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The Mayan Civilization

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jessica renfrow

on 19 November 2014

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Transcript of The Mayan Civilization

The Mayan Civilization
The Mayan People
-Short
-Men were about 5 feet tall
-Women were about 4 feet 8 inches tall
-Straight black hair
-Many painted their bodies black, red, or blue
-Many tattoos
-Crossed eyes/ flat foreheads = beautiful
Mayan Religion
-Priests were very respected
-Mathematics and astronomy
- Believed that only priests could explain life and death
-Religious sacrifices
-pyramids over rulers

Mayan Mathematics/Astronomy
Math:
-More advanced than Egyptians, Romans, or Greeks
-First to use zero
-Wrote numbers from top to bottom rather then left to right
Astronomy:
-Priests studied sun, moon, planets, and stars.
-Believed that the sky gave them a way to predict events on earth
-two calendars ( sacred calendar and 365-day calendar)
Sacred calendar:
-had 260 days.
- 20 day names (associated with a god)
-No months
-Used for religious events 365-Day calendar:
-movement of the earth
-18 months
-20 days per month
-believed the 5 extra days at the end of the year were unlucky
Mayan Agriculture

-Began as hunters and gatherers
-Population increased so they had to plant crops to survive
- Used slash and burn method
-Planting stick was used after they cleared the land
-crops included: maize, beans, peppers, squash, pumpkins
-special plant called cacao was able to grow on the edges of the city in some regions. Very hard to grow but made a delicacy that we still have today... any guesses as to what it is?
Agriculture continued
-Water was always a concern due to droughts
-Irrigation but on a smaller scale than the Incas or Aztecs
-Religion played a part in their agriculture
-Certain days for farming and harvesting
-Celebrations or rituals in honor of the rain god

What Happened to the Maya?
-Mayan's abandoned their cities suddenly around 850 B.C.
-Scattered across the country side
No proof as to what happened... only theories

Here's a few:
- Natural Disasters (drought, earthquakes, hurricanes, epidemics?)
-Agricultural failure (slash and burn method/ lack of man power)
-Peasant revolt
-Outside attack (Toltecs)

We do know that between 1519 and 1525 Hernando Cortez led several conquests through the Mayan land after the larger cities were abandoned. The Spanish brought with them many diseases that that Mayans had no resistance for. In 1697 the Spanish finally defeated what was left of the Mayan civilization.
http://www.history.com/topics/maya
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