Theocracy of Xochimechatl
When dealing with the history of Xochimechatl, there is room for confusion due to varying terminology. Specifically, the term "Xochimechatlan" can cause difficulty, as it is sometimes hard to tell whether the word is being used to refer to the population of Xochimechatl as a whole, or the actual Xochimechatlan ethnic group. In modern times, the Xochimechatlan people are dominant enough that other peoples, such as the Chitec, are considered to be minorities within a Xochimechatlan state, but historically, they were but one of several peoples, living in what is now called Xochimechatl. For this reason, the term Xochimechatl will only ever be used in reference to the island itself, never for an ethnic group. Instead, the ethnic group generally known as Xochimechatlan well be known as the Couatlans, as this is a name which has never been applied to the other ethnic groups within Xochimechatl, even after the Couatlan conquest of them.
The early history of the island of Xochimechatl is still subject to some debate. The general consensus is that the people that now inhabit the island journeyed to their present homes from the mainland, but precisely when is unknown. It is also suspected by many that this immigration came in several waves. The Irominan people, the most distant ethnic group from the current majority, are believed to have been the original inhabitants of the island, arriving in the area far too long ago for any record to survive. The Chitec people are believed to have arrived next, but estimates for their arrival range from 1700 BP to 2100 BP. They were followed fairly closely by the Couatlans. Both the Couatlans and the Chitec are believed to have arrived from mainland Melania, and there are strong indications that the Irominans did as well, although probably from a different area. If the Irominans did come from Melania, there are no traces of their people remaining on that continent, however.
The first real civilization on Xochimechatl formed around the Chitec city of Pucara, located on the northwestern tip of the island. Here, the first sizable buildings were constructed, and substantial city walls were established. The ruins of the great temple to Teotlahtolli (Tetalatola in the Chitec language) that was built in the city's centre are still visable, and, despite having been in ruins for centuries, still form the centrepiece of the town as a historic monument rather than place of worship. This temple is also the earliest evidence of the worship of Teotlahtolli in Xochimechatl, although it is believed to have been around for some time before the great temple in Pucara.
From Pucara, civilization slowly spread to other Chitec settlements in the north of the island. Stable civilizations grew around the towns of Cajamarca, Capecapa (now destroyed), and Paramonga. With civilization came record-keeping, something that the Chitec were extraordinarily good at. Due to the Chitec, we have highly detailed records of most Xochimechatlan history since this time.
The Chitec Empire
In the year 1622 BP (by the Cruisian calendar), a ruler by the name of Cocahuya ascended to the rulership of the city of Cajamarca. He immediately set about the expansion of his dominions, and, by a combination of cunning diplomacy and good military strategy, gained control of all Chitec lands except the city of Pucara. Thus was born the Chitec Empire. (This the first time the Chitec had used that name for themselves - previously, they had called themselves Chihiya, or "civilized people". Chitec means "strong people").
Cocahuya's first major task was the stabilization of his frontiers. To the south of the Chitec Empire, the Couatlan peoples were becoming more and more bold, and staging raids into Chitec territory. The Couatlan were still very much without civilization, using primative weaponry and living in small villages based around tribal and shamanic beliefs. As individual cities, there was little the Chitec could do. With Chitec united as a single empire, however, Cocahuya was able to raise a substantial army to guard the outer edges of the Chitec nation. He also used the army to launch an attack on the city of Pucara, which stubbornly remained outside of the Chitec Empire and denounced the increasing militarization that it saw. Pucara refused to use the term Chitec, and continued to refer to the people as Chihiya. The military assault was repulsed, with the Chitec forces unable to breach the great walls that surrounded the city. No further attempts to take the city were made, partially because many Chitec regarded Pucara as the birthplace of their civilization and thus sacred, and were offended by Cocahuya's effort.
Upon Cocahuya's death, he was succeeded by his son, Tecoh, a less militaristic ruler. He formalized the administration of the empire, and gave focus to art, literature, and technology. Under the rule of Tecoh and his successors, Chitec steadily prospered, and gained new knowledge and technology. The art of Chitec from this period is regarded as among the greatest from ancient Xochimechatl. The architecture of Chitec also soared, and many great buildings were constructed. Of particular excellence was the stonework of the time, craftsmanship that remained unrivaled until the modern era.
