The Royal House of Managuara
The Princely House of Managuara Najochan (Enchanted Valley), the place of origin of the Lenca Nation.
There are many royal houses still functioning in many countries today. Most of these are in European and Scandinavian countries. Some are in Asia and Africa, and several others in the Arab world. When it comes to the Americas, most ruling chiefs and monarchs of the indigenous nations were killed or removed by the successive powers that have ruled this part of the world since European incursion in 1492. The only exception that we have today is the Jaguar House, a Maya-Lenca family that has survived countless threats and obstacles.
The original name of this house is Taulepa (House of the Jaguar) and the ancient name of the dynasty is Manauele. The House and its dynasty constitute ‘the crown’ which in turn is head of the Guancasco (peoples’ assembly) and by tradition exercise the role of a Crown, determining the laws that govern the land and its people. To better understand this institution we offer an introductory reading bellow.
The Princely House of Managuara Najochan (Enchanted Valley), the place of origin of the Lenca Nation. This house is a sovereign institution with thousands of years of history and tradition. The right of indigenous people to preserve their institutions and structures is enshrined in the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Indigenous People of the World, 2007.
"Indigenous peoples have the right to promote, develop and maintain their institutional structures and their distinctive customs, spirituality, traditions, procedures, practices and, in the cases where they exist, juridical systems or customs in accordance with international human rights standards."
"Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the responsibilities of individuals to their communities"
The Princely House of Managuara (Enchanted Valley) is one of the oldest noble families in nowadays El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. While it began as a small clan, run by jaguar women, it became a powerful unit that convinced many tribes to form one kingdom. The current royal line began with its founder Princess Comizahual II, who unified the many tribes around 900 BC and established the Maya Lenca Kingdom of Najochán. She was named Comizahual II by the local tribes, as a Royal Title meaning “ Flying Jaguar”. Once the royal role became institutionalized, many other lords and ladies from neighbouring tribes pledged allegiance to the new monarchy. Thus, the small principality grew into the kingdom of Managuara.
Today, Managuara Proper (Enchanted Valley) is situated to the south east of La Union El Salvador, but in ancient times the name was given to Crown territories, which included the entire eastern region of El Salvador. This small corner of the land was the symbolic “navel” of our Lenca Nation that eventually grew and expanded north, establishing the Caribbean Dominion of Manatike or Manabike which exercised jurisdiction over its waters called Amatike in northern Honduras and Bay Islands. In addition, the Lenca expansion reached the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua, establishing the Dominions of Akahualenka and Managua. The Lenca rulers administered the city states in the vicinity of their family’s royal precinct, the northern regions towards Honduras and the south Pacific to Acahualenka. The oral tradition tells of an uninterrupted Lenca line of descent that began with Balam-Colop and his tribe which is mentioned in the Popol Vuh, one of the few surviving pre-Columbian books of the Americas.
Balam Colop obtained the Lordship of the Jaguar People and was the receiver of their language at the time that God became languages, in a sacred mountain in a land that is now under the sea; a land called Anamerike. The acquisition of a language was of great significance for each tribe. According to oral tradition each tribe carried a part of god in the form of language thus legitimizing his divine rule and membership to one common origin.
The Jaguar women was a lineage that kept to themselves, they were considered of sacred origin, and for this reason, their children were requested by foreign nations to become their rulers. By giving children as rulers and by accepting new small tribes as citizens, the Lenca Royal Family obtained substantial possession within the territory of the southern most point of Mesoamerica. The importance of his rule was demonstrated by erecting sacred settlements such as rock shelters known as Corinto Cave, Taulebe Cave, and later cities such as Kelepa and others nearby. In some of these caves, the royal female is depicted in great splendour and grace. It tells of the power and authority our Jaguar Queens commanded over the realm since ancient times.
During the following centuries, the family strove, by means of new acquisitions, to consolidate its possessions in the highlands of Cacahuatique and Nahuaterique. The domain was also further extended in the South East to the Choluteca River and further to Acahualenka. In 900 A.D a new noble tribe arrived from the ancient people of Managuá and Oxwitike, nowadays called Copán. They were a city state made of people from the Seminole Mountains in the northern border of Honduras and Guatemala. This mountains were renamed by the Spaniards as “Sierra del Espiritu Santo”. The Managuá (Copan) migrants where related to the Lenca by virtue of their ancient origin, and with the approval of the Lenca Crown they established the Chieftain of Cacaguatique Sesoli in eastern El Salvador. These were the Eagle People and they mixed in marriages with the Lenca, thus the royal family divided into three main lines, the Managuara, the Cacaguatique Sesoli and the Uxulvotan know known as Usulutan. Together they established the city states of Anamoros, Arambala,Araute,Arcatao, Cacahuatique, Canaire, Cancasque, Conchagua, Curaren, Chapeltique,Chilanga, Chirilagua, Chocoaique, Ereuayquin, Gotera, Gualama, Gualcho, Guancora, Guatajiagua, Guarrapuca, Guaymetique, Guaripe, Intipuca,Jiquilisco, Joateca, Jocoaitique, Jocomontique, Jocoro, Jucuaran, Camauayquin, Lislique, Lolotique, Manaquil, Maquigua, Meanguera, Moncagua, Monteca, Muyukakin, Niqueresque, Osicala, Pasaquina, Perquin, Poloros, Potonico, Queiquin, Quelepa, Saco, Sensembra, Sesoli, Silaiquin, Singaltique, Sinsimontique, Sirigualtique, Tihuilotal, Torola, Yamabal, Yoloaikin, Yucuaikin, Yusique, and some settlements on the northern shores of the Lempa River, several settlements in Honduras and the Bay Islands, and the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. Including the settlement of Sarapiqui in today’s northern Costa Rica.
