Maya Civilization

The prospects of a nation entirely depends its people. The magnificence of the Maya civilization lies in its spectacular culture, religion and mythology. However, the Maya people were also quite progressive in matters of art and architecture. In fact, you should always remember that what a civilization creates for once cannot be recreated and this is what has helped the ancient civilization of Maya gain immense prominence.  

The civilization of the Mayans was of Mesoamerican origin. The Maya people were brilliant artists, architects, mathematicians, astronomers, and developers of the written language of the pre-Columbian Americas. The civilization originated in 250 CE and extended up to 900 CE. During those days when Maya was on top, it was one of the most culturally superior and thickly populated societies.

Maya’s Geographical Extent

The grand civilization of the Mayans covered the whole of northern Central American region of the present day nations of Guatemala, Belize, western Honduras and El Salvador and certain southern Mexican states of Chiapas, Tabasco, and the Yucatán Peninsula states of Quintana Roo, Campeche and Yucatán.

The Significance Of The Civilization Of Maya

Maya can be identified as one of the most notable Mesoamerican societies based on a set of distinctive traditions and beliefs. However, these traditional values and ideas have been combined with some of the recent practices like the total adoption of Roman Catholicism. A variety of Mayan languages and dialects are still spoken as the principal language.

Identification Of The Civilization Of Maya 

Essentially this amazing civilization can be divided into three distinct time periods. It was in fact, an high-spirited rule of 3000 long years. The first part is the Pre-Classical Period spanning from 2000 BC to 250 AD. The second phase is the Classic Period, which spanned from 250 AD to 900 AD. Now, let us come over to the third phase, which extended from 900 AD to 1500 AD. Their main habitation was situated on the Yucatan Peninsula. In fact, they are a group of closely related Native American tribes coming from the same linguistic organization. 

Several Groups Of Maya

Mayas are not just one. They are many and they are various. The most prominent and remarkable group of the Maya is the Maya Proper. The other groups however include

  1. Huastec – They occupied Northern Veracruz
  2. Tzental – They occupied Tabasco and Chipas
  3. The Quiche, Cakchiquel and the Pokomam – They occupied the highland of Guatemala

In fact, these groups were all dissimilar to one another but all of them originated from the same cultural background.

Maya Agriculture 

In the Pre Columbian times, agriculture was the main stay of the Mayan people. Maize was their staple crop. Cotton, beans and squash were also grown at random. The Mayan people cleared vast expanse of tropical rain forests in places where ground water was insufficient. They could also build large underground reservoirs for storing considerable amount of rainwater.

The people of Maya had wonderful techniques of weaving cotton, dyeing and spinning. They were accustomed with the process of domesticating animals. Dogs and turkey were the two main domesticated animals of the Maya people.

The Sophisticated System Of Maya Writing

What led the Mayans discover the art of writing? It was developed mainly to bear witness to the change of power from one generation to the other. The writing was mainly a collection of inscriptions on wooden structures and stones. These inscriptions were principally used on the inner or outer surface of eminent architectural specimens. The books written by the Mayan people were called folding tree books. Such books were usually made of fig tree bark. These books were typical items of adoration usually placed on royal tombs.

Maya Art And Architecture

Maya art and architecture was a reflection of their own lifestyle and culture. They were patrons of descriptive art and painting. They did this on paper, building plaster, wood, stone, clay, stucco molds and terra cotta figurines. They were also familiar with the art of metal curvature, which was however not used quite frequently. In fact, their forms of art greatly justified their social setting and their mutual understanding with surrounding groups and associates.

Fall Of The Civilization

Why did the civilization die out? This question would definitely come up with an indefinite answer because the downfall of this civilization is still an ambiguity. Some are of the opinion that the reason could be soil collapse, loss of water and corrosion and the unhealthy contest between agriculture and surrounding Savanna grassland. The reasons could be varied including earthquakes and hurricanes, several aliments and the profuse growth of social structures. The invaders played their part too by causing a gradual deterioration of this significant civilization.

Conclusion

Ages come, ages go, and what they leave behind can in no way be disregarded. In reality, one civilization departs for the others to follow and respect. Such a learning process makes civilizations progressive. In fact, the Maya Civilization was a real stepping-stone for the others in matters of culture, art and architecture.

Joseph Paige 2006

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