The Maya, Aztec, and Inca civilizations ate simple food. Corn ( maize ) was the central food in their diet, along with vegetables such as beans and squash . Potatoes and a tiny grain called quinoa were commonly grown by the Incas.
The Mayans consumed xocolatl on a daily basis, much like how we drink our morning coffee . That changed drastically when the Mayan civilization gave way to the Aztecs. The Aztec people did not grow their own cocoa beans and had to trade for the beans. Therefore, they placed a higher value on the xocolatl drink .
The Mayans were an agricultural society and were known as the “men of corn”. Another essential element in the diet of the Mayan people and the main source of protein were beans, which in the native language are called “bu’ul”. They were mashed and spread onto tortillas to make tacos .
Fruits eaten included guava , papaya , avocado , custard apple , and sweetsop . A frothy chocolate drink and honey were also popular desserts. Another very popular drink was pulque beer, known to the Maya as chih and made from fermented agave juice.
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.
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.
Although much of the Maya life was spent doing hard work, they did enjoy entertainment as well. A lot of their entertainment was centered around religious ceremonies. They played music, danced, and played games such as the Maya ball game.
Two thousand years ago, the ancient Maya developed one of the most advanced civilizations in the Americas. They developed a written language of hieroglyphs and invented the mathematical concept of zero. With their expertise in astronomy and mathematics, the Maya developed a complex and accurate calendar system.
The history of Maya civilization is divided into three principal periods: the Preclassic, Classic, and Postclassic periods. These were preceded by the Archaic Period, during which the first settled villages and early developments in agriculture emerged.
The Maya believed that when people died, they entered the Underworld through a cave or a cenote. When kings died, they followed the path linked to the cosmic movement of the sun and fell into the Underworld; but, because they possessed supernatural powers, they were reborn into the Sky World and became gods.
Although their principal crop was corn, farmers also cultivated beans, squash, and fruit trees. Black beans and red beans contributed protein to the Maya diet. Numerous varieties of squash and pumpkin were grown.
The history of chocolate can be traced to the ancient Mayans , and even earlier to the ancient Olmecs of southern Mexico. The word chocolate may conjure up images of sweet candy bars and luscious truffles, but the chocolate of today is little like the chocolate of the past.
The ancient Mayans used cacao beans—the principal ingredient in chocolate—as a currency , according to a study published in the journal Economic Anthropology. The research suggests that during the Classic Maya period (250-900 CE) cacao was exchanged for goods and services.