16.2 – Maya Kings & Cities - Mr. May`s World History Class

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16.2 – Maya Kings & Cities
• Lands stretched from
southern Mexico to
northern Central
America
• Lowlands (North) –
rain forests & dry
scrub
• Highlands (South) –
cool, mountainous
• Built on Olmec
influences
Maya
Urban Centers
• 250-900 A.D. – Classic
Period
• Build spectacular cities –
Tikal, Copán, Chichén Itza
• Formed independent
city-states
– Ruled by god-king
– Centers for trade &
religion
• Feature pyramids,
temples, elaborate
carvings, ball courts
Agriculture & Trade
• City-states linked by two
things:
– Alliances & Trade
• Trade salt, shells, honey,
cotton textiles, jade
• Cacao acts as currency
• Diet: Maize, beans, &
squash
• Techniques:
– Slash-&-Burn
– Raised beds & terraces
Society
• Farming & trade = Huge
amounts of wealth
• Social classes develop
– Nobles: priests &
warriors
– Middle: Merchants &
artisans
– Bottom: peasants
• Kings on top society
– Holy figure,
hereditary
• Polytheistic
– Good, evil, or both
• Associated with
directions & colors
–
–
–
–
–
North (White)
South (Yellow)
East (Red)
West (Black)
Center (Green)
• Worshipped gods through
food, flowers, & blood
• Practiced human sacrifice
– Victims into a cenote (hole)
w/ gold, jade & offerings
– Pleased the gods &
balanced the world
Religion
Math & Astronomy
• Religion = development
of calendars, math, &
astronomy
• Calendars very accurate
– Days lucky or unlucky b/c
of gods; had to know
– Two linked calendars:
• 260 & 365 days
• Based on positioning of
the sun, moon, & planets
• Math system based on
20 & included zero =
accuracy
• Most advanced of the
ancient Americas
• Consisted of ~800 glyphs
(symbols)
– Whole words of syllables
• Record writings in a
codex
• Famous writings: Popol
Vuh
– Recounts the Maya story
of creation
– P. 448
Written Language
Decline
• Mysterious decline
• Late-800s: abandon
cities
• Toltecs settle in lands &
change culture
• Warfare increases &
disrupts trade
• Population growth &
over-farming =
shortages & famine
• Maya are weak &
divided by time
Spaniards arrive
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