The Ancient Mayan Civilization
The ancient Maya were a group of American Indian peoples who lived in southern Mexico, particularly the present-day states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo, and in Belize, Guatemala,
and adjacent Honduras. Their descendants, the modern Maya, live in the same regions today, in both highlands and lowlands, from cool highland plains ringed by volcanos to deep tropical rain forests. Through the region runs a single major river system, the Apasion-Usumacinta and its many tributaries, and only a handful of lesser rivers, the Motagua, Hondo, and Belize among them. The ancestors of the Maya, like those of other New World peoples, crossed the Bering Land Bridge from Asia more than 20,000 years ago, during the last ice age. The Maya were the first people of the New World to keep historical records: their written history begins in 50 BC, when they began to inscribe texts on pots, jades, bones, stone monuments, and pala...