To scientists, it’s something more: evidence of the drought that is suspected to have led to the demise of the Mayan civilization . They found that the ratio of titanium to aluminum changed in the ninth and 10th centuries, a period when the Mayan civilization in the Yucatan Peninsula went into decline.
Although the Mayan people never entirely disappeared —their descendants still live across Central America—dozens of core urban areas in the lowlands of the Yucatan peninsula, such as Tikal, went from bustling cities to abandoned ruins over the course of roughly a hundred years.
By 1521 the Spanish had conquered the Aztecs . They tore down much of the city of Tenochtitlan and built their own city on the site called Mexico City. The Maya civilization began as early as 2000 BC and continued to have a strong presence in Mesoamerica for over 3000 years until the Spanish arrived in 1519 AD.
The Maya today number about six million people, making them the largest single block of indigenous peoples north of Peru. Some of the largest Maya groups are found in Mexico, the most important of these being the Yucatecs (300,000), the Tzotzil (120,000) and the Tzeltal (80,000).
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 .
The Spanish conquistadores arrived in the early 1500s and the last independent Mayan city, Nojpeten (in present-day Guatemala ), fell to Spanish troops in 1697. The ancient cities were largely forgotten until the 19th century, when their ruins started to be uncovered by explorers and archeologists.
During the siege, around 100 Spaniards lost their lives compared to as many as 100,000 Aztec .
Invaders led by the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés overthrew the Aztec Empire by force and captured Tenochtitlan in 1521, bringing an end to Mesoamerica’s last great native civilization .
The designation Maya comes from the ancient Yucatan city of Mayapan, the last capital of a Mayan Kingdom in the Post-Classic Period. The Maya people refer to themselves by ethnicity and language bonds such as Quiche in the south or Yucatec in the north (though there are many others).
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 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.
Including Maya and other indigenous Latin Americans in the broader Latino ethnicity complies with the concept (both popular and official) that Latino refers to people of Latin American or Hispanic heritage, thus assumed to share certain historical experiences and points of culture regardless of race, ethnicity or