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Maya civilization


The Maya civilization was a Mesoamerican civilization developed by the Maya peoples, and noted for its hieroglyphic script—the only known fully developed writing system of the pre-Columbian Americas—as well as for its art, architecture, mathematics, calendar, and astronomical system. The Maya civilization developed in an area that encompasses southeastern Mexico, all of Guatemala and Belize, and the western portions of Honduras and El Salvador. This region consists of the northern lowlands encompassing the Yucatán Peninsula, and the highlands of the Sierra Madre, running from the Mexican state of Chiapas, across southern Guatemala and onwards into El Salvador, and the southern lowlands of the Pacific littoral plain.

The Archaic period, prior to 2000 BC, saw the first developments in agriculture and the earliest villages. The Preclassic period (c. 2000 BC to 250 AD) saw the establishment of the first complex societies in the Maya region, and the cultivation of the staple crops of the Maya diet, including maize, beans, squashes, and chili peppers. The first Maya cities developed around 750 BC, and by 500 BC these cities possessed monumental architecture, including large temples with elaborate stucco façades. Hieroglyphic writing was being used in the Maya region by the 3rd century BC. In the Late Preclassic a number of large cities developed in the Petén Basin, and Kaminaljuyu rose to prominence in the Guatemalan Highlands. Beginning around 250 AD, the Classic period is largely defined as when the Maya were raising sculpted monuments with Long Count dates. This period saw the Maya civilization develop a large number of city-states linked by a complex trade network. In the Maya Lowlands two great rivals, Tikal and Calakmul, became powerful. The Classic period also saw the intrusive intervention of the central Mexican city of Teotihuacan in Maya dynastic politics. In the 9th century, there was a widespread political collapse in the central Maya region, resulting in internecine warfare, the abandonment of cities, and a northward shift of population. The Postclassic period saw the rise of Chichen Itza in the north, and the expansion of the aggressive K'iche' kingdom in the Guatemalan Highlands. In the 16th century, the Spanish Empire colonized the Mesoamerican region, and a lengthy series of campaigns saw the fall of Nojpetén, the last Maya city in 1697.


Maya chronology
Period Division Dates
Archaic 8000–2000 BC
Preclassic Early Preclassic 2000–1000 BC
Middle Preclassic Early Middle Preclassic 1000–600 BC
Late Middle Preclassic 600–350 BC
Late Preclassic Early Late Preclassic 350–1 BC
Late Late Preclassic 1 BC – AD 159
Terminal Preclassic AD 159–250
Classic Early Classic AD 250–550
Late Classic AD 550–830
Terminal Classic AD 830–950
Postclassic Early Postclassic AD 950–1200
Late Postclassic AD 1200–1539
Contact period AD 1511–1697
Long Count periods
Period Calculation Span Years (approx.)
k'in 1 day 1 day
winal 1 x 20 20 days
tun 18 x 20 360 days 1 year
k'atun 20 x 18 x 20 7,200 days 20 years
bak'tun 20 x 18 x 20 x 20 144,000 days 394 years
piktun 20 x 18 x 20 x 20 x 20 2,880,000 days 7,885 years
kalabtun 20 x 18 x 20 x 20 x 20 x 20 57,600,000 days 157,700 years
kinchiltun 20 x 18 x 20 x 20 x 20 x 20 x 20 1,152,000,000 days 3,154,004 years
alawtun 20 x 18 x 20 x 20 x 20 x 20 x 20 x 20 23,040,000,000 days 63,080,082 years

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Wikipedia

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