NEW PERSPECTIVES ON THE LATE CLASSIC POLITICAL HISTORY OF
a1 Department of Art and Art History, California
State University at Chico, Chico, CA 95929-0820, USA
This article summarizes the Late Classic history
of the Maya city of Quirigua, Izabal, Guatemala, emphasizing
its relations with other polities. Quirigua's origins
as a kingdom are traced to A.D. 426, when the
rulers of nearby Copan established it as a colony. For
the next three centuries, the site apparently mediated
an intense interaction between Copan and Tikal. In A.D.
736, a personage from Tikal's rival city, Calakmul,
acted with the current king of Quirigua—Buts'
Tiliw—shortly before his A.D. 738 revolt
against Copan. This suggests that Quirigua's revolt
may have been, in part, externally stimulated. The revolt
of Quirigua against Copan initiated a series of wars by
Buts' Tiliw and his successor, Sky Xul, directed against
two unknown sites. At least one of these sites was probably
within the Copan hegemony. In contrast to the reigns of
Buts' Tiliw and Sky Xul, that of the last known king
of Quirigua, Jade Sky, seems to have been free of warfare.
In fact, in his final monumental text, Jade Sky indicated
his reconciliation with Copan. This interpretation of the
texts of Quirigua suggests that changes in alliance and
wars played an important role in the development of the
site during the Late Classic period.