Maya region colors-crop

Maps of Maya Regions and Palenque (Lakam Ha)

The lands of the Mayas cover much of southern Mexico, in the states of Tabasco, Chiapas, Yucatan, Campeche, and Quintana Roo.   They extend to Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.

Mayan civilization began at least by 2000 BCE and the oldest hieroglyphic writing yet discovered has been dated to 500-400 BCE.  This indicates the Maya developed their writing system centuries before, in times of great antiquity.  The huge metropolis called El Mirador, deep in Guatemala jungles, is 2500 years old and even larger and more impressive than Tikal.

The region around Palenque, called B’aakal,  was settled by 500 BCE and slowly grew in population.  The ruling Bahlam dynasty began carving records of their history around 400 CE, though they traced their origins to the gods of mythical time.  When the story of Yohl Ik’nal begins in 562 CE, Lakam Ha was modestly developed in the western and central parts of the long ridge at the edge of the Sierra de Chiapas mountains.  Later the city spread east to cover the entire shelf and spilled down the steep sides.

Map of Central and Southern Maya Regions, Middle Classic Period (500-600 CE)

Maya area map w-insert

(click on image to enlarge)

Names of cities, rivers and seas are the ones used in this book.  Most are known Classic Period names; some have been created for the story.  Many other cities existed but are omitted for simplicity.  Inset map shows location of Maya Regions in southern Mexico, Yucatan Peninsula and Central America.

Map of Lakam Ha (Palenque) Western and Central Areas – Older Sections of Settlement (circa 500-600 CE)

Palenque map_west-old section (click on image to enlarge)

Dark boxes are fictional structures added for the story.  Structures important to the story are labeled.  This does not signify that these structures were actually used for purposes described in the story.  The city extends further east, but these sections were built later.

Based upon maps from The Palenque Mapping Project, Edwin Barnhart, 1999.  A FAMSI-sponsored project.  Used with permission of Edwin Barnhart.