The Maya are one of the classical pre-Columbian civilizations of central America. They were known for their astronomy, calendars and writing, as well as for their elaborate architecture and sophisticated
The civilization extended throughout modern-day southern Mexico, Guatemala, northern Belize and western Honduras. While not actually inventing them, the Maya developed and refined astronomy, calenders and hieroglyphic writing. Their architecture was spectacular, with pyramids, palaces, ball courts and ceremonial structures designed around astronomical plans. The Maya were also farmers, weavers and traders. Evidence of goods from afar is still to be found in local
Around 300 B.C., the Mayan system of government was based upon rule by nobles and kings, which developed into highly structured kingdoms during the Classic period, A.D. 200-900. There were many independent states, each with a rural farming community and large urban sites built around ceremonial centres. For reasons that are still being discussed today, decline set in around A.D. 900 when the southern Maya abandoned their cities, while the northern Maya gradually became integrated into other cultures in the following centuries, when, around A.D. 1200, this dynasty finally came to an end.
Maya art includes carvings and reliefs on monuments and other buildings, pottery and murals. The architecture, as mentioned above, is often dramatic, especially the pyramids and cave sites.
Maya believed in cyclical events, closely linked with astronomical and natural phenomena. There were three levels, the underworld ("Xibalba"), the earth and the
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