Queen reaches remarkable milestone as she becomes the FOURTH longest-serving monarch, surpassing 7th century Mayan ruler Pakal the Great
- Queen Elizabeth II has become the world’s fourth longest reigning monarch
- The British monarch, 93, surpassed Mayan ruler Pakal the Great today
- She officially became the longest-reigning British monarch in September 2015
The Queen has become the fourth longest-serving monarch today, surpassing Mayan ruler Pakal the Great.
Her Majesty, 93, has been on the throne for 68 years and 34 days, while K’inich Janaab Pakal ruled the Maya city state of Palenque for 68 years and 33 days before his death in 683AD.
The record joins the Queen’s many other accolades – including her title as the longest-living reigning monarch.
The Queen (pictured on Monday in London) has become the fourth longest-serving monarch today, surpassing Mayan ruler Pakal the Great
She also officially became the longest-reigning British monarch in September 2015, surpassing her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria.
The longest-reigning monarchs
1. Louis XIV of France (reigned from 14 May 1643 to 1 September 1715)
2. Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand (reigned from 9 June 1946 to 13 October 2016)
3. Johann II of Liechtenstein (reigned from 12 November 1858 to 11 February 1929)
4. Queen Elizabeth II (reigned from 6 February 1952)
Pakal the Great is thought to have ascended to the throne at the age of 12- years-old and during his rule managed to expand Palenque’s power in the western Maya states.
The Mayan civilisation reached its peak between 250 and 900 AD, when it ruled large swathes of what is now southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras.
Meanwhile, just ahead of the British monarch is Johann II of Liechtenstein, who ruled from 1858 and 1929.
This is followed by Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand.
King Bhumibol reigned from 1946 until his death in October 2016 and was the world’s longest living reigning monarch before the Queen.
Her Majesty, 93, has been on the throne for 68 years and 34 days, while K’inich Janaab Pakal (pictured is his death mask) ruled the Maya city state of Palenque for 68 years and 33 days before his death in 683AD
Who was ‘Pakal the Great’?
Known as Pakal the great, K’inich Janaab Pakal I was the ruler of the Maya city state of Palenque over 68 years until he died in 683AD.
He is thought to have ascended to the throne at the age of 12 years old and during his rule managed to expand Palenque’s power in the western Maya states.
Buildings erected under his rule are considered the civilisation’s finest architecture.
Pakal’s tomb was only discovered in the 1950s. Inside, archaeologists found his skeleton still intact. His death mask was made entirely of jade with eyes made from mother of pearl and obsidian.
Five skeletons were found at the entrance of the crypt, though to be sacrificial victims intended to follow Pakal to the underworld.
Holding on to the top spot is Louis XIV of France, with an impressive 72-year and 110-day reign.
Known as Louis the Great, the French monarch became King at the age of four following the death of his father Louis XIII, and ruled from 14 May 1643 to 1 September 1715.
Social media users were quick to congratulate the Queen on her new position on the list.
One person tweeted: ‘And still going strong! Such a remarkable lady!’
Another said: ‘Congratulations to HM the Queen today on becoming the fourth longest reigning monarch of a sovereign state in history.’
A third person hoped that the Queen would make it to the first spot, adding: ‘She’ll definitely make it to 98 the form she’s in, record has to be hers.’
The list referred to by most Twitter users is thought to mention only monarchs of states that were internationally sovereign for most of their reign.
Reaction: Impressed social media users were quick to congratulate the Queen on her new position on the list
WHO WERE THE MAYANS?
The Maya civilisation thrived in Central America for nearly 3,000 years, reaching its height between AD 250 to 900.
Noted for the only fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, the Mayas also had highly advanced art and architecture as well as mathematical and astronomical systems.
During that time, the ancient people built incredible cities using advanced machinery and gained an understanding of astronomy, as well as developing advanced agricultural methods and accurate calendars.
The Maya believed the cosmos shaped their everyday lives and they used astrological cycles to tell when to plant crops and set their calendars.
This has led to theories that the Maya may have chosen to locate their cities in line with the stars.
It is already known that the pyramid at Chichen Itza was built according to the sun’s location during the spring and autumn equinoxes.
When the sun sets on these two days, the pyramid casts a shadow on itself that aligns with a carving of the head of the Mayan serpent god.
The shadow makes the serpent’s body so that as the sun sets, the terrifying god appears to slide towards the earth.
Maya influence can be detected from Honduras, Guatemala, and western El Salvador to as far away as central Mexico, more than 1,000km from the Maya area.
The Maya peoples never disappeared. Today their descendants form sizable populations throughout the Maya area.
They maintain a distinctive set of traditions and beliefs that are the result of the merger of pre-Columbian and post-Conquest ideas and cultures.