By Dheeraj S. and Raza M.

History of the Mayans

There are 3 periods in Mayan history

Pre - Classic Period : The Maya developed their first civilization in the Pre - classic period. Scholars continue to discuss when this era of Maya civilization began.They occupated Belize The Mayas already started growing corn and crops

Classic Period: In this period the Mayans built a lot of building and they started urbanizing. The Mayans developed a lot in this

Post - classic period: The population lived near permanent water sources. New trade networks were formed with other regions. The Mayan civilization slowly declined in this period.

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Geographic location

The modern Maya live in southeastern Mexico and northern Central America, including Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. Altogether, their homelands cover an area of approximately 125,000 square miles with a land that contains both northern lowlands and southern highlands. Volcanic mountains are in the highlands. The fertile soil of the highland valleys supports the largest Mayan population.

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Mayan Languages

The written Maya alphabet, which dates back as far as 200 BCE is similar to the hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt. The language has approximately 800 symbols that can be combined to form different words. This system is what differentiates Maya civilization from most of the other early cultures in the area.

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Mayan families living together may be made up of a husband, wife, and their children. Sometimes newly married couples join the household. The old people may come to live with the family when they can no longer manage on their own.

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The Mayans wear both traditional and modern Western-style clothing. It is more common for women to wear traditional clothing. Men generally wear trousers and sport shirts .Women wear either traditional embroidered clothing or stylish dresses and skirt-and-blouse outfits. Mayan clothes are commonly decorated with colorful embroidery. The designs include humans, animals, and plants.

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The Maya generally eat three meals a day:Corn is the most important food of their ancestors and it remains the central ingredient in their diet today. It is used to make tortillas. After corn, beans are the most basic food . Soups also form a large part of the Mayan diet.

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In rural areas, the Mayans farm their corn fields, much as their ancestors did thousands of years ago. Forested sites are converted into new fields by the cutting of trees. Besides farming, Mayans also work as laborers and artisans or own small shops. In urban areas, they may work in jobs involving textiles or computers.

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Living Conditions

Mayans live in houses with adobe walls, small shuttered windows, roofs of tile or corrugated metal, and a floor of hard-packed dirt. Mayans also live in houses with double-pitched tile roofs and walls of adobe, thatch supported by boards or poles, or other materials. The main means of transport for most Maya is the bus.

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Ancestor worship plays a role in the traditional religion of the Maya. Their traditional beliefs included the world and the heavens. Roman Catholicism was a major religion to the Maya. Entire Mayan towns have embraced conservative forms of Protestantism. These modern-day Christian sects are not as tolerant of traditional folk customs as the early Catholic missionaries were.
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Each Mayan city governed its area. A city ruler would usually pass down to its younger brother or son. Some families ruled for hundreds of years. These big cities never united to form single a centrally governed nation.

Judicial Process

The laws that governed the various Maya states were issued by the halach uinic and his council, or by the council alone if the state did not have an halach uinic. The batabs were responsible for carrying out these laws and serving as administrators to smaller towns and cities. Batabs also served as judges for their towns and judjeg civil and criminal cases. Court cases were taken place in public meeting houses known as popilna.

Experiences with modern civilization

The modern day Maya still live within the boundaries of their old empire in Central America. The region that makes up this area now consists of the countries of Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and five states in Mexico. Guatemala is considered to be the birthplace of the Mayan civilization and consequently still has a very active Mayan population.


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