[versión español] This is the story of what happened to the Maya ancestors after they arrived at Playa Toluca in four rafts from South America, most likely from Taltal, Chile. The story takes place in about 8680 BCE. A few days walking from Toluca, they were captured in Usulután by a hunter tribe, named by the Maya ancestors "the large ones," "the giants," "sticks," and Manik, and later Xibalba. They were marched about 80 kiolometers to the Corinto cave, where they soon escaped and followed the Torola River until arriving to the confluence with the Lempa River. After some time they then went to the lagoon of the Tecapa Volcano, where there was a little more security since the tribe of large ones did not like to go in water. Eventually the large ones forced them from Tecapa and the Maya ancestors went to Isla Tigre, Honduras, where the Maya culture really began to develop. Below is the route taken from the ocean to Usulután, the march from Usulután to Corinto, and the escape from Corinto to the Lempa River. (Click to enlarge)
The story will be presented in three parts: the first days in the country when they walked east from Toluca Beach (close to where surfers come now from all over the world) to the Lempa River, crossing the river and going toward the volcanos of Usulután. One knows of this story due to the meaning of the names of the villages and rivers where they passed in proto Ch'orti', the language they spoke. To keep these names alive no doubt that the Maya ancestors covered this same path on foot each generation, telling stories along the way. The second part begins with the capture of the Maya ancestors by a tribe of large people in Galingagua. From there they made a dramatic march to the base of the large ones in Corinto cave. Earlier I described the colors of the cave and presented photos of it. Soon they escaped and ran back along the same path probably at night, turning off it near Yoloaiquin and then followed a few kilometers off the south bank of the Torola River until they arrived at San Juán de Edén. There they had a little more security because, as they soon found out, once they waded into the Lempa River the large ones would not follow. They made mini rafts for the babies call auilix or ahwilix, the first of the three dieties that provided to them in the wilds of El Salvador.
[Note on the letters: The l and r were equal. The b and p were equal. The k' was normally pronounced by the Lenca, Pipil, and Spanish like a g. The w was pronounced by the Lenca like gü. At times the t was pronounced like a d by the Spanish.]
The four rafts land on the shore. The stones are still there.
1 - Toluca: tor uk' ka: Beginning of sadness caused by the bruisers. Place of arrival, named later. The same with the neighboring beach, Amatal, which is "arrival to the bad ones."2 - Rio Huiza: wih tz'ah: Source of wetness (water)
3 - Rio Comalapa: ko' mar lap pa': Preparation of gourds for food brought from ocean (carried with them on the rafts)
4 - Nuevo Eden: eht ten: challenge to clear. Place to sleep
5 - Rio Jalponga: ch'a ahr bon k'a: time of lying down abundant and satisfying (2nd night)
6 - Longaniza: lo'on k'an ix ha': extended yellow moving water. Rio Huiscoyolapa
7 - Rio Huiscoyolapa: wis koy hor lahp ha': water-poultice payment to the great guardian
8 - Rio Chalagua: ch'a ahr ak' wa': time to lay down being with skins (covers) - third night
9 - Rio Acomunca: ah ko' mun kah: beginning of stuffing (ourselves) with gourd
10 - Rio Sapuyo: sahp puha': curative fast. Seems like a half-joke after Acomunca.
11 - Rio Guayabo: wa' yah po': being deep and swollen
12 - Rio Ojushte: hoy uhutz' te': trees with pleasant scent
13 - Rio Guajoyo: wa' hoy: pleasure in our beings
14 - Laguna Talquezal: tal k'ech tz'ah: arrival of Carry Bright Colors. The quetzal. This might be why they had pleasure in nearby Guajoyo. From this day the quetzal has its name.
15 - Quebrada Roldan: lor tahn: dark spot in the interior. Upon crossing the Lempa River, they walked up Roldan Creek, seeing the darkness of Taburete Hill and the mountains of Usulután, until arriving at Galingagua.
16 - Galingagua: k'ar in k'ah wa': remembering being first retained. A thought of one who made it through the ordeal and returned to the place of the capture.
17 - El Zúngano: tzun k'an noh: the greedy yellow large ones. Greedy (tzun) is almost like foreigner, tzur. So this could be "yellow large foreigners."
18 - Los Horcones: hor kon ehtz: observe the intention of the large ones
19 - Los Chapetones: ch'a' bet ohn ehtz: Duty to watch previous lying down. They took turns watching through the night. First night of being captured
20 - El paso de Gualache: wa'ar lahch: grooved cliffs. Usulután volcano
21 - Tecapán: te' kap ban: brown leaves held by the teeth. The large ones stopped to get some tobacco. Perhaps they were in the area getting tobacco leaves when they heard the Maya ancestors.
22 - El Tigre: ti' k'ere': slicing mouth. The jaguar. In a bit we will learn that one of the large ones was scratched. This is the first encounter of the Maya ancestors with the jaguar. El Cerro Tigre has always carried the name of the tiger, slicing mouth.
