American Civilizations: The Mayas

From 200 A.D. to 950 A.D. there was a sophisticated civilization living in Mesoamerica. This civilization was known as the Mayas. They had a heiroglyphic writing system, but mainly passed on history via oral storytelling. The Mayas developed an accurate calendar that was based on the sun’s movement. They calculated that there were 365 days to a year; however, they were unable to realize that a full solar rotation requires 365.25 days, which skewed their calendar. The Mayas are also said to have created the concept of the number 0. They practiced astronomy by predicting and charting the movement of the moon and stars. Their architecture was usually dedicated to their gods, and utilized the natural landscape to build their buildings. They did not have extensive planning when building, but a number of their buildings included open plazas that were near religious and political buildings. The Mayas were polytheistic and believed in sacrifice and self-mutilation. They also believed that their rulers had religious powers.


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Last updated: 01/08/2018
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