Wak Chanil Ajaw

Stela 24 depicting Lady Six Sky, standing atop a captive. Image Credit: WikiCommons.

By Gabby Storey

Lady Wak Chanil Ajaw, also known as  “Lady Six Sky” (c. 667 C.E-741 C.E), was a Maya queen of Naranjo. She was born in the city of Dos Pilas, a Pre-Columbian site of the Maya civilization located in modern day Guatemala.

Lady Six Sky’s family were the ruling dynasty in the city of Dos Pilas. Her marital alliance with the rulers of Naranjo was to ensure political harmony between the two entities. Lady Six Sky ruled with the power and authority of a king, and showed little mercy to her opponents. She held the title of Holy Lady of Dos Pilas, but it is unlikely that she held the same title in Naranjo.

Lady Six Sky had a son by the name of K’ak Tilaw Chan Chaak on January 3/4, 688. It was unclear who the father was, and there is a lack of information regarding her husband. Lady Six Sky remained in control of the city until her son came of age, although evidence supports her continued authority well into his rule. Upon his death, a new ruler was appointed, possibly with the support Lady Six Sky. Lady Six Sky died in 741, fifteen years after taking over the rule at Naranjo in her own right. Her death is recorded on a stele at Dos Pilas.

Recommended Reading

Christophe Helmke, “The heart and stomach of a king’: A study of the regency of Lady Six Sky at Naranjo, Guatemala,” Contributions in New World Archaeology 11 (2017): 83-130.

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