Jacinto Canek or Jacinto Uc de los Santos c. However, the Mayas continued armed revolt against the Spanish into the 18th century, and after an interruption, into the early 20th century under Mexican jurisdiction. Lands owned in common by the Mayans were taken and given as land grants in the form of haciendas to either the Catholic Church or to Spanish noblemen , interfering with the means of subsistence of the Maya. The Maya population was forced to work as slave labor for the conquering Spanish, while all traces of their cultural world, particularly temples and writings, were systematically destroyed by the Spanish.

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While thinking about a topic for this article, it came to mind the case of Jacinto Canek and the horrible torment and execution to which he was subjected. Much has been written about Canek since that distant Many historians, ether Yucatecans, nationals and foreigners during all these years, have dedicated numerous pages to this singular leader. The sources are somewhat confused as to the narration of the events since some authors point out that it was a drunken brawl that got out of control and others that it was a real conspiracy, planned in advance and that the facts and circumstances determined a fatal outcome for the conspirators.

Even today, the image of Jacinto Canek is deeply rooted in the collective memory of the Yucatecan people as a symbol of vindication and resistance of the Mayan people against Spanish oppression. When he was very young, a Franciscan friar took him under his protection and care.

He took him to the Great Convent of San Francisco, where he entered the service and protection of the friars of that mendicant order, receiving an education that those of his race and condition rarely received; it seems that he had knowledge of Latin and basic logic and had access to the volumes of history of Yucatan from the treasured library the convent had.

On the streets, he dedicated himself to the bakery trade, establishing himself in the Santiago neighborhood of the city of Merida. He had close contacts with the servants of the wealthy houses of the city, taking knowledge of the abuses to which his Mayan brothers were submitted under the Spanish colonial domination; It is for this reason that a rebellion began to forge, which had as its scheduled date for the uprising December 25, , however, the events that I will narrate next, anticipated the events.

In November , Jacinto Canek went with his subordinates to the village of Cisteil pronounced Kisteil as they were celebrating the feast of the patron saint of that town. On the 20th, as is customary during these festivities, liquor flowed in abundance, so Canek, his followers, and other Mayan Indians who joined them were soon drunk.

At one point, they demanded more liquor from a Spanish merchant named Diego Pacheco, who refused them in a wrong way, to the extent that it led to a brawl that resulted in the murder of the merchant by an angry mob.

The Mayas tried to attack another Spaniard who was in the village, a priest named Miguel Ruela. He was officiating mass in the village church, which is why the rebels did not dare to break in and waited for the celebration to end. Ruela was warned, so he mounted his horse and fled at full gallop to the town of Sotuta, where, alarmed, he gave notice to the military chief of the place, Captain Tiburcio Cosgaya, who was known for his harsh treatment of the Mayans. Cosgaya sent a messenger to give notice to Merida, sent men to prepare to go to Cisteil, and without waiting for them, he left on horseback and at the head of 10 dragons, some sources mention that there were 14 and 20 others, to face the rebels.

The last stronghold to resist the Spanish, who conquered it on March 13, He harangued the people of Cisteil, inciting them to shake off the Spanish yoke, in turn assuring them of victory, since he claimed supernatural powers. It is said that, in the paroxysm incited by his words and alcohol, the indigenous people of the town took the mantle and crown of the Virgin from the temple and crowned him King of the Yucatan Maya.

He then dispatched messengers to the neighboring towns, inviting the Mayans to join his uprising and began making preparations to defend the town, since they knew that Father Reulas would come to sound the alarm. The reckless and confident Cosgaya arrived at nightfall with his riders to Cisteil, thinking that with his mere presence he would pacify the rebels, some sources indicate that he and his men were drunk when they arrived at the main square of the town, he was attacked by the rebels, and the Captain and his men were massacred, only one managed to escape and warn about the defeat.

The news spread like wildfire through the neighboring towns. They immediately panicked, even in the city of Merida, where they saw indigenous enemies everywhere, and the false alarms and frights were a daily occurrence.

