About our ancient history
In addition to the Lenca “Corinto Cave” in eastern El Salvador; archaic agricultural remains in our ancestral sites such as El Gigante, has shown that we began our relationship with our land, agriculture and interaction with the ecosystem at around 3440 BC. In addition, archaeological material from the Lenca taulepa settlemenst at Yojoa corresponds to human presence and agricultural tradition at around 4500 BC. Furthermore, we find that in Oxwitike or Copan, our human activity began as early as 2600 BC. This means that by the time when the Maya Chorti established the city of Copan, installing their first King in the 5th century AD; the aboriginal people of our land had been here for several thousands of years before this event.
"When the Maya and the Nahuat arrived to the Copan Valley, and to what we call El Salvador and Nicaragua, there were already indigenous nations inhabiting the land, these multi-ethnic communities are what we give the generic name of Lenca. Their caves and other paleoindian art, dates back in time, close to the last ice age. The Lenca have been the link between the two great cultural blocs; the South American and the North American cultures. We are the meeting point of Chibcha, Mesoamerican , Caribbean and potentially Pacific culture and genetics" (Chevez 1999).
All cultures have their own narratives about their origin; these narratives help people make sense of their environment, their world and themselves. Our tribe or group of tribes which are now called Lenca people, were once inhabitants of an ancient land on the pacific coast of El Salvador. This land was called by our ancestors Anamerike or Ajkmerike. Some time later, other brethrens joined us when their land Oxwitike on the Atlantic coast also went under the fearsome waves. It seems that my first ancestors, who lived on the Pacific Coast and those on what is now the Bay of Honduras, had to run further inland, as the sea took away their first county.
The " Cantares del Pinol" or the oral tradition of our Royal Elder tells us that our first homeland was called Ajkmerike and that this was created by the maker itself. This was the first land that Aku (God) lifted from the deep waters and with the help of the eight lords and ladies of creation, it was shaped in a sacred square, just like a "Milpa" (later on a Mayan traditional cornfield). During that time our people were called Manauele. This is a true surname in my family.
With the advance in satellite imaging, we are discovering that the sacred landscaped mentioned by our elder, the land shaped in perfect square is indeed a section of the earth crust. This plate is now submerged under the pacific ocean and is intriguingly placed and shaped in the way our oral tradition describes our first homeland. Scientist tell us that the square in our narrative is not this plate, but that it could be land closer to the edge of El Salvador and Nicaragua. Here, the forces of the major plates fight each other constantly.
It said that Anamerike was a magical land, hence we still call our region " The Enchanted Valley " echoing the ancient story that says that the our homeland is endowed with magical powers or Manaku. ("Mana" meaning power or divine force , and "Ku" for sacred). Today, the eastern region of El Salvador, from Jiquilisco to the Fonseca Gulf show the scars of the violent event that in one instant snapped our royal district. Current Managuara is a fragment of what once was the great land of the Lencas.
Despite the passing of time, our people continues to use the ancient names to refer to their villages. for example, all Lenca lands that were established by our royal lords and ladies have in their names particles such as aka,ike, uka, uaka, agua, ana, amba, lepa, ire, ira, ala, roa, and so forth. The most obvious of all and which denotes "Land or Place of the Lenca Crown" are those with names ending in ike, these days spelled ique using Spanish sounds. Examples of this are Lislique, lepatique, chaguantique, oromontique, lolotique, chaparrastique, and many more.
The Manauele people and its dynasty gave settlement rights to their neighbours royal rulers when these came to request such favour. There is a rich narrative describing the protocol of naming the land and anchoring to the belt of the Jaguar King. As the Taulepe or those of the House of the Jaguar, we have the dynastic right to name the places in the realm in our royal language, hence, you will notice that despite the fact that some places are inhabited by non-lencas, their lands still have Lenca names. This is how our people became known as the Jaguar people. This feline became the royal symbol for many royal houses in Central and South America.