The Underworld, translates roughly into “Place of Fear” or “Place of Phantoms”. Like most ancient people groups the Maya believed that Xibalba had multiple levels to it — nine to be exact. Xibalba was described as existing below the surface of the Earth. The entrance was said to be in a cave in the vicinity of Cobán, Guatemala. Xibalba typically related to death and it was ruled by 12 gods known as the Lords of Xibalba. The ninth and most horrible level, Metnal, is ruled by Ah Puch (pictured). There are two Lords of Death, One Death and Seven Death. Under them, the Lords of Xibalba: House Corner and Blood Gatherer, drawing blood from people; Pus Master and Jaundice Master, who cause people to swell and pus and make their faces yellow; Bone Scepter and Skull Scepter, who emaciate people; Trash Master and Stab Master, who puncture trashy Maya until they die; Wing 4 and Packstrap, who cause sudden death on the road; and Bloody Teeth and Bloody Claws. Xibalba is a huge city, filled with tests, trials and traps for those who enter. Even the Road to Xibalba was filled with obstacles: a river filled with scorpions, a river filled with blood, and then a river filled with pus. After was a crossroads where travelers had to choose from four roads that spoke in an attempt to confuse the traveler. Choosing correctly the traveler would come upon the Xibalban council place, where it was expected visitors would greet the seated Lords. Realistic mannequins were seated near the Lords to confuse and humiliate people who greeted them, and the confused would then be invited to sit upon a bench, which was actually a hot cooking surface. The Lords of Xibalba would entertain themselves by humiliating people in this fashion before sending them into one of Xibalba’s deadly tests. Cenote, ts’onot, or well is a naturally formed hole caused by the collapsing of limestone bedrock. It is especially seen in the Yucatan peninsula. Since there aren’t many rivers or lakes in the Yucatan the Mayan’s built their towns near these wells. Not only was it a natural source of water for them, but also very sacred. The most noted sacred cenote, or Well of Sacrifice” (above), is located at, now a popular tourist destination, Chichen Itza. Mayans sacrificed objects and humans into this cenote as worship to their rain god Chaac; who was believed to have lived at the bottom. Edward Herbert Thompson, who owned the land that Chichen Itza sits on, dredged the cenote from 1904 – 1910. This dredging recovered artifacts of gold, jade, pottery, incense, and human remains. Studies have been since and have proven that the wounds found on the human remains came from human sacrifice. The Mayans also believed that a sacred cenote was one way to enter Xibalba — place of fear — the Mayan underworld. The cenote was so important to the Maya that it ended up on drawing with Chaac, the Water Lily Serpent, and Chaac Chel.There is evidence to show that the Mayans did practice the rite of ritualistic human sacrifice. Not a lot is known as to why they were sacrificed, except for the children. Children were sacrificed for specific circumstances, notably for template, and other structure, dedications, for the dedication of a new king, and at the beginning of the Maya calendar. More recently archeologists and analysis have discovered that children were also sacrificed for private ceremonies by the lesser elitesIt was in 1517 that the Spaniards first arrived on the shores of the Yucatan. The brightly-clad arrivals were awed at the size and complexity of the Mayan cities. It didn’t take long for the Spaniards to begin to systematically destroy the Maya identity, forcing their own Hispanic culture them in the name of God. Mayan books and idols were burned and great works of art that told of their ancient history were destroyed. The Spanish language, culture, and way of life were imposed on the millions of Mayans, at least those that survived the sickness that came with the influx of the Spanish explorers. Despite centuries of brutality and repression the Spanish never fully succeeded in breaking the Mayan identity. There were many insurrections against the Spanish down through the years, eleven major uprisings between 1546 and 1761; each stopped by the Spanish forces. For over 80 years after the last insurrection, the Mayan people settled to a life of Hispanic domination. In 1847 a new Mayan offensive was launched by two rebel leaders; Cecilio Chi from Tepich and Jacinto Pat from Tihosuco. The Mayan attack grew quickly and advanced at great speed. For the first time, the Spanish military and landowners were not able to suppress the offensive, which came to be known as the Caste War. It became one of the most violent conflicts in the history of the Mayan world and lead to the eventual freedom, and restoration of the identity, of the Maya. But what helped unite the Maya to collectively oppose their enemy after so many ill attempts had failed? Former outbreaks of armed conflict were limited in size and scope and generally included one or two Mayan groups. Could it be, as legend has it, that it was the magic and influence of the Talking Cross that united the fragmented villages and tribes into one major war effort? The mysterious Cross, which some said miraculously appeared in the jungle and spoke to the Mayan leaders, was believed to be a way in which God communicated. The Cross told the war chiefs that the conflict should continue, that the people must be patient in their fight, and better organized for this conflict. The village of Chan Santa Cruz became the religious and political center of the Maya resistance thereafter, and the rebellion came to be infused with religious significance. Chan Santa Cruz also became the name of the largest of the independent Maya states as well as the name of the capital town. The followers of the Cross became known as “Cruzob”.