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History, Maya Civilization

Uaxactun, Quirigua, Maya world, Maya leaders, Maya civilization

Maya civilization arose in the highlands of Guatemala centuries before the birth of Christ, forming thriving city-states and a trading network that stretched over a wide area. Many Maya leaders and people later migrated northward, into the Peten and Yucatan regions, where the civilization developed during the Classic period, between ad 300 and 900. During this period the Maya built impressive ceremonial cities at Tikal, Uaxactun, Quirigua, Mirador, and at many other sites in northern Guatemala, as well as in Honduras and Mexico. These sites featured large temple pyramids and plazas, richly decorated with sculpture and carving. The Maya also developed sophisticated scientific knowledge, a complex calendar, and a hieroglyphic writing system.

After the collapse of Classic Maya civilization about ad 900, the Maya established new cities further north in the Yucatan Peninsula, which was the center of the Maya world during the Post-Classic period (ad 900 to 1521). Those Maya who remained in the Guatemalan highlands never achieved the scientific or architectural magnificence of the Classic or Post-Classic city-states, but their civilization survived longer. When the Spaniards arrived in the 16th century, several populous nations of Maya descent, notably the Quiche, the Cakchiquel, and the Zutujil, occupied the Guatemalan highlands.

Article key phrases:

Uaxactun, Quirigua, Maya world, Maya leaders, Maya civilization, Peten, Tikal, Yucatan Peninsula, trading network, Mirador, Cakchiquel, Quiche, wide area, new cities, plazas, Spaniards, carving, birth of Christ, sculpture, Honduras, century, ad, people, sites, center


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