The Maya civilization were people who lived in Mesoamerica, with Maya languages and Maya religion. They lived there for a long time and some of the Maya people live there even today.
The Maya lived there 4,000 years ago (about 2000 BC). At that date complex societies were living in the Maya region. The staple foods of the Maya diet were cultivated. Their food included maize, beans, squashes, and chili peppers. The first Maya cities developed around 750 BC.
The Maya people used a written language and a numeral system. They were good at art, building, and math. Their priests studied stars and planets, which helped them make calendars.
The Maya civilization was biggest between the years of 420 AD and 900 AD. The Maya civilization spread all the way from central Mexico to Honduras, Guatemala, and northern El Salvador. It is estimated that at its maximum, the civilization had at least ten million people. The Maya people traded with other people in the Americas. Their art and buildings have lots of different styles. This shows they traded a lot. They made changes to their buildings to make them even better. The Maya civilization started getting smaller after 900 AD.
The Conquistadors arrived in the 15th century and took over Mexico and later Central America, even in the Mayan areas. However, the Maya people still live there today. They live in the same areas the Mayan civilization used to live in. They keep the old Mayan traditions and beliefs. There are many Mayan languages still spoken today, including one called the Achi language. A play called Rabinal Achi is considered important.
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