Maya civilization had reached western Honduras in the 5th century A.D., probably spreading from lowland Mayan centers in Guatemala’s Petén region. The Maya spread rapidly through the Río Motagua Valley, centering their control on the major ceremonial center of Copán, near the present-day town of Santa Rosa de Copán.
Discovered in 1570 by Diego García de Palacio, the Maya site of Copan is one of the most important sites of the Mayan civilization. It was also the political centre and cultural focus of a larger territory that covered the southeast portion of the Maya area and its periphery.
Copán was a powerful city ruling a vast kingdom within the southern Maya area. The city suffered a major political disaster in AD 738 when Uaxaclajuun Ub’aah K’awiil, one of the greatest kings in Copán’s dynastic history, was captured and executed by his former vassal, the king of Quiriguá.
Many hypotheses have been developed to explain the collapse of the southern Classic Maya polities between A.D. 790 and 950. They include environmental degradation, climate change, warfare, top-heavy political systems, and natural disasters (1, 2). The Copan Valley lies on the southeastern periphery of the Maya region.
Hondurans are the eighth-largest population of Hispanic origin living in the United States, accounting for 2% of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2017. Since 2000, the Honduran -origin population has increased 296%, growing from 237,000 to 940,000 over the period.
Scholars have suggested a number of potential reasons for the downfall of Maya civilization in the southern lowlands, including overpopulation, environmental degradation, warfare, shifting trade routes and extended drought. It’s likely that a complex combination of factors was behind the collapse.
Tikal is a complex of Mayan ruins deep in the rainforests of northern Guatemala. Historians believe that the more than 3,000 structures on the site are the remains of a Mayan city called Yax Mutal, which was the capital of one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient empire.
The Stairway , located on the west side of the temple-pyramid Structure 26, has the longest known Maya text inscription from ancient Mesoamerica, dating from the eighth century ce. The inscription tells the official history of Copán’s rulers and, as such, is of exceptional historic significance.
Copán, Honduras : Maya altar Its central district covers 54 acres (22 hectares) and consists of stone temples, two large pyramids , several stairways and plazas, and a court for playing the ball game tlachtli (Mayan: pok-ta-pok).
The traditional named founder of Copán was actually K’inich Yax K’uk Mo ‘ (‘Great Sun Quetzal-Macaw’), who reigned from 426 CE to c. 437 CE and who was probably not himself from Copán but another Maya city, perhaps Tikal.
In the spring of 1992, University Museum excavators of the ancient Maya city of Copan made the remarkable discovery of an intact noble burial chamber. The burial, located in the city’s Acropolis, may prove to belong to one of Copan’s ákings.
Population estimates for Tikal vary from 10,000 to as high as 90,000 inhabitants.
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 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.
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 .