The Kaqchikel (also called Kachiquel) are one of the indigenous Maya peoples of the midwestern highlands in Guatemala. The name was formerly spelled in various other ways, including Cakchiquel, Cakchiquel, Kakchiquel, Caqchikel, and Cachiquel.
In Postclassic Maya times the capital of the main branch of the Kaqchikel was Iximché. Like the neighboring K'iche' (Quiché), they were governed by four lords: Tzotzil, Xahil, Tucuché and Acajal, who were responsible for the administrative, military and religious affairs. The Kakchikel recorded their history in the book Annals of the Cakchiquels, also known as Memorial de Sololá.
Iximché was conquered by the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Alvarado in 1524. At that time, the Kaqchikel were the enemies of the neighbouring K'iche' Kingdom, and helped the Spaniards to conquer it. The first colonial capital of Guatemala, Tecpán Guatemala, was founded near Iximché on July 25, 1524. On November 22, 1527, after several Kaqchikel uprisings, the capital was moved to Ciudad Vieja, near Antigua Guatemala.
The Kaqchikel language, one of the Mayan languages, is spoken today by 400,000 people. They subsist agriculturally, and their culture reflects a fusion of Maya and Spanish influences. In November 1920, Cameron Townsend attended a gathering of politicians and diplomats from various Central American countries, after which he desired to began the difficult process of writing down the Kapchikel language and thereby to translate the Bible into their native language. Cameron completed this massive undertaking on October 15, 1928, and sent the New Testament off to print. This was the genesis of the Wycliffe Bible Translators.
These early missionaries helped improve the lives of this and countless other tribes, so much that in the fall of 1936, President Lazaro Cardenas of Mexico recognized this work. He invited as many translators into Mexico as possible to help all of the other tribes in the country.
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