The Maya: A Mesoamerican Society

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Since the beginning of discovery, the Maya have always been known as “an indigenous people from Mexico and Central America” in 1800 B.C. to about 800 A.D. (“The Maya Civilization,” 1/1). One of the most dominant societies of Mesoamerica, the Maya geographically centralized in one “block”: the Yucatan Peninsula and Guatemala, Belize, Tabasco and Chiapas (Mexico), and the western part of Honduras and El Salvador (“Maya,” 1/1). Their constant location, over a period of almost 3000 years, shows that the Maya stayed safe from invasion by other peoples. The Maya Empire peaked at 600-800 A.D. and suffered a decline when the Spanish conquistadors rose. Early Maya began like most civilizations as hunter-gatherers and shifted towards civilized life. During the Archaic Era in 2000 B.C., the Maya settled and grew accustomed to village life. The transition from hunters to villagers was a gradual one; however, the Maya soon learned to take advantage of the settled lifestyle. From 1200 B.C. to 1000 B.C., the culture identified itself as the Maya among other Mesoamerican tribes. Chiefdoms appeared and flourished in the highlands, whereas the lowlands were colonized. The famous Maya monuments blossomed during the Preclassic Period. Fast paced technology, such as irrigation systems, appeared in the Late Preclassic Period around 400 B.C. to 250 B.C. The Classic Era was the “golden age” of many Maya capital cities in 250 to 600 A.D. (Rubalcaba, 139/159). Long-distance trade thrived and warfare increased. Powerful capital cities, like Tikal and Calakmul, fought for complete control over the Maya world. None of the main cities achieved “lasting control” (Rubalcaba, 139/ 159). Later, during the Terminal Classic Period, the cities in the lowlands decli... ... middle of paper ... ...lus. However, good harvests were preferred for the sake of having enough for the entire population. In conclusion, the Maya lasted almost 3000 years as an empire. Their hard work, struggle, and warfare created the well-known empire. Presently, some of the Maya descendants still maintain a grip on their ancient culture. Maya mathematics and inventions, like the calendar, helped world wide technology. The Mesoamerican civilization left a lasting mark on humanity. Bibliography Coe, Michael D. The Maya. New York: Frederick A. Praeger Publishers. 1966. Print. “Maya.” History. n.a. A+E Networks. 2009. Web. 03 April 2014. Rubalcaba, Jill. Empires of the Maya. New York: Chelsea House. 2010. Print. “The Maya Civilization.” Joshua J. Mark. Ancient History Encyclopedia. 2012. 08 April 2014.

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