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History of Mayan Culture

History of Mayan Culture

The mysterious culture of ancient Maya once covered a vast geographic area in Central and South America. Their civilization extended to parts of what are now Mexico, Honduras, and El Salvador, and most of Guatemala and Belize.

The Mayans first settled in 1500BC. The Mayans environment consisted of tropical rainforests, which was also one of their main sources of resources, they turned the jungles into great cities. The rainforest would provide them with food, clothing, weapons, tools, and many more useful items. It rained almost everyday, but the temperature was not cold at least in the daytime. The environment played a major role in what the Mayans culture became, they needed rain and heat to survive both the humans and the animals. The Mayans learned the methods of doing things like planting crops, making clothing, jewelry etc. The Mayans grew mainly maize (corn), beans, and squash together with yucca, manioc, and sweet potatoes.


Beauty was very important to the Mayan people. Though beauty through the Mayan eye was very unusual from today’s definition of the word. To make their heads longer, Mayan babies heads were squeezed between two pieces of wood. Another thing they did was to break their nose and reshape it, to make it look more hooked. Body Piercing and body painting was one of the major parts of how Mayans looked. Most