The Ixil (pronounced [iʂil]) are a Maya people indigenous to Guatemala. The Ixil live in three municipalities in the Cuchumatanes mountains in the northern part of the department El Quiché. These municipalities, also known as the Ixil Triangle, are Santa Maria Nebaj, San Gaspar Chajul, and San Juan Cotzal.

Ixil people at a festival in Nebaj, Guatemala.
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Ixil, Spanish
Catholic, Evangelical, Maya religion

In the early 1980s, the Ixil Community was one of the principal targets of a genocide operation, involving systematic rape, forced displacements and hunger during the Guatemalan civil war. In May 2013 Efraín Ríos Montt was found guilty by a Guatemala court of having ordered the deaths of 1,771 Ixil people. The presiding judge, Jazmin Barrios, declared that "[t]he Ixils were considered public enemies of the state and were also victims of racism, considered an inferior race'.[2] According to a 1999 United Nations truth commission, between 70% and 90% of Ixil villages were razed and 60% of the population in the altiplano region were forced to flee to the mountains between 1982 and 1983. By 1996, it was estimated that some 7,000 Maya Ixil had been killed.[3] The violence was particularly heightened during the period 1979–1985 as successive Guatemalan administrations and the military pursued an indiscriminate scorched-earth (in Spanish: tierra arrasada) policy.[4]

In 2013, General Efraín Ríos Montt, who served as President of Guatemala from 1982 to 1983, was found guilty of genocide against the Ixil people.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Resultados Censo 2018" (PDF). Instituto Nacional de Estadistica Guatemala. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  2. ^ "Guatemala's Rios-Montt found guilty of genocide". BBC News. 11 May 2013.
  3. ^ Myers, Laura (15 May 2013). "View from Chajul: The Rios Montt Genocide Trial". The Globalist. Archived from the original on 13 April 2015. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  4. ^ See the section "Agudización de la violencia y militarización del Estado (1979-1985)" Archived 2013-05-06 at the Wayback Machine of CEH's report (CEH 1999, ch. 1). In particular, see para. 361, which records of the Guatemalan governments at the time that "...le dio continuidad a la estrategia de tierra arrasada, destruyendo cientos de aldeas, principalmente en el altiplano, y provocando un desplazamiento masivo de la población civil que habitaba las áreas de conflicto."
  5. ^ Malkin, Elisabeth (10 May 2013). "Former Leader of Guatemala Is Guilty of Genocide Against Mayan Group". New York Times. Retrieved 10 May 2013.