Deciphering Mayan History
The title says it all
The Maya’s ancestors crossed over from East Asia via the Bering Straits into North America. It is likely that there was a land bridge crossing the continents at that time, many thousands of years ago. These people left one of the coldest regions in the world and settled in one of the warmest. They built cities and thrived in Meso-America: Belize, Guatemala & Mexico
Maya wrote books on paper made from tree bark in which they kept detailed records of their history, religion, philosophy, astronomy and engineering. Spanish waged total war against the Maya and slaughtered as many as they could, sold the survivors into slavery and burnt their books. Only four books or ‘codices’were ever found and they are Dresden Codex, Paris Codex, Madrid Codex and Grolier Codex.
The Maya developed the only full-fledged written language in the new world. They were the only culture to develop a fully articulated writing system that was capable of expressing compound sentences and abstract ideas.
They developed a functional calendar that is more accurate than our own. They had 2 calendars: one that was ceremonial, and another that was simply functional. The functional calendar was based on a cycle of 13 months of 20 days each. At the end of each cycle there was a five day interim time. By using this, they were able to specify an exact date within a 52,000 year cycle. By contrast, the calendar that we use today is able to specify an exact date within a 2000 year cycle at best.
Today there are roughly 6 million direct Maya descendants living in Mexico and Central America and many of them still speak Mayan dialects, practice ancient shamanism, rituals and prepare centuries- old recipes. There are still 70 Mayan languages used today.
They were expert farmers and created hundreds of recipes and many of them are still used in Modern Mexico cooking. Mayan people made chocolate the decadent treat, it would be mixed with water, honey, chili peppers and cornmeal to create a spicy, savory hot chocolate beverage that it still served and extremely popular in Mexico & Central America.
The Classic Maya civilization grew to about 60 cities at its peak. They had one ruler per city. The height of the empire was around the year 250 AD. Most cities were abandoned by 900 AD. There are still Mayan sites and cities being discovered.
They developed intricate hieroglyphs that dates back to around 300 BC. The written language is a complex system of more than 800 hieroglyphs, each representing a syllable.
They believed in fairies and practiced human sacrifice. The purpose was to offer food to the gods and was viewed as a celebratory and joyous occasion.
For the Maya, Earth existed between Heaven and Hell and caves were considered entrances to the underworld. It was within the caves, they performed rituals and sacrifices. Today, it’s possible to visit these caves when you explore the jungles around Cancun.
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