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a bit of mayan history

 
The Maya is the best-known of the classical civilizations of Mesoamerica. Mayan history starts in the Yucatan peninsula around 2600 B.C., and rose to prominence around 250 A.D. in present-day southern Mexico, Guatemala, western Honduras, El Salvador, and northern Belize.

Building on the inherited inventions and ideas of earlier civilizations, Maya's developed astronomy, calendrical systems and hieroglyphic writing. They were noted, as well, for elaborate and highly decorated ceremonial architecture, including temple-pyramids, palaces and observatories, all built without metal tools. They also developed a complex calendar and probably the most elaborate form of hieroglyphics in America.

Mayan history shows that they were also skilled farmers, clearing large sections of tropical rain forest and, where groundwater was scarce, building sizeable underground reservoirs for the storage of rainwater. They were equally skilled as weavers and potters, and cleared routes through jungles and swamps to foster extensive trade networks with distant peoples.


Even so, Maya agriculture was the foundation of their civilization. Populations in densely forested regions, such as El Petén, "The cradle of the Maya civilization", in Guatemala, oftened rely on slash-and-burn agriculture. As explained by NASA archeologist Tom Sever, “In slash-and-burn agriculture, people clear the land to plant corn and get 100 percent productivity the first year, 60 percent the next year, and something less than that afterwards.

So in three to five years, the land was basically useless, so they had  to move on.” The Maya Architecture, as well as their Art, has been called the richest of the New World due to their great complexity of their patterns but also their variety of media expressions.


Limestone structures, faced with lime stucco, were the hallmark of their architecture. Mayan buildings were usually adorned with carved friezes and roof combs in stone and stucco.

With large quantities of limestone and flint available, they easily produced plaster and cement thus  allowing the Mayans to build stepped pyramids and impressive temples. Their Pyramids –especially in Tikal and Nakúmcontained one or two rooms with The Mayan Arch and intricate Roof combs. Without benefit of metal tools, beasts of burden, or even the wheel, they were still masters of architecture, building elaborate pyramids and sprawling cities.

The collapse of these great cities is a mystery only now being explained, but the modern Maya remain tenacious survivors, like the jaguar itself, at the dawn of this new millennium.

Interesting to note that the Mayan always built their cities and temples using Astronomy. All the Maya cities were carefully planned in an East to West orientation, with the major Temples forming a perfect isosceles triangle.The art of the Maya was a reflection of their lifestyle and culture and it was important trade merchandise. The art was composed of delineation and painting upon paper and plaster, carvings in wood, Obsidian, bone, shells, Jade and stone, clay and stucco models, and terracotta figurines from molds.

The technical process of metal working was also highly developed but as the resources were scarce, they only created ornaments in this media. Music was much appreciated and there is also proof of Theater plays being held in public ceremonies.
Many experts and researches on Maya history believed they first came to America by crossing the Bering Strait at least 20,000 years ago. They were nomadic hunter-gatherers.

Evidence of settled habitation in Mexico is found in the Archaic period 5000-1500 BC – corn cultivation, basic pottery and stone tools.
Through our participating vendors, entertainers, artists, craftsmen and musicians, our visitors  are entertained and introduced to many of the Mayan dances, art, costumes and literature in an event for the whole family that is part historical, part educational but highly entertaining.

This two day event is presented to the community entirely free of charge. The cost is absorbed by interested sponsors, patron donations and vendor space rentals. If, after covering expenses, any money is left, it  will be donated to one or more non-for-profit organizations whose purpose is to educate and inspire young people to value free enterprise, education, the environment, and the quality of their lives.