HIST111: WORLD CIVILIZATION BEFORE 1650 |
The Mayans: Who Were They? |
Instructor: Leslie Kelly |
By Matt Barbera |
The Mayans: Who Were They?
In the ancient days deep in the heartland of Mesoamerica during from 1800 BC to about 900 AD the great Mayan Civilization had risen and then, without any known cause, deteriorated into nothing. You might ask yourself why the Mayans were so great if their empire diminished without any apparent cause. As you read you will gain a basic understanding of these people and why that question still remains to this day. So who were the Mayans?
All of us at some point in our lives have watched adventure movies about great journeys deep into the jungles to find treasure and lost cities. One movie character sticks out more than any other when it comes to these types of adventures, Indian Jones. Well, the Mayan cities fit this exact profile. Stone cities built in the middle of the jungle, mystical cities flourishing in mountains you can only get to by horse back or walking. The empire was broken up into three regions. There were the northern Maya lowlands on the Yucatan Peninsula, the southern lowlands in the Peten district of northern Guatemala, and the southern Maya highlands in the mountain region of southern Guatemala.
In the earliest settlements called the Preclassic Period, in a region of what is now known as Guatemala lived the indigenous people of ancient Waka. Most of this area was dense rain forest and full of what seemed to be endless resources. The fruits of nature had no end at this time as it was full of tropical hardwoods, medicinal plants, and plenty of game. Forest life such as toucans, spider monkeys, macaws, and jaguars were in abundance. The burning of cohune palm nuts was a constant necessity as it kept the relentless mosquitos at bay. This truly was the land of machetes and water ways even the most experienced river navigators would be challenged. .
As populations grew in Waka,...