Final Research Paper: The Rise and Fall of the Mayan Civilization Jamil Davis HISU 360: Professor Bingley Brandman University December 17, 2017 Abstract This paper explores information gather from several articles that report on the Mayan Civilization throughout the years of their rise, their conquering, and their fall, as well as their interactions with other civilizations, specifically the Spanish. The Mayan civilization dates back before the 16th century, before they were conquered by the Spanish Conquistadors and the civilization diminished. During their reign, the Maya civilization thrived in what is now parts of Southern Mexico and Central America. However, their supremacy was struck down when the Spanish and their beliefs …show more content…
Unfortunately, the Mayans became the target of Spanish conquistadors, which ultimately led to their demise. The initial encounter between the two empires however, was not adverse. On the contrary, the Mayan people had already encountered the Spanish, and were technically already under Spanish rule since about 1530. When the Spanish began to spread for conquest, they encountered Mayans temples and empires. Although they had previously encountered one another, the Mayas were welcoming. They offered gifts such as jade, which was valued more than gold to them. While the Spanish were oblivious to the Mayas peaceful intentions, the Spanish viewed these indigenous people as barbaric and in need of ethnic cleansing. Everything about the Mayas was foreign to the Spaniards; from the human sacrifices, to their astrological knowledge and even the way their people were buried. The Mayans traditionally cremated their deceased, since they believed the smoke from their burning bodies helped them reach the heavens. The Spanish, on the other hand saw human sacrifice as ferocious and barbaric, and typically buried their dead underground. The differences between the two were used as fuel and the Spanish seized the opportunity to push their own religious beliefs down their throats and ultimately conquer
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Out of all the ancient civilization that inhabited central and south Mexico, the Aztec and Maya are always the first that come to mind for many people. Both of these civilizations started as a small group of farmers and peasants and yet somehow they managed to become a vast and powerful civilization with enormous cities filled with temples that honored the gods and bustling with life and wealth. They became arose and became the most feared tribe among the other tribes that existed, especially the Aztecs. They were perceived as an aggressive and blood-thirsty tribe that had to know defeat. Of course that time eventually came along for both of the tribes with the coming of the Spaniards, it was rather incredible how such a small groups overpowered these great civilizations of the Aztec and Maya. Although the Spaniards were astonished by their culture and wealth when it came to their religion, they could only feel disgust and sickened by their ways of practice. The tradition of human sacrifice along with other blood-letting procedures to please their blood thirsty gods made them seem savage and demonic in the eyes of the Spanish. However these practices came to an end as the cultures assimilated into the Spanish culture. Nevertheless the Mayas were able to survive along with some of the traditional religious practice. The question the remains is whether the Maya that reside in Mexico still carry on traditional religious ceremonies and custom.
Maya societies were clearly divided into two classes, the elite and the commoners. This distinction was usually made by who had more power and wealth, a person was usually born into both. The Elite had control over the politics and religion in each city (Sharer, “Social Stratification”). The vast majority of people were considered commoners, but how do you tell which ones are commoners, and which are Elites? Architecture gives us the biggest clue to who had this power and wealth, and who did not. “Monument building and elaborate, vaulted tomb chambers indicate the presence of social ranking and ruling elites. It is likely that ancestor worship was acquiring more weight as the rulers became ever more responsible for acting as intermediaries with the gods and ancestors for the benefit of their people” (Fash). One of the biggest archaeological insights into Maya lifestyles is art...
How were the Mayan's achievements significant to their society? Well first of all, the Mayans were a religion in Mexico, and they devolved many things that we use today that are similar to what they have used, but more advanced. Their religion started way back near the start of the 1000's. Their society/region ended near the 1400's, and soon became popular from their inventions, and more. Back to the topic to which is, how was the Mayan's achievements significant to their society?
“Small pox ended up killing 90% of all natives in the new world over years since the Europeans arrived.”*6 When praising the Age of Exploration for new culture, land, and crops, many seem to forget all about the Aztecs, the Maya, and the Inca. The Aztecs, Mayas, and Incas were the three most dominant and advanced civilizations that developed in the Americas prior to the arrival of the Europeans. The Aztec Empire was located in central Mexico, and ruled much of the region from the 1400s until 1519, when the Spanish conquistador, Hernan Cortes, arrived in Mexico, and by 1521 had conquered the Aztecs for Spain. “The Maya civilization began as early as 2000 BC and continued to have a strong presence in Mesoamerica for over 3000 years until the Spanish arrived in 1519 AD.”*7 The Mayans were the only American civilization to develop an advanced written language. The Inca Empire was centered in Peru, and ruled over much of the west coast of South America from the 1400s to the time of Francisco Pizarro’s arrival in 1532. “This wide ranging empire did not have the wheel, iron tools, or a writing system, but its complex government and system of roads created a society where everyone had a job, a home, and something to eat.” *7 The Inca were conquered by the conquistador Francisco
Maya culture in the pre-classic age was dynamically evolving. This evolution was not in isolation from outside influence. The Maya were influenced by external communities by the Gulf Coast Olmec presence, and the inspiration of contact with the Central Mexican Teotihuacan, in the middle to late Pre-Classic period. The Olmec and Teotihuacan impact on Maya culture is broad and permeated many different aspects of daily life. Contact with outsiders selectively transformed the Maya’s political and ceremonial life by altering their social hierarchy, religious practices, art, and architecture- which is exemplified through numerous examples of archeological and textual evidence.
