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Maya [archive]

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Maya

Location

: Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and the five Mexican states of Tabasco, Chiapas, Campeche, Yucatan and Quintana Roo.

History

: The Maya civilization spanned a period of 3,000 years and featured a written language, architecture, a well-ordered social class system, agriculture, art, the development of a calendar, trade and a well-developed religious system.

Language

: There are around 30 different indigenous Mayan languages. Most Maya also speak Spanish.

Daily Life

: Present day Guatemalan Mayas still preserve much of their culture and religion. There is a mixture of Mayan and Western European traditions. This aspect is most obvious in religious practices. The modern Maya practice their own brand of Christianity which is a blend of Catholic tradition and ancient ritual. Mayans have long been farmers and traders, and this is still true today. Most farming is subsistence agriculture and the main crops are beans and corn. The fields are cleared by slashing and burning, the same as it was done by the early Mayans two thousand years ago.

Best Known Features

: Today's handicrafts are still produced using ancient techniques and retain their importance within the Maya culture. Weaving has now become one of the Maya's best known features. Textiles made from cotton were used by the ancient Maya just as they are today. The Maya also make baskets, pottery and wood carvings of animals, saints and brightly-painted toys and chests. Ceremonial masks are yet another specialty.

Additional Reading

 Maya Language
 Maya Words
 Maya Legends
 Mexican Indian Tribes

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