Lacandones, an Indian tribe of Central America, whose territory, formerly embracing a large proportion of N. W. Guatemala, Chiapas, and perhaps Tabasco, along the banks of the river of their own name and of the Usu-masinta, seems at present to be confined to the fastnesses of the Chiche mountains. Little is known, however, of the precise limits of their country, as it is comprised in an extensive region hitherto unexplored, extending from lat. 16° to 17° N., and from lon. 90° to 93° W., according to M. Morelet, who visited the region, and describes it in Voyage dans l'Ameriqae Centrale (Paris, 1869). The Lacandones, now intermingled with the once indomitable Choles and Manches, were formerly aggressive and cruel, and not only successfully resisted the Spanish arms, but by their frequent incursions materially retarded the prosperity of the surrounding European colonies. They are now shy and timid in their limited intercourse with the Spanish population, and even with the civilized aboriginal tribes, to whom they occasionally bring tobacco and sarsaparilla in exchange for manufactured goods and rude instruments of agriculture or warfare.
They speak a dialect of the language of the Mayas of Yucatan, in all likelihood the parent stock from which their separation was coeval with and determined by the same causes as that of the Itzaes. (See Itzaes.) Although now subject to the laws of the republic of Guatemala, they preserve the habits and religion of their forefathers, and their territory remains in its primitive condition. There is no reason for believing that they possess large cities and towns, with great temples glistening like silver in the sun, such as the cura of Quiche affirmed to Mr. Stephens that he had seen with his own eyes from the tops of the mountains of Quezaltenango.