24 de March de 2017 0

The Mayas: Origin and Expansion

Provenance of the Mayas

In this post we will tell you how the Mayas expanded through Mexico, and their origin. Their traditions, and social divides.

Mayas originated in Asia. Thus, their Asian physical traits, and characteristic Mongolian features, slanted eyes and height. They arrived at America through the Bering Strait, on the Northern tip of the American continent, and from where they travelled south, arriving to what we now know as Central America.

The first Maya settlements are based on chronological studies, dating from 2300 B.C to 2000 B.C. on an area now known as Guatemala, in the cities of Cancuen, Tikal, and Quirigua. From there they expanded to other areas we now know as Belize, Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico’s south and southeast.

In Mexico, they expanded and settled in the states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo. There were multiple ethnic groups among them, of which we can mention, in the south of Mexico, the Putunes, Chonzales, Tzotziles, Cupules, Ek Cabes, and Itzaes.

The Maya world was basically divided, into three great eras:

  • Pre-Classic. From 2200 B.C. to 200 A.D.
  • Classic. From 200 to 900.
  • Post-Classic. From 900 to 1521.

Each era had its own peculiar traits, socially as well as culturally, due to the variety of influences in each era.

Maya society was divided into classes, very strict, where farmers formed the base of that society. Their economy was based on agriculture, with products used as coins for external trade. Products such as corn and cocoa were fundamental. But they were also innovative in creating new crops.

The Maya developed a vast culture in all its facets. Astronomy was one of the fundamentals, using observations and mathematics as calculation tools, based on the Milky Way. They developed their own calendar with astounding precision, where equinoxes were the corner stones of their calendar.

The development of mathematics was also essential to Maya society. They were the first to use number zero. Their mathematics system was based on the number 20, vigesimal, from which all progress stemmed. The system we currently use in the modern world is based on the number 10, the decimal system.

Of course art was also present in the Maya civilization. From the architecture of their colossal buildings, the pyramids as genuine iconic representation, to a variety of temples we can now admire in Chichen Itzá, Cobá, Tulum, and many others.

Stelae representation, the written legacy they left us in polychromatic representations, and the ornaments of buildings. Dancing was also an artistic expression of the Maya culture. Dances were fundamental religious rites in their society.

On our tours and excursions on the Maya culture you will enjoy and admire their full splendor.

Raúl Herrera

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