Queen Ix Yohl Ik’nal, 583

December 23, 583. Yes, that’s 583, not a four digit number, since today we’re honoring the Mayan civilization during its Classic period.  On December 23, 583, the Mayan ruler Ix Yohl Ik’nal was inaugurated as Queen of the Mayan state of Palenque in southern Mexico.  While not geographically the largest Mayan city state, Palenque is still home to some of the most elegant sculpture and architecture of the rich Mayan Classic period.  As of the 21st century, Yohl Ik’nal is the first woman known to have ruled in the Mayan kingdoms, and is one of the few women who held this office.  Her name translates as “Lady Heart of the Wind Place”.  She ruled for 21 years during a relatively peaceful period. (Image of the Mayan glyph for Yohl Ik’nal’s name, from author Joel Skidmore’s publication on “The Rulers of Palenque”.)