To the south, in the Couatlan lands, the situation remained static until 1498 BP, when a powerful warlord named Ichtlapa rose up among the tribes of the central plains. Ichtlapa gained control of the tribes nearest to him and formed an army, primative but numerous. He turned this army northwards towards the Chitec Empire. As he moved, he gathered more followers and supporters, and by the time he arrived at the borders of the Chitec Empire, he had amassed a sizable force. Without warning, this great tide of barbarians swarmed into Chitec lands, conquering, looting, and slaughtering. The Chitec were amazed at the ferocious and savage nature of their campaign. They fought back, but, despite their superior technology, they were overpowered by weight of numbers. Many great marvels of the Chitec civilization were destroyed by the conquering Couatlans, and many people slain or taken as slaves.
In 1496 BP, Ichtlapa conquered the imperial Chitec capital, Cajamarca. He executed the emperor and his family and established himself as ruler of Chitec, replacing all senior Chitec officials with his own people. The Couatlans had no idea how to run an empire, and so retained Chitec bureaucrats as advisors and administrators, while they themselves did little buit enjoy the fruits of their conquest. The reign of Ichtlapa was barbaric and bloody, and the carefully constructed economic and administrative system established by the Chitec began to crumble.
Iztepl and Tlaloc
To the south, in Couatlan territory, civilization slowly began to be established, partially due to the arrival of technology from the conquered Chitec Empire and partly of its own accord. Cities were founded, the most notable of which were Iztepl and Tlaloc. However, these cities refused to recognise the authority of Ichtlapa's empire in the north. Ichtlapa resolved to return to his homeland and reassert his rulership, but was delayed from doing so by a rebellion launched by a noble greedy for his position.
Shielded by that rebellion, the cities of Iztepl and Tlaloc met secretly with emissaries from the one Chitec city that had not been conquered by Ichtlapa, having been outside the Chitec Empire and too heavily defended to be conquered. This city was Pucara, the oldest and most advanced city on the island. The Pucarans had considered the original Chitec Empire bloody and barbaric enough, and so were appalled at what had occurred since then under Ichtlapa's direction. They formed an alliance with the independent Couatlans, and provided them with the weaponry and training that only Pucara could provide. Then, in unison, they prepared their armies for war.
Downfall of Ichtlapa
The rebellion against Ichtlapa's rule was supressed with expectedly bloody methods, but his armies were considerably depleted. When he returned to his capital, Cajamarca, he heard about the oncoming armies from Pucara and from the south. He was furious, and dispatched all his forces to meet them. The Pucarans and the free Couatlans joined their armies at the Cicoro River and marched together, meeting the Ichtlapan army some five miles to the west of the river. The Ichtlapans were numerically superior, as they were against the Chitec, but they had not adopted any of the Chitec weaponry, training, or discipline, still fighting as a mob rather than an army. This, and their enormous complacency, was to be their downfall. Armed with Pucaran weapons, tought by Pucaran trainers, and guided by Pucaran tacticians, the southern Couatlan cities won a decisive victory over Ichtlapa's barbarians. Marching to the capital of Cajamarca, they captured and executed Ichtlapa and removed his allies from their positions.
The Xochatlan Empire
While Chitec was now free, it was also ruined. Its greatest architecture was in rubble, and its art and civic improvements were destroyed. The centre of civilization on the island had passed from the Chitec to the Couatlans. Under the agreement entered into by the Couatlans, the Chitec, and Pucara (which still counted itself as outside of Chitec), the island would be united as a single state in order to promote civilization and to ensure that peace prevailed, not war and barbarism. The nation would be centred on the Couatlans, with the capital sited at Iztepl. It would be ruled over by a ruler known by the title of Mahuiztictlacatl, a word which literally means "great man" but, in this context, translates to "Emperor" or simply "Ruler". Chitec would become an autonomous kingdom within the Couatlan Empire, and would be ruled over by a Cotlacatl or a Cihuapillahtocatzintli (king or queen - both Couatlan words, not Chitec). Pucara would remain an autonomous citystate outside of both Couatl proper and Chitec, ruled by its hereditary matriarch, the Cihuapilli (literally, "Princess" or "Lady"). The nation itself would be known as Xochatl, a name meaning "civilized island", although in practice, the dominance of the Couatlans meant that is was often referred to as the Couatlan Empire.
