Kʼinich Yoʼnal Ahk I, also known as Ruler 1, was an ajaw (leader) of Piedras Negras whose name may have meant “Great-Sun-Turtle.”  The title kʼinich translates to “Red-Faced”–a reference to the rulers’ belief that they were the “lords of the sun.”  It is believbed that he ascended to the throne on November 14, 603.  Mayanists have hypothesized that he founded a new line of rulers at Piedras Negras, possibly following some disaster that dethroned the previous leaders.  He systematically razed buildings and monuments erected by, or associated with, previous kings, likely to discredit them.  After this period, Kʼinich Yoʼnal Ahk I began to erect new buildings.  He waged battles against Palenque (Piedras Negras’s main rival) and Sak Tz’I’ (a “lesser polity”); in the former war, he reportedly captured an aj kʼuhuun (“lord”) and in the latter, another ajaw.  Kʼinich Yoʼnal Ahk I was likely buried at Pyramid R-5, and was succeeded by his son, Itzam K’an Ahk, who later dedicated or re-opened his father’s tomb in 658 AD. 

Sources:  Robert Sharer, Loa Traxler, The Ancient Maya (Stanford University Press, 2005).  Retrieved 12/12/2019,  The Ancient Maya - Robert J. Sharer, Loa P. Traxler - Google Books
Graphic:  Gen. Quan, 8/5/2014.  Public Domain.  

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