Maya were an American Indian People who developed a magnificent civilization in Central America and south Mexico. The Maya civilization reached its period of development about A.D.250 and continued to flourish for over 600 years. The Maya produced remarkable architecture, painting, pottery, and sculpture. They made great advancements in astronomy and mathematics and developed and accurate yearly calender. They were one of the first peoples in the Western Hemisphere to develop and advanced form of writing.
The Maya lived in an area of about 120,000 square miles (311,000 square kilometers). Today, the territory of the Maya is divided among Mexico and several Central American countries. It consists of the Mexican states of Campeche, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo and part of the states of Tabasco and Chiapas. It also includes Belize, most of Quatemala, and parts of El Salvador and of Honduras. The heart of the Maya civilization was in the tropical rain forest of the lowlands of northern Quatemala. Many of the major Maya Cities, such as Piedras Negras, Tikal, and uaxactun, developed in this area.
People, Geography and Language
The Maya homeland, called Mesoamerica, span fine countries: Mexico, Quatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador. There are now indications that the people we call the Maya had migrated from North America to the highlands of Guatemala perhaps as long ago as 2600 B.C., living an agriculuture village-based life. The cultural of these Preclassic Maya owes much to the earlier civilization of the Olmec, which flourished ca 1200 B.C.
By the time Maya civilization had reached its peak the classic period (A.D. 200-900) the Maya were spread across an almost continuous territory of roughly 311,000 square kilometers (120,000 square miles).
Comprising three general areas:
The tropical rain forest of the lowlands, stretching from northern Honduras, through the Peten region of Guatemala and into Belize and chiapas, which became the heart of classic Maya civilization included cities such as Copan, Yaxchilan, Tikal, and Palenque.