1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Itza
ITZA, an American-Indian people of Mayan stock, inhabiting the country around Lake Peten in northern Guatemala. Chichen-Itza, among the most wonderful of the ruined cities of Yucatan, was the capital of the Itzas. Thence, according to their traditions they removed, on the breaking up of the Mayan kingdom in 1420, to an island in the lake where another city was built. Cortes met them in 1525, but they preserved their independence till 1697, when the Spaniards destroyed the city and temples, and a library of sacred books, written in hieroglyphics on bark fibre. The Itzas were one of the eighteen semi-independent Maya states, whose incessant internecine wars at length brought about the dismemberment of the empire of Xibalba and the destruction of Mayan civilization.