down,” which seems to indicate that the woman used branches as levers to move the body up and down the hills. Los Sitios, about 10 kilometers north of Nombre de Jesus, seems to indicate the first camp of the Ulua woman on the run with the body. It is lo os si it ti os and means “the one who freed the one set down and opened by the blows from several (more than one) sets down.” This indicates that both Maya leaders (Cho and Kiche) attacked the Ulua man at the Sumpul River. Gualcimaca is two kilometers east of Los Sitios, in present-day Honduras. It is wa al si im ma ak’ ka, meaning “time of the being with beginner and the one blasted several times on the skin by the bad ones.” This meaning helps to confirm that the woman was carrying a (first-born) child while she was dragging the body of her deceased husband. Gualsimaca has a double meaning of “observed the trapped (body) at the river,” linking the name to the events at Nombre de Jesus.
Continuing to move toward Arcatao, Hacienda Vieja probably comes from Asenda Vieja or as sen ta ap pi es cha or “companion with remains observes the two with knowledge of the swinging practices.” She saw the Cho and Kiche leaders from the heights of Hacienda Vieja.
The name Nueva Trinidad, north of Eramon Mountain, and six kilometers from Arcatao, confirms that the woman did succeed eventually in acquiring the corpse of her deceased husband. Nueva Trinidad is ne eb ba at te er ri in ni it ta at or “woman and first born separate from the tail at bath with blasted body remains beside into the dense trees of the hills.” It has double meanings of “husks”, “ridge”, and “father.” The father reference likely refers to patriarch, or the leader of the highest-held lineage, the Cho at Lago Guija, pointing the blame at this leader. Whether the Ik’ couple brought a young child with them to the gathering (Arcatao) or the woman gave birth at the Sumpul, Nueva Trinidad repeats that their child was threatened with sacrifice by the Cho and Kiche leaders.
A few kilometers northeast of Nueva Trinidad is Las Vegas, in the direction of Arcatao. Las Vegas is la as pek’ k’as or “the one tired of the practice broke away into the hills.” The name Arcatao has a second meaning that corresponds to its moved location, its current location, about 10 kilometers northeast of the Sumpul River. Its second meaning is ar k’at ta hor or “the time of crossing the crests with the remains.” The k’at syllable ties Arcatao to the Cuscatlan people. The moving of a place name, like happened in the case of Arcatao, was extremely rare, but the Ik’ woman won that privilege through her strength and bravery.
The changing of the place names, is echoed in the modern day story in Arcatao of San Bartolome. This story maintains that the town of Arcatao was originally along the Sumpul River near Eramon Mountain and its patron saint was San Bartolome. The statue of San Bartolome desired to be located at the current site of Arcatao, 10 kilometers away, and mysteriously moved to the current site. The townspeople found the statue there and moved it back to the river. Again the statue moved (or was moved) to the current site. Three times this happened, each time the townspeople moving the statue back to Eramon. Finally the fourth time the townspeople decided to follow the statue and relocate to the current Arcatao.
There are many similarities or at least consistencies between the community folk history and that portrayed in the place names of the region in the Mi language:
- The statue (the body) was moved clandestinely from the river to the hills of Arcatao.
- The community (place name) of Arcatao was moved from the Sumpul River to its current location, with Eramon Mountain figuring in both sources of the story.
- There were those opposing a move to Arcatao in both stories.
- The repeated moves of the statue seems to parallel the many attempts of the woman to secure the body.
The Sumpul-Arcatao incident shows that even though on the surface the Xibalba were the main enemy of the Mesoamerican people, the internal divisions would become the greater threat.
Many of the most common last names in Arcatao are likely indigenous rather than from Spain, with the meanings originating at the time of the Sumpul event. These last names include Guardado, Menjivar, and Dubon, which are rare - especially the latter two - in Spain.
Guardado is wa ar ta at to and means “time of the remains of the being sacrificed at the bath.” Guardado has a double meaning of “observe the fathers (elders)” - war tat, indicating that as the woman carried the remains she (the Guardado) was observing the Maya elders to ensure she and her family weren’t caught. The tat (father) syllable was also used in Nueva Trinidad.
Menjivar is men chi ba ar and means “time of the large one with the body in the shade (nighttime).” Large one in this name refers to the ethnic group, the Olomeka. The Olomeka leader was watching the body of the slain Cuscatlan leader. A double meaning of “boat” confirms the body was in a boat. A second double meaning is “chip,” perhaps indicating that the woman through a rock at the Olomeka man.
Dubon is tu ub bo on and means “listen with corpse previously at the hole (Sumpul River).” Dubon indicates that once the woman arrived to Arcatao she continued to listen for the two Maya leaders. People with the last name of Guardado, Mejivar, and Dubon are all likely descendants of the Ulua woman who grabbed the body of her deceased husband and ran for the hills.
The hill directly behind Arcatao is called La Cañada. This name also seems to originate from these early events. It is ka an ya at ta or “one who ran, beginner, and remains of one pained at the bath,” indicating the presence of the woman, her child (the beginner), and the remains of her husband. Within the flanks of La Cañada are small creases, some large enough to be caves. In Arcatao these are called “tatu.” This word seems to derive from the time of the woman hiding from the two leaders who searched for her. Tatu is ta at tu or “remains of the corpse from the bath.” It has a double mean of “father shaman” a slightly sarcastic expression for the Cho and Kiche leaders who were trying to kill her and her child.
The Ulua killed at the Sumpul was perhaps one of the better known martyrs in El Salvador until modern times. The Zapoteca, part of the Ik’ lineage like the Cuscatlan/Ulua, took the killed leader in this story as their deity, Pitao. Pitao means “remains of the companion from the blow of the leaders” or “companion of Arcatao.” Following this event the prefix “sum” became associated with the Cuscatlan/Ulua ethnicity. The name Chalatenango derives almost certainly from these events. It is cha al la at te er ren nan k’o or “time of the woman in the trees tired of the blades of the two and the paddler at the bath.” What especially links the name to these events in the inclusion of paddler, using a syllable en that refers in a hidden way (leaving off the ‘r’) to the Olomega. It also has double meanings of “horizontal” perhaps referring to the woman in the tatu and “load”. The name also links back to the Tenana River of Alaska and the two Sky women (like the Cuscatlan) who heroically broke away from the original migration from Asia to the Americas when it was at the Aleutian Islands in about 14000BCE.