A fusion of the blood lines was preserved by marrying within relatives of the same clan. At the beginning of the 14th century the two main tribes allowed the marriage of their heirs, uniting the two main crowns in one, (The Eagle and the Jaguar). At the turn of the 15th century, (1525 – 35) Luis de Moscoso invaded one corner of the Lenca Kingdom but the Lenca tribes ruled by Crown Princess Antu Silan Ulap I, resisted the invasion, she organized and gathered warriors from all cities to fight the invasion. Three years later, she was taken to a safe refuge to give birth to twins and the Lenca troops were put in the hands of a war chief named Lempira.
Spanish Colonial Period
In 1536 The Spanish called the Lenca Crown for peace talks and Lempira attends on behalf of the crown, but on arrival Lempira is shot by the Spanish. From this point onwards, the Lencas hid their nobles and for decades fought for survival in the occupied land. The Lenca royal family introduced a new Family Covenant in which stipulates that the first and the last born of the oldest line of descent should have the right to the hereditary title and should represent the family as the Regent of the House at the Guancasco (gathering of all tribes). The provisions of this covenant, as well as other provisions were maintained as oral tradition known today in Spanish language as “ Cantares del Pinol” (Singing of the Corn Gruel) which along with the bloodline, forms the basis of the right to succession to the throne in the Principality of Managuara.
In the critical hours of the history of the early 18th century, the House of Managuara stood by President Gerardo Barrios in his decisive victory against the conservative aristocrats and the church. The House provided militias to guard the Eastern part of El Salvador, not only during civil war among Central American States, but also during the attempt of invasion by William Walker the Filibuster in mid 1800s.
After the presidency of Barrios, the Lencas and other indigenous people rose against the republic with no success. Laws were passed to abolish the indigenous ownership of their lands and these were transferred to coffee growers. More laws were passed to allow the killing of indigenous people or anyone who looked indigenous to prevent later uprising. The constitution also banned the existence of hereditary titles to prevent the insurrection of more indigenous nobles such as Prince Anastasio Aquino in the central region. Just like the rest of indigenous in El Salvador, the Lencas changed their traditional dresses and adapted to the new Castilian language and catholic religion, at the same time they kept their native practices in the privacy of their homes. In 1932-33, the state killed thousands of indigenous and creates laws to ban any indigenous organization or any act of indigenous display. This marked the final attack on the struggle of the indigenous of this region.
In 1975, Francisca Barbara Guevara Romero, last survivor of the royal family commissioned her son Benito to document her oral history, philosophy, spirituality, medicine, law and genealogy.
In 1993-94, she was formally proclaimed by the community as “The Royal Elder Francisca B.G.R, Lenca Princess of Enchanted Valley Managuara Najochan.
In 1996, her grandson went into exile, and in 1997, L Antonio Chevez was proclaimed the successor and was ascended to his formal role of Ti Manauelike or Prince. From exile the prince coordinates cultural programs to raise cultural awareness, support the Lenca community in order to improve their knowledge of their history, health and human rights.
The Lenca Crown is a neutral institution with the sole purpose of preservation of the Lenca dynasty, its culture, traditions and nation. As an indigenous Crown, this institution maintains a prominent role in processes and protocols that involve the republics, the UN and the indigenous people. Its administrative office operates from exile.
With the declaration of the Universal Charter of the Rights of the Indigenous People by the UN in 2nd October, 2007. The Royal House has began the enormous task of registering all Lencas around the world, and telling them about their true identity, their origin, their rights and responsibilities, as unique and distinct people. The heritage established by the Jaguar women many thousand years ago, continues today. The role of the Jaguar House is honoured in many pre-Columbian pictures found across several countries, where the guarding jaguars are shown in great splendour.
The Royal Emblem of our Nation was inspired by the Guardian Jaguars shown in Stela F in the Maya-Lenca city of Copan.