23 - El Amaton: ah mah aht ohn: bad one in previous (old) bath. To clean his scratch he cleaned himself in dirty water.
24 - El Amate: ah mah te': the bad trunk (mid-section)
25 - Chagüite: ch'a' wih te': lying down at the base of tree. Second night captured. Perhaps this type of tree later became named Amate.
26 - Jucuapa: huk' wa' bah: being scrapes his body
27 - Chinameca: ch'i'ih nam mek ha': wrestle with a large one over disappeared water
The names of the villages around Chinameca tell more of the story of the injured large one and the wrestling match there, some have names that sounded like Spanish words/names and were given a similar-sounding Spanish name:
Boqueron: pok ker on: opened up from previous rinsing
Zaragoza: xar ak' os ha': scratched skin opened fitting (himself) in water
Nueva Guadalupe: wa'at ahr lupe beh: the occasion of returning to re-submerge his tail
Oromontique: hor ohom on ti': before large one foaming mouth
Ojo de Agua: eye of water. Perhaps the large one threw water in the eye of the Maya ancestor, further precipitating the struggle
Copinol: k'op in hor: first time lifting up large one
28 - Lolotique: loh lot' ti': hit slacker mouth. Seems that a large one hit one of the Maya ancestors for falling behind.
29 - Amaya: ah mah ya: The bad poisoned one. The scratch was clearly infected.
30 - Rio Censo: xe'en soy: doubled over vomiting
31 - Los Amates: ah mah te' ehtz. Study the bad trunk. Perhaps the large ones let the Maya ancestors look closer at the injury.
32 - Chapeltique: ch'a' per ti': lying down rasping mouth. The infected one could barely breathe. Third night captured. One of the names the Maya gave to the large ones, Manik, means "bad convulsions" or "convulsions of the bad one."
33 - Guatajiagua: wat ah yah wa': being of infected one returns home. The death of the infected one.
34 - Yamabal: yah mah par: Carry a sick bad one. Seems another one was sick.
35 - Sensembra: xe'en tzem pura: Vomiting, stomach moving up and down.
36 - El Chaparral: ch'a' bar ahr: heavy sleep time. Fourth night captured
37 - Gotera: k'ot ter ha': Arrive water edge (river). [Note: now ter is tzer.]
38 - Lolotiquillo: loh lot' ti': hit slacker mouth. Again
39 - Gualindo Abajo: wa'ar in toh: First jaguar sacrifice. Jaguar killed a Maya ancestor.
40 - Rio Yubulba: yuh pur bah: Cluster moving up and down (over) body. Seems like a family of jaguars
41 - Ocotillo: ok koht ti': on all fours, mouth by the legs. Seems like the moment of attack of the jaguar.
42 - Sunsulaca: tzun sur ak' kah: foreigners begin peel off skin. Seem like they peeled off the skin of the dead one (what skin was left). Could be the basis for the much later practice of peeling the skin off of victims.
43 - Yoloaiquin: yor loh way kin: stick hits slacker sleeper. One or some slept late and were hit. Stick seems to refer to the large (tall) ones. Fifth night captured
44 - Rio Achiotes: ah ch'i'ih ot ehtz: observe shelter of giants
45 - Rio Tepemechin: teb ehm mech in: first descent to the hard shell. That is, to the Corinto Cave
46 - Cueva de Corinto: kor in toh: first nude sacrifice. First sacrifice at the hands of Xibalba, the victim of the jaguar, later their skin peeled (nude to the extreme). Hundreds of years later Hunahpu would be stripped before being killed here.
The Maya ancestors were held for some days in the cave. Hard to know how many but probably not a lot. At this point in the story is the escape of the Maya ancestors, perhaps in the night along the same path that they were already familiar with. After several hours near Ocotillo they may have turned northwest to follow the Torola valley. The trail picks up a bit later at Guiligüiste.
47 - Guiligüiste: wihri wis te': flying guardian in tree. Bird spirit protector
48 - Rio Osicala: ox sihk kar ha': Search water (for) handful (of) greens
49 - Gualococti: wa'ar lok' ok ti': Leg escapes jaguar mouth
50 - Rio Riachuelo: ach we'h lo': slacker turtle food. They grabbed a slower turtle. Note: The "Ri" at the beginning is not Ch'orti', perhaps it was combining Rio Achuelo in colonial times.
51 - Miracapa: nir ak' kahp bah: Scratch of skin of body heals. This probably refers to a scratch from the jaguar at Gualococti. Note: Seems that "nir" was changed to a more Spanish sounding "mir" in colonial times.
52 - Carolina: kar lor in ha': first greens (from) dark spot (in) water
53 - Rosas Nacaspilo: lox as nak kas b'i'r lo': Practice hitting stomach (with) fist, slackers breaking away (from) path. The first self-defense training of the Maya ancestors
54 - Rio Riachuelo: ach we'h lo': slacker turtle food. Again, more slacker turtles
55 - Cucurucho: kukur uch choh: Tumbling (with) pleasure love. Was this amorous place named on the escape trip or perhaps on a more relaxed return visit later on, easily within a few hours walk from the camp at the Lempa?
