The ancient Maya were a group of American Indian peoples who lived in Southern Mexico. Their descendants, the modern Maya,live in the same regions today.
Agriculture was the basis of the economy of the Mayan and corn was the principal food.(Voorhies 324) Other crops included avocados, tomatoes, and chili peppers. They cultivated an enormous variety of plants.(Foley 20)
In hieroglyphic writing, astronomy, and mathematics, the Mayan Indians were far ahead of any other people in the New World.(Foley 20) The Mayan invented a solar “civil” calendar including three hundred sixty- five days.(Ivanoff 86) The accuracy of the Mayan calculations is all the more extraordinary in view of the fact that they had no knowledge of glass or metals. They had no precision instruments available to them. Their tools were polished stones that very closely resembled tool from our Neolithic Age.(Ivanoff 86)
Mayan cities served as centers for the surrounding countryside. The people gathered in the centers for important events such as markets and religious festivals. The Maya had no schools. The children learned by observing adults and helping them.(Voorhies 323)
Maya farmers lived in rural homesteads for small villages near their fields. They built their houses from poles all tied together. The man could have two or even three wives. Each one would tend to her own fire and cook for her own children.(Price 91) Entire Maya families, including parents, children, and grandparents lived together. Everyone in the household helped with the work.
Very little is known about the government of the Maya. Each Maya city governed itself and the area around it, and larger cities may have had control over several smal...
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...e pure calendrical records. Because little evidence of warfare had been recognized archaeologically, the Classic Maya were thought of as peaceful timekeepers and sky watchers. Their cities, it was thought, were ceremonial centers for ascetic priests, and their artwork anonymous, without concern for specific individuals(Miller)
Foley, Erin. Cultures of the World. El Salvador. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 1995.
Ivannoff, Pierre. Mayan Enigma. New York: Delacorte, 1971.
Johnson, William Weber. Mexico. New York:Time-Life books, 1971.
Miller, Mary Ellen. “Maya” Grolier Encyclopedia. 1993 ed.
Price, Christine. Heirs of the Ancient Maya. New York:Charles Scribner’s Sons,1972.
Thomas, David Hurst. The Native Americans.Atlanta:Turner
publishing, Inc., 1993.
Voorhies, Barbara. “Maya” The World Book Encyclopedia. 1989 e
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