The oldest part of the city is located on an island in Lake Petén Itzá which is connected to the mainland via a dike. In ancient times, Flores was the Mayan city of Tayasal. The island was the last Maya state that remained independent during the conquest by the Spaniards. Hernán Cortés passed by the lake in 1541 but did not try to take the city. The conquest only happened in 1697 and the city was completely destroyed.