56 - Rio Jalala: har lar ha': Coming (to) woven water. The little river is very curvy.
57 - San Juán de Edén: san wa' ahn te' eht ten: Condition (of) swollen water, challenging clearing (of) trees. The clearing was made at a place called Jardín and people stayed probably some weeks or months where the Torola River joins the Lempa River (the swollen water). This is an example where a place with an indigenous name that sounded like Spanish words, was given that Spanish name, even if, in this case, St. John had nothing to do with Eden.
Discussion of the Wrestle at Chinameca
The wrestle at Chinameca is an important event in the Maya-Lenca-Olmec history. According to Raphael Girard, at least up to the 1950s when he wrote, the Ch'orti' did a wrestling ceremony in which a white giant (the blonde large ones) is against a black giant (the Maya ancestors, even though Girard had these characters in reverse order). The white giant is called "Gavite" by the Ch'orti', which is k'abi te', "seepage from trunk," a clear reference to the infected large one. The black giant is named Golillo which comes from k'ori, porter, one who hauled the things of the large ones. At the end of the drama, the black giant defeats the white giant, although in a final act the white giant defeats the black one, representing the later death of Hunahpu at the hands of Xibalba. The wrestling drama of the giants, with the names "Seepage from the Trunk" and "Porter" seems to be a clear reference to the events of Chinameca, some 10,600 years ago.
Other links to Chinameca comes from the name Olmec or Olmeca, which is based on hor mek' ha', or "Struggle with Large One over Water." This means that the person who wrestled the giant was Maix (Not Ready Yet), Majukutaj in the Popol Vuh, the founder of the Olmec and Lenca lineage. The wrestle could have been the moment in which Maix's name changed from Not Ready Yet to "Wrestle a Giant over Water." Surely the young Maix wanted to show to the others that he was ready. Chinameca also corresponds to Olomega, the lake home of the Olmec and Lenca for thousands of years: Olomega: hor ohom mek' ha': "froth (of) ones (that) wrestled large ones (over) water. Froth is a figure of speech that means lake or ocean but also home. It is not surprising that a name as important as Chinameca was carried to Mexico by the Olmecs and given to a village of Veracruz.
It was the same Maix or Olmeka (Holmekha) that had a partner woman of the large ones. The Maya ancestors named her Xb'akiyalo or xib pak'i yah lo', which means "molded by extended infected scraped." That seems to mean it was the daughter or possibly widow of the large one who died on the trail. This also makes it appear as though it happened very quickly after they arrived at Corinto Cave and that she was given to Olmeka as an honor for the wrestling match. The Olmec-Lenca lineage began as a half-and-half mix between the large yellow ones and a Maya-ancestor.
Another place where the history of the Chinameca wrestling match emerges is with the name Chichimeca of Mexico - a nomadic tribe of the north that, according to rumor, arrived to central Mexico as part of the make-up of the Aztecs. Chichimeca has two contrary meanings: chi can mean large or small depending on the inflection, so that Chichimeca could be "small one who wrestled against a giant over water" or "giant that wrestled a small one over water." The former is more likely and would indicate a residual Olmec population that had drifted north before the Aztec period. The latter case is interesting in that it would indicate a remnant population of the large ones (that would have separated from the El Salvador group sometime before 8700 BCE) in northern Mexico or the New Mexico area. Perhaps Chichimeca was meant as a warning, like Azteca, which in Ch'orti' is as tech' ka, that is "beginning of the practice of opening up."
Discussion of the Large Yellow Foreigners
I already discussed the evidence that there was a race of large people in Central America before the arrival of the Maya ancestors, that in the Popol Vuh were called Xibalba. With the name of the village Sungano there is clear evidence that the Maya ancestors called them "yellow". This could point to a European origin - consistent with the Solutrean Hypothesis, but other evidence points to Asia and specifically Japan.
There is one Native American group that carries in its name the word foreigner in Ch'orti' and that is the Zuni, which means "foreigner" or "foreign nose." The Zuni have blood, DNA, teeth, and skeletal structure that is different from all other Native Americans, but very similar to the Japanese and specifically the old population of the Jomon and Ainu, on the north island. They probably crossed the Bering Strait passage to the Americas somewhat after the Maya ancestors (and the ancestors of most other indigenous in the Americas) landed by raft in Chile.
Descendants of the Bering Strait passage group would be the people of the Clovis points who may have almost died out with the end of the large game in North America. At least one group of descendants made it to Central America. Besides Corinto, there is evidence of very early presence in Honduras and skeletal remains at Tulum, Mexico have a probable date of up to 14,500 years ago. In Ch'orti' Tulum means "beings (under) earth," signifying that the Maya had also found the skeletons. The passive treatment of the "beings" suggests that they were not Maya ancestors. And a second group may have gone to South America. The name Surinam means in Ch'orti' "first disappearance of the foreigners."