JANUARY 2, 695


Uaxaclajuun Ubʼaah Kʼawiil (aka “Eighteen Rabbit”), was the 13th ajaw or ruler of the Maya polity of Copán in modern Honduras.  He ascended to the throne upon the death of Smoke Imix and began his reign with the construction of the Esmeralda Structure in order to entomb Smoke Imix’s remains.  He later constructed a hieroglyphic stairway on the east side of the Esmeralda Structure.  Eighteen Rabbit is considered the greatest patron of the arts in Copan’s history.  This period was characterized by florid reliefs which included: Structure 10L-22, a sacred man-made mountain; and a ballcourt, exceeded only by that of Chichen Itza (dedicated only 113 days before his death).  He was captured and beheaded by Kʼakʼ Tiliw Chan Yopaat, ruler of the small polity of Quirigua, on May 3, 738.  Quirigua, previously a vassal of Copan, declared its independence from Copan in 734.  No new structures or monuments were erected for 18 years after Copan’s defeat. 

Sources:  “The Lost King of the Maya, NOVA.  Retrieved 2/16/2021, NOVA | Transcripts | Lost King of the Maya | PBS
Stuart, David (1996). "Hieroglyphs and History at Copán,". Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.  Retrieved 2/16/2021, Hieroglyphs and History at Copán (archive.org)
Photo:  Talk2winik, 2/12/2009.  Copan Stela B.  Public Domain.

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