To sustain their large and ever expanding population, a populace that approximated 2 million inhabitants around the time of the prolonged drought’s commencement, the Mayan people employed an extensive array of agricultural practices that enabled them to amass wealth and food (Armstrong, 3). The Mayan people developed an extensive network of canals across the Yucatan peninsula to drain and elevate infertile wetlands to produce arable land that was previously inaccessible to them (Wylie, 8). Furthermore, the Mayan civilization employed slash and burn tactics to produce arable land that could be utilized for agricultural subsistence, contributing to extensive deforestation in the process (Wylie, 8). Although such agricultural practices effectively served the Mayan people before the shift of climate, primarily because the fertility of the land was refurbished by frequent and extensive rainfall, the droughts of the ninth and tenth centuries swiftly diminished necessary agrarian yields (Armstrong, 4). The environmental degradation brought about by Mayan agricultural practices amplified the consequences of the drought (Armstrong,
Many years before the Aztecs and the Incas, Mayan civilization thrived in central America. Like many societies, the Mayan society was hierarchical, ranked by class and occupation. “Below the kind was a class of nobles; a middle class was composed of priests and commoners; at the lowest level were slaves.” (56) Unlike the Aztecs and the Incas, the Maya were never an empire. The cities shared the same culture but each ran separately. For hundreds of years, the Maya thrived. Over time they developed accurate calendars and practiced detailed religious rituals. They were advanced in writing; having created a “complex hieroglyphic writing used to record historical and religious events”.(57) They
In South America the Mayans were the most dominant civilization in modern day Guatemala. The Mayans grew to the height of their rule from 300 - 900 AD. They began and fought wars with smaller civilizations solely for religious purposes. Provoking and fighting wars primarily to imprison their enemy and use them for human sacrifice to appease their gods. Goods were collected as religious offerings throughout the Mayan domain. These Mayan soldiers believed that they needed to provide the Gods with human sacrifices so the crops can grow and prosper. The King of the Mayans truly believed that they needed more people to sacrifice to please their gods so they could have a productive harvest season and live. The Mayans needed to continue to conquer others because they constantly needed sacrifices for their many religious ceremonies. Similarly to the Mayans, the Aztecs dominated massive territories throughout Mesoamerica. The Aztecs began their reign after fall of the Mayans. Religion was the main power in the Aztec empire as religious leaders appointed the King. The Aztecs grew an empire of over a million people who were primarily conquered tribes. The Aztecs empire grew as a result of their agriculture. Successful crop growth fueled the Aztec army who in return conquered more territories. While when the aztecs conquered people they allowed
In the Central America, most notably the Yucatan Peninsula, are the Maya, a group of people whose polytheistic religion and advanced civilization once flourished (Houston, 43). The Maya reached their peak during the Classic Period from around CE 250 to the ninth century CE when the civilization fell and dispersed (Sharer, 1). Although much has been lost, the gods and goddesses and the religious practices of the Classic Maya give insight into their lives and reveal what was important to this society.
The ancient Maya once occupied a vast geographic area in Central America. Their civilization inhabited an area that encompasses Mexico's Yucatan peninsula and parts of the states of Chiapas and Tabasco, as well as Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. "From the third to the ninth century, Maya civilization produced awe-inspiring temples and pyramids, highly accurate calendars, mathematics and hieroglyphics, and a complex social and political order" ("Collapse..." 1). Urban centers were important to the Maya during the Classic period; they offered the Mayans a central place to practice religion.
... Dos Pilas, Tikal, Copán and Quirigua went to war with one another quite often: Dos Pilas was invaded and destroyed in 760 A.D. Did they war with one another enough to cause the collapse of their civilization?” (Minster). The famine theory was that as cities grew the population became larger and put a big strain on the food production. Climate change could’ve put down ancient Maya. They were extremely vulnerable to droughts, floods, or any change in the conditions that affected their food supply. This article strengths and weaknesses of the hypotheses are straightforward and basic common sense but don’t show enough science evidence. Experts in the field simply do not have enough solid information to state with clear-cut certainty how the Maya civilization ended. The downfall of the ancient Maya was likely caused by some combination of the factors above (Minster).
The Mayan best-known as the classical civilizations of Mesoamerica which Originate in the Yucatán around 2600 B.C.. They rose to be well known around A.D. 250. The Mayan is well known in developing astronomy, calendrical systems and hieroglyphic writing. Besides that, they were also known for their elaborate and highly decorated ceremonial architecture, including the temple-pyramids, palaces and observatories, all were built without using metal tools. They were also skilled farmers, weavers and potters. Around 300 B.C., the Mayan practiced a ggovernment system with rule by nobles and kings. This civilization soon developed into highly structured kingdoms during the Classic period around A.D. 200-900. Their society consisted of many independent states, each with a rural farming community and large urban sites built around ceremonial centres. They started to decline around A.D. 900 when - for reasons which are still largely a mystery - the southern Maya abandoned their cities. When the northern Mayan were integrated into the Toltec society by A.D. 1200, the Mayan dynasty finally came to a close, although some peripheral centres continued to thrive until the Spanish Conquest in the early sixteenth century. There are several theories on the collapse of the Mayan civilazation that are wars and fatal rivalries and drastic climate change.
The Mayan Civilization was a very well developed civilization. Their way of life and how they survived is remarkable. The Mayans created several things that we use today. This civilization started small and expanded to a culture that still exists. The Mayans had strong beliefs in their gods.