In 1221 the Maya revolted against the Maya-Toltec lords of Chichen Itza. After a short civil war the lords of various powerful cities and families met to restore a central government to Yucatan. It was decided to build a new capital city near the town of Techaquillo, hometown of Hunac Ceel, the general who defeated the rulers of Chichen Itza. This new city was built within a defensive wall and named "Mayapan", meaning "Standard of the Maya people". The chief of the Cocom family, a rich and ancient family that had taken part in the revolt aganst Chichen, was chosen to be king, but all the other noble families and regional lords were to send members of their families to Mayapan to play parts in the government. This arrangement lasted for over 200 years. (An alternative account is given in a Maya chronicle from the Colonial era which claims that Mayapan was contemporary with Chichen and Uxmal and in alliance with those cities, but archeological evidence shows this version to be be less likely.) In 1441 Ah Xupan of the powerful noble family of Xiu became resentful of the political machinations of the Cocom rulers and organized a revolt. At the end of this most of the Cocom family were killed, Mayapan was sacked, burned, and abandoned, and Yucatan fell apart into waring city states.
5 years of archeological investigations at Mayapan were conduced by the Carnegie Institution in the 1950s. In 2001 further investigations at the site were made under the direction of Grinnell College.