The Maya have lived in Central America for many centuries. They are one of the many Precolumbian native peoples of Mesoamerica . In the past and today they occupy Guatemala, adjacent portions of Chiapas and Tabasco, the whole of the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize, and the western edges of Honduras and Salvador.
Do The Maya Still Exist? Descendants of the Maya still live in Central America in modern-day Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and parts of Mexico. The majority of them live in Guatemala, which is home to Tikal National Park, the site of the ruins of the ancient city of Tikal.
The Maya were a smaller race of people with dark skin, dark eyes and straight black hair, but to them what was considered physically beautiful was not the way they were born, but a long sloping forehead and slightly crossed-eyes. The Maya would bind the newborn infant’s head between two boards for several days.
A boy’s job was to learn from his father how to do the same occupation as his father.” Young girls were expected to perform household duties, while young boys were to help their fathers in farming. Mostly women raised the children , but “When a boy was about four or five his father began the training of his son.”
The ancient Maya civilization was formed by members of this group, and today’s Maya are generally descended from people who lived within that historical civilization. Today they inhabit southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras.
After assembling a record-setting 154 radiocarbon dates, the researchers have been able to develop a highly precise chronology that illuminates the patterns that led up to the two collapses that the Maya civilization experienced: the Preclassic collapse, in the second century A.D., and the more well-known Classic
Blood was viewed as a potent source of nourishment for the Maya deities, and the sacrifice of a living creature was a powerful blood offering. By extension, the sacrifice of a human life was the ultimate offering of blood to the gods, and the most important Maya rituals culminated in human sacrifice .
The Incas , an American Indian people, were originally a small tribe in the southern highlands of Peru. Roads, walls, and irrigation works constructed by the Incas are still in use today. Spanish conquerors captured the Inca emperor in 1532 and began to break up the empire.
“The Yucatan Maya are fairly short in stature and relatively thick-bodied. They have rather long arms and small hands and feet. The average height of the men is 5 feet 1 inch and of the women, 4 feet 8 inches .”
While there is little evidence of monarchies in early Maya cities, the Classic period saw the rise of one legendary revered king. The rule of K’inich Janaab ‘ Pakal the Great , or Janaab’ Pakal I , of the Late-classic city of Palenque was one of great acclaim.
The Maya dead were laid to rest with maize placed in their mouth. Maize, highly important in Maya culture, is a symbol of rebirth and also was food for the dead for the journey to the otherworld. Similarly, a jade or stone bead placed in the mouth served as currency for this journey.
The Mayans and the Aztecs believed (and perhaps some people still do) that chocolate was a gift from the gods. The Aztecs in particular revered the drink – they gave it to victorious warriors after battle, would use it during religious rituals, and even used cacao beans as currency.
Families lived in great cities like Yax Mutal and Palenque, and also in surrounding farmland. Adults worked as farmers, warriors, hunters, builders, teachers and many other things. Children from noble families could learn maths, science, writing and astronomy, but poorer children were only taught their parents’ jobs.