Who Are the Mayans?

The Mayan civilization was a pre-Columbian civilization that flourished in present-day Central America from around 2000 BC to the 16th century AD. The Maya were renowned for their achievements in astronomy, mathematics, and art, and their civilization was one of the most sophisticated and advanced of its time.

Here are some key facts about the Mayan culture:

Geography: The Mayan civilization was centered in present-day Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. The region is known as Mesoamerica, and it is characterized by a tropical climate, rugged terrain, and dense rainforests.

  1. Religion: The Mayans had a complex religion that included multiple gods and goddesses. They believed that the gods controlled the forces of nature and could be appeased through rituals and sacrifices. Mayan priests played an important role in the religious life of the society.
  2. Language: The Mayans spoke a language that is still spoken today in some parts of Central America. The Mayan script is one of the few pre-Columbian writing systems that has been deciphered, and it contains records of Mayan history, religion, and culture.
  3. Agriculture: The Mayans were skilled farmers who developed techniques for growing crops in the rainforest. They grew a variety of crops, including maize, beans, and squash, and they used sophisticated irrigation systems to manage water resources.
  4. Architecture: The Mayans built impressive pyramids, temples, and palaces that still stand today. These structures were often adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures, and they served as religious and political centers for the society.
  5. Astronomy: The Mayans were skilled astronomers who developed a sophisticated system for predicting celestial events. They tracked the movements of the sun, moon, and stars, and they used this knowledge to create calendars and predict important events, such as eclipses.
  6. Collapse: The Mayan civilization experienced a period of decline and collapse in the 9th and 10th centuries AD. The reasons for the collapse are still debated, but some scholars suggest that environmental factors, such as drought and deforestation, may have played a role.

Despite the decline of the Mayan civilization, their culture and achievements continue to influence the region today. Many modern-day Central Americans still speak Mayan languages, and Mayan art, architecture, and religious practices continue to inspire contemporary artists and scholars.

Sources:

  1. “Maya.” National Geographic Society, 12 Dec. 2012, www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/maya/.
  2. “Maya Civilization.” Ancient History Encyclopedia, www.ancient.eu/Maya_Civilization/.
  3. “Maya.” Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 29 Apr. 2019, www.britannica.com/topic/Maya-people.
  4. “Maya Culture & History.” World History Encyclopedia, www.worldhistory.org/maya/.
  5. “Maya Civilization.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 27 Oct. 2009, www.history.com/topics/ancient-americas/maya.
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