Kiches, Or Utlatecas Quiches, a semi-civilized nation of Guatemala, occupying at the time of the conquest the greater part of what is now called Los Altos, or the highlands of Guatemala, including the districts of Quiche, Totoni-capam, and Quesaltenango. Their traditions indicate" that they sprung from the Toltec stock. Their records, as written out by members of the royal house immediately after the conquest, give a long array of kings, and imply a high antiquity. It seems that the Kachi-quels and Zutugils were once embraced in the Quiché kingdom, and that their separation was the act of the king Acxopil, who divided his power with his two sons, retaining to himself the capital and surrounding regions, which preserved the name of Quiché. These three divisions, subsequently becoming hostile, were easily conquered by the Spaniards. Alvarado encountered his most vigorous resistance in Quiché, where the king, Tecum-Umam, went out to meet him, according to the chroniclers, with 232,000 men. They fought with great bravery, but musketry and cannon, and above all the terror inspired by the Spanish horse, proved too powerful for the rude means of resistance at their command. The battle lasted six days, the Indians fighting desperately as they fell back.
The king at last was slain by Alvarado, and the subjugation of the Quichés was completed. - The ruins of the city of Quiché, described by Mr. Stephens, attest the grandeur and power of this people, and give a fair support to the early accounts of their numbers. The district which they occupied is the best populated portion of Guatemala, and is almost purely Indian, the ancient language being still in general use. The people are described by Arthur Morelet as "an active, courageous race, whose heads never grow gray, persevering in their industry, skilful in almost every department of art, good workers in iron and the precious metals, generally well dressed, neat in person, with a firm step and independent bearing, and altogether constituting a class of citizens who only require to be better educated to rise equal to the best." Their language is regarded as a purer dialect than either the Kachiquel or Zutugil, with which it is compared by Fray Ildefonso Flores, in his Arte de la lengua Kachiquel (Guatemala, 1753). Much has been done recently for a better knowledge of this people by Brasseur de Bourbourg, especially in his Grammaire de la langue Quichée mise en parallèle avec ses deux dialectes Cakchi-quel et Tzutuhil, avec un vocabulaire, servant d'introduction au Rdbinal Achi, drame indigene (Paris, 1862), and Popul Voh, le livre sacré et les mythes de l'antiquité américaine, avec les livres héroiques et historiques de Quiché (1861).