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There was a time when archaeologists believed the portraits in the stelae of Tikal to be astronomers and priests, of a totally impersonal nature and that the glyphs contained in the stelae were only information on sacred dates. Later on, the notion that these had been actual rulers of Tikal became more obvious and archaeologists started elaborating on the subject and piecing the puzzle together. The following sequence is product of different scientists’ work, professionals who have dedicated many years to the study of glyphs and logographic and phonetic symbols found in Maya writing.

When the actual sound of a grapheme was not known, the logographs were interpreted as its name in English by archaeologists. Say, if a glyph depicted a boar’s head, the ruler would then be named Boar… such as Kan Boar, then named Kan Chita’am and now known as K’an Ak. Hence names such as Decorated Jaguar, Jaguar Scroll and so on were given to the Rulers of Tikal by archaeologists. But as epigraphers advance in their quest to decipher Maya glyphs the names given to the Rulers change with time: during the first years of excavation at Tikal, for instance, a name was given to one of the Lords of Tikal: Ruler A, later as some of the glyphs related to him became known he was called Ah Cacaw. Today that Ruler’s exact name is thought to have been Jasaw Chan K’awiil I.

Following you will find an approximation to Tikal’s Dynastic lineage, founded by Yax Moch Xoc, whose name is now deciphered and thought to have been Yax Ehb’ Xook. We don’t know who preceded him and on what dates they reigned in Tikal. The first date given for a Ruler of Tikal is on 292 AD and the last is on 869 AD. This is by no means a complete account of all that is known about Tikal’s Dynastic Rulers. Professional guides should be able to tell you about them and bring the story of Tikal to life for you…

Name of Ruler
Access to Throne
Date of reign
Monuments/ Importance
Yax Ehb' Xook
Founder of the Tikal Lineage
Balam Ajaw or Decorated Jaguar
292 A.D.
Stelae 29 & 31
K'inich Ehb' or Animal Headdress    
Stela 1 from El Encanto
Siyaj Chan K'awiil I
  307 A.D. Stela 1 from El Encanto
Ix Une' B'alam
Lady Une' B'alam
317 A.D.
Stela 31 (twice) & small sherd *fragment of a vase* found in Tikal says "The lady… was born…"
K'inich Muwaan Jol
?-359 A.D.
Stela 39, appears on Dynastic vase, Stela 28, Stela from Corozal, & on sculpture named Man of Tikal
Chak Tok Ich'aak I
Great Jaguar Paw I
360 A.D. approximately
360- 378 A.D.
Stelae 26, 31, 39 & Stela from Corozal, & on sculpture named Man of Tikal
Yax Nuun Ayiin I
Curl Snout
379 A.D.
Until his death in 404 A.D.?
Stelae 4, 18 and 31 on sculpture named Man of Tikal
Siyaj Chan K'awiil II
Stormy Sky
411 A.D.
Until his death on 456 A.D., but he is burried 2 years later on Temple 33
Stela 1, 28, 31 and 40
K'an Ak
Kan Boar (Pecary)
458 A.D.
Until his death on 486 A.D. ?
Stelae 2, 9, 13 and 40
Chak Tok Ich' aak II
Jaguar Paw II
486 A.D.
Until his death on 508 A.D. ?
Stela 3, 7, 15 & 27
Ix Yo K'in or
Lady of Tikal
511 A.D.
Until her death on 527 A.D.
Stela 6, 12 and 23
Kaloomte' B'alam
511 A.D. ?
527 A.D.
Stela 10, 12 and 25
Bird Claw?
Stela 8
Wak Chan K'awil or Double Bird
December 29th, 537 A.D.
Until his death on 562 A.D.
Stela 17 and on Altar 21 of Caracol, dying
K'inich Waaw
Animal Skull
593 A.D.
628 A.D.
His portrait appears on a polychrome vase from Tikal, also on MT 216 and 217
K'inich Wayaan
Ceramics obtained without context, found in several collections in Europe, at the Tikal Museum and at the Popol Vuh Museum in Guatemala City
K'inich Muwaan Jol II
Ceramics obtained without context, found in several collections in Europe, at the Tikal Museum and at the Popol Vuh Museum in Guatemala City
Nuun Ujol Chak or Shield Skull
657 A.D.
Died in 679 A.D.
Married Lady Throne Jaguar/ Named in Lintel 3 of Temple I
Jasaw Chan K'awiil I or Ruler A
682 A.D.
Died 734 A.D. and was burried in a spectacular ceremony beneath Temple I
Married Lady 12 Macaw/ Monuments: Stela 30 & 16/ Lintels 2 and 3 of Temple I
Yik'in Chan K'awiil or Ruler B
734 A.D.
 On 746 A.D. he was still in power
Monuments: Stela 5, 20 and 21 of Temple IV
766 A.D.
768 A.D.
Monuments: Temple VI
Yax Nuun Ayiin II or Ruler C
768 A.D.
790 A.D.
Stelae 19 and 22, Altars 6 & 10
Nuun Ujol K'inich
800 A.D.?
810 A.D.?
Mentioned on Lintel of Temple III
Dark Sun
810 A.D.?
Depicted on Stela 24 of Temple III & Lintel of Temple III
Jewel K'awil
849 A.D.
Mentioned on Stela 10 from Ceibal
Jasaw Chan K'awiil II
869 A.D.
889 A.D.
Depicted on Stela 11 of Tikal and Stela 12 of Uaxactun twenty years later

This work was compiled by several Maya Archaeologists since the 1960s. It has been the object of various revisions and profound academic discussions since then. All of the archaeological content on www.tikalpark.com was updated and revised by Juan Antonio Valdes, PhD on February 2001. He and Architect Federico Fahsen revised it again on June 2003. We sincerely thank both for revising www.tikalpark.com

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