Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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CANEK, cacique of Itzalan, Mexico; died about 1532. The capital of his kingdom was on an island at the centre of Lake Itza (Peten), and when Cortes visited the shores of that lake on his way to Hibueras, Canek and his court met him in a most friendly manner, and, after entertaining him for a few days, became a Christian and a subject of the king of Spain. Afterward he made many efforts to suppress idolatry among his people, but did not succeed. On his departure from Peten the Spanish conqueror had left a sick horse under the care of the Indians, who did their best to cure him; but the horse died and the Itznex raised statues to him and worshipped them as the representation of the god of lightning. Yucatec prince of the royal family of Manu, founder of the Itza nation, flourished in the early part of the 15th century. He was one of the tributary princes that declared their independence of the old Yucatec or Maya monarchy nearly 100 years before the conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards. Canek did not separate from the old kingdom for political reasons; he fell in love with the betrothed of another prince, and, being unable to prevent her marriage by any other means, gathered some of his followers, attacked the wedding party during the ceremony, and carried away the bride. The disappointed bridegroom led a numerous army against Canek, who took refuge in the mountainous country between Chipas, Yucatan, and Guatamala, and there founded the Itza nation.
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