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Mayan Civilization Who are these people?.

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Presentation on theme: "Mayan Civilization Who are these people?."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mayan Civilization Who are these people?

2 Origin The Maya lived in what is now southern Mexico into northern Central America. The Yucatan Peninsula. The Maya began to grow as a civilization from 2000 B.C. to 400 B.C. By A.D. 250, the Maya were a flourishing civilization.

3 Where they lived

4 Urban Centers The Classic Period: 250 to 900 A.D.
The Maya built advanced cities such as Tikal, Copan, Palenque, Uxmal, and Chichen Itza. Independent city-states: ruled by a god-king. Center for religious ceremonies and trade.

5 Urban Centers cont’d These cities featured pyramids, temples, palaces, and elaborate stone carvings dedicated to gods. Tens of thousands of people lived in these cities. Each Maya city featured a ball court in which they played a game that had religious significance.


7 Chichen Itza

8 Agriculture & Trade Cities were linked through alliances and trade.
Exchanged: salt, flint, feathers, shells, and honey, as well as craft goods like: cotton textiles and jade ornaments. Grew: maize, beans, and squash. Used slash and burn techniques as well as planting on raised beds over swamps and hillside terraces.

9 Kingdoms Successful farming led to accumulation of wealth and the development of social classes (like feudal Europe at the same time). Kings: holy, heriditary. Nobles: priests and leading warriors Merchants and skilled artisans Peasants (the majority)

10 Mayan Religion Polytheistic, believed that many gods influenced daily aspects of life. Believed that each day was a living god whose behavior could be predicted with the aid of a system of calendars…

11 Religious Practices Made offerings of food, flowers, and incense.
Pierced and cut into bodies and offered their blood. Sometimes used human sacrifice, usually captured enemies. Believed that this pleased the gods and kept the world in balance.

12 Mayan Math Their religious beliefs led to the development of the calendar, math, and astronomy. Time was a burden on the back of a god, who would pass it off to another god the next day. A day would be lucky or unlucky depending on the nature of the god.

13 Calendar Developed a 260 day religious calendar, which consisted of thirteen 20-day months. Also developed a 365 (like ours!) day solar calendar which consisted of eighteen 20-day months. The two calendars were linked together like gears so that any day could be identified in both cycles. Helped identify best times to plant crops, attack enemies, and crown new rulers.

14 Calendar cont’d

15 Calendar cont’d The Mayan calendar was based on careful observation of the planets, sun, and moon (astronomy). Accuracy: were able to calculate the solar year at days, only of a day short of the calendar we use today.

16 Mayan Math They used a system that had the concept of zero.
Base-20 system (we use a base-10) Shell symbol for zero Dots for numbers one through four A bar for five They used numbers for their calendar and astronomical work.


18 Written Language The Maya also had the most developed writing system in the ancient Americas. System consisted of around 800 hieroglyphic symbols or glyphs. Some stood for words, others syllables. Used stone or bark-paper recordings called a codex to keep records. Creation story called the Popol Vuh.

19 Decline No one knows for certain why the Maya declined…
Around 800 A.D. they began to abandon their city-states. Invaded by the Toltec from the north. Warfare caused problems with the economy and trade. Over-population and over-farming were problems as well. By 1500, when the Spanish arrived, the Maya were a collection of small, weak city-states.


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