Ancient chroniclers talk about a woman who ruled as a king in Dos Pilas. She claimed the titles of male rulers and proved to be a vocal and powerful leader. Even though the chroniclers of the day never said her name, the reputation of the Lady of Dos Pilas nevertheless lived on.
Lady Six Sky, also known as Wak Chan Ahau, followed in the footsteps of her father B’alaj Chan K’awiil to become ruler of Dos Pilas. After assuming the throne in the late 600s, Lady Six Sky left her home of Dos Pilas and journeyed to Wak Kab’nal. It’s never easy being king (especially as a woman), and Lady Six Sky needed to further solidify her power across the region and in Wak Kab’nal in particular. To prove her authority both as the blood ruler and through divine choice, she performed several rituals shortly after her arrival. She was, for the most part, well received by the people, and her authority was ultimately respected, although she never fully ascended as the crowned ruler of Naranjo. Nevertheless, her people erected monuments in her name to show that they respected her rule with or without a crown. She was featured wearing the garbs of the true royal she was (which may have been a bit of an unintentional slap to the face, but presumably she accepted this gift with grace).
Lady Six Sky’s son , K’ahk Tiliw Chan Chaak (or Smoking Squirrel as his friends knew him) assumed the throne at the age of five, but Lady Six Sky continued to rule in his stead (he was a little busy being a child). Like any good mother, she led several successful military campaigns during this time against nearby polities that challenged her son’s—and by extension her—rule. Her monuments shifted to depict her as a warrior standing over her enemies, poised and triumphant. By the time her son was ten years old, she’d already carried out a number of successful campaigns in his name.
War and conquest was not the only thing that Lady Six Sky tackled during her reign as queen and regent. She also helped to perform the religious ceremonies expected of someone from her station. One, the mid-katun, she did in the same way as the previous king of Wak Kab’nal.
Lady Six Sky was determined to establish a new dynasty with her as the matriarch. This meant not only continuing to strengthen her rule through war and religious example, but also by further advancing the prosperity of her people. This was absolutely necessary if Lady Six Sky wanted to hold her power as a woman and the mother of a very young, and thus vulnerable, king. She planned to not just be there for a good time, but also for a long time.
When Lady Six Sky’s son Smoking Squirrel finally took over, he followed his mother’s legacy and continued to lead military campaigns against other, larger Maya cities, including Tikal. Lady Six Sky remained by Smoking Squirrel’s side during this time and acted as his co-ruler. The people and the nobility of Wak Kab’nal respected Lady Six Sky and Smoking Squirrel’s joint rule thanks to their consistent, unified actions and policies.
To Lady Six Sky’s and her people’s dismay, Smoking Squirrel had a short rule. He died early, leaving Lady Six Sky to lead once again until her grandson was old enough—or powerful enough—to ascend.
Lady Six Sky lived for another twenty years before she passed in 741 AD. Her grandson was defeated by Tikal, captured, and unfortunately executed, ending the dynasty she worked so hard to build.