The news reached Merida and, of course, the governor, who at the time was Governor and Captain-General of the Province of Yucatan, the military veteran Jose Crespo y Honorato, who ordered Captain Cristobal de Calderon to leave with numerous troops. Again the sources vary between to well-armed men to confront Canek and his people, as well as two field guns. Calderon took his time to attack the rebels.

It took him almost a week to gather his troops and make preparations. The attack in Cisteil happened on November It was a bloody battle, the Mayan rebels fought hard, with no sign of surrender, and the Spaniards, for their part, attacked fiercely, giving the defenders no respite. Around Mayans were killed, and only 40 Spaniards wounded. Jacinto Canek and his men set fire to the church, and the royal house of the town filled with those who took refuge in these buildings, and they perished in flames.

Jacinto Canek fled and retreat to the Huntulchac hacienda, where he faced the government troops on November 27, but was again defeated and again fled with the people he had left. That same day he was learned in the savannah of Sibac along with his closest friends. On December 11 the sentences began to be dictated, to Jacinto Canek they sentenced him to the death penalty by attachment, his body dismembered and burned and its ashes scattered to the wind and the day to carry out the execution of fixed for Monday, December 14, , to 8 in the morning.

On the scaffold, eight very tall executioners prepared the pincers, iron bars, and other instruments to carry out the horrible sentence, while they passed from hand to hand a bottle of aguardiente to which they gave long drinks.

At the appointed time, Jacinto Canek leaves the public jail that was meters away from the scaffold led by soldiers; this jail was located between the current palace of government and what is known as the house of the sheriff, specifically, where the Picheta Passage is currently located. Canek is followed by his confessor, a priest named Lorra, and other religious men. Upon arrival at the scaffold, the executioners place Canek on the table where the torture will take place and tie his hands and feet.

The priest Lorra suddenly jumps on the scaffold and exclaims a singular speech in favor of the condemned man, however, his efforts were useless and only brought him many antipathies to the point that later on he was suspended from his ministry; at a sign from the governor the religious is expelled from the scaffold and the executioners began with the execution of the torture.

This torture is designed to cause the prisoner a slow and painful agony. The sentence was carried out with cruel zeal on the part of the executioners, until one, at one point, and since Canek was not exclaiming the expected screams of pain, he laid a brutal blow with his crowbar on his head that took his life instantly. Despite the above, the sentence continued to be carried out, the executioners continued to tear the flesh off with the pincers and incandescent bars, they broke his bones and teeth, they took out his eyes and finally dismembered him, his remains were put into sisal sacks and taken to the field where the battered body was cremated and his ashes scattered by the wind.

In Yucatan history, there was never before or since, a condemned person who suffered such a punishment before I documented for this article, the only case I knew of death by hanging, was precisely that of Canek. From what I was able to research, it seems that this form of execution was scarce and was intended for people who committed severe crimes. Such was the case of Robert-Francois Damiens, who was executed, just four years earlier, on March 2, , and in a very similar way to Jacinto Canek, for the attempted murder of King Louis XV of France; perhaps it was the case of this unfortunate man that inspired Governor Crespo y Honorato and Licenciado Maldonado.

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. By Yucatan Times on April 19, Image by Fernando Castro Pacheco - A Yucatecan painter, muralist, sculptor, engraver and illustrator.

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Jacinto Canek b. Thousands of Indians joined his movement, which combined traditional Maya and Christian elements and sought both cultural and political autonomy. The Spanish colonial authorities, using their military might, finally defeated Canek's forces in battle, thus crushing the movement. Canek was captured, tried, and executed by being torn limb-from-limb. See also Maya, The. Nancy M. Farriss, Nancy M.


Jacinto Canek, The Mayan Hero



Jacinto Canek And His Cruel And Unusual Punishment.



Canek, Jacinto (c. 1731–1761)


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