Under the Xochatlan Empire, the island slowly prospered. The Chitec culture was slowly rebuilt, although the Couatlan civilization was permanently established as the centre of the island. The Mahuiztictlacatls were of varying natures, sometimes good, sometimes bad, but, by and large, were fairly capable rulers. It was during the Empire that the island of Iromina was invaded and colonized, and the Irominan people placed under Xochatlan rule for the first time.
This situation lasted until 533 BP. Up until this time, religion had steadily been growing. The main temples of Xochatl, the Temples of Teotlahtolli, Meztli, and Citialin, had been expanding their power, while several other religions, such as the Teraeli faith, had been gaining support also. The temples were increasingly coming to the opinion that religion should be the centrepiece of Xochatlan government. The Mahuiztictlacatl of the time was not amenable to the idea, and refused to surrender any authority whatsoever. This may very well have been tolerated if not for the unnecessarily arrogant way in which the refusal had been delivered, and the tyrranical way that the Mahuiztictlacatl was administering his Empire. Even those who were against religious rule were increasingly swayed against the Mahuiztictlacatl due to his cruel and unjust manner. In the year 533 BP, the people, urged on by the Temples, rebelled.
In a brief but bloody uprising, the Mahuiztictlacatl was deposed. The monarchy was replaced by a theocracy called the Ilhuicatl ("Sky") Alliance, formed by the Teotlahtollians, the Meztlians, and the Citialinans (who follow the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars, respectively, hence the name Sky Alliance). Due to the fact that this government was a coalition of what were essentially opposites, its policies ended up as fairly neutral in terms of philosophical and ideological outlook was concerned. However, there were areas in which it was not so mild. One such was in the area of other religions; while they were prepared to tolerate each other, they completly outlawed all other religions on the island. This did not destroy them, however, and they survived in secret. The other area was in relation to the Quimictizqueh. These were human sacrifices to their respective deities, and were performed quite regularly. At times, as many as seven hundred people were sacrificed each year. Many people found this abhorrent, and there were several unsuccessful rebellions over the issue. All of the Temples have since denounced the Quimictizqueh as evil, and have declared them illegal under holy law.
The tripartisan theocracy that ruled Xochatl lasted until the arrival of the Tepehuani ("Conquerors"), the Lendians. The Lendians did not pay overly much attention to Xochatl, focusing on the main island chain. Nevertheless, the island fell under Lendian rule. This rule was not particularly harsh, but it did attempt to break down the Couatlan culture and replace it with a Lendian one. The most obvious result of this attempt is the Church of San Alandro, set up by missionaries attempting to convert the Icnotlacame ("peasantry"). Their influence was not wholly negative, however. Besides improving the island's infrastructure and technology, they were the ones who ceased the Quimictizqueh and gradually convinced the Temples to abandon the idea.
Due to the fall from power of the Sky Alliance, other religions that had existed on the island were able to rise and expand. These included the Calacoayanic faith, the Order of the Vigilant, and the Sect of Temoa, the Seekers of the Lost God. It also gave rise to a cult known as the Inxochtlincuicatl, a one-word contraction of the phrase "In xochtl in cuicatl, a poetic way of referring to music, song, poetry, and dance.
When an autonomous government was set up by the Lendians, it was the theocracy currently in effect, incorperating all the current religions. This situation lasted until the collapse of the FCLR, at which point Xochatl was placed under the administration of the newly formed United People's Republic of the Maritim Islands (UPRMI), a communist nation. Xochatl (known to the world during that time as Couatl) remained autonomous, with its own government and without the laws applied to the rest of the Maritim Islands.
Now, however, the Theocracy has once again achieved independence, breaking with the UPRMI after a unanimous decision by the Council of Theocrats to secede. For a time, the name Couatl was retained as the prefered international name of our state, but it was later decided that although the term Couatl was commonly used to refer to the island, it's origins lay in a single ethnic group, and so a name which represented the entirity of the island should be chosen. The two most popular alternatives were the old name, Xochatl (meaning "civilized island"), and another term, Mechi (meaning "homeland"), and so it was decided to merge the two, forming Xochimechatl, meaning "civilized homeland-isle".
Newly independent, and with great ambitions for the future, this, our ancient and glorious culture, is now prepared to make itself known across Vexillium.
The Theocracy of Xochimechatl is a fictional state on the world of Vexillium.