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An Overview of the Ancient Mayan Empire

An Overview of the Ancient Mayan Empire

The Mayan Empire was one of the most innovative and interesting civilizations. It was an ancient civilization that was one of the most advanced and innovative ones. They inhabited the Yucatan peninsula and the empire lasted for about 3500 years ending around the year 1500 AD. It is considered the greatest civilization among the original cultures of the western hemisphere.

The empire was located in what is now known as Central America. They lived in the area that is now Belize, Honduras, Mexico, and Guatemala. The whole are lies south of the tropic of cancer, and north of the equator. It contained over 120,000 sq miles, which is the about the size of Great Britain, or a little bit smaller than California. It is believed that the Mayan empire contained over one million people. It is mainly hot, and a large rainforest has developed there.

The main basis of the economy was agriculture with most people being farmers. The primary crop was maize. Other crops raised were cotton, beans, squash, and cacao. The cotton was used to make clothing since the Mayans had superior skills in spinning, weaving, and dyeing. They made major farming innovations such as irrigation systems. The climate is very hot from May to August and rainy through the rest of the year, so the farmers have a lot of free time to serve the king. This serving time helped make the amazing developments from the Maya.

By far, the major innovations and skills were in astronomy. Mayan priests would consistently take measurements using tools such as a forked stick. Using their amazing astronomical knowledge, they were able to predict future eclipses. They were also able to chart the complex motions of the sun and other astronomical bodies. Using this knowledge, they designed a calendar that was the most complex and accurate of all ancient calendars. In fact, it was only 19 minutes per year off from the actual calendar. It even contained month and week divisions. One of these months was only five days long, called the Wayeb, and was considered unlucky.

In mathematics, the Mayans were quite intelligent. They developed a number system using a combination of dots and bars. These dots and bars were stacked together in piles of twenty, with the dot meaning one and the bar meaning five. They also made the original discovery of the number zero. This is...

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