Monday, January 16, 2017

Continuity and Change in Ancient Maya

Continuity and Change
During the A.D. 900s, the Mayan people began to leave their cities in the rain forests of the southern lowlands. Some archaeologists believe that the cities became too crowded. Others think that war between the Mayan cities caused the Mayan civilization of the Classic period to collapse.

Some Mayas migrated north and west. During the A.D. 900s a new Mayan civilization grew up in the northern part of the Yucatan Peninsula. This region has no rivers, so the Mayas built their new cities near cenotes (sih«NOH»teez) deep natural wells. One of these cities, Chichen Itza (chee»CHEHN it»SAH), became the Mayas' new capital.

The Mayas of the northern Yucatan Peninsula continued to use the writing, astronomy, and mathematics of the Mayan Classic period. However, they had lost trust in individual kings. Instead, they set up ruling councils to govern their cities.

In 1187 the rulers of the Mayan city Mayapan (myah*PAHN) captured Chichen Itza. Mayapan then became the Mayan capital until 1450.

At the time of his fourth voyage to the Americas, Christopher Columbus encountered the Mayas. Later Spanish contact brought European diseases to Mesoamerica. Many Mayas died during this time. Others were enslaved. However, one group of Mayas the Itzas fought Spanish rule for almost 200 years. Today, nearly 3 million Mayas speak Mayan languages and farm the lands where their ancestors once lived.

Where did the Mayas migrate after they left their cities in the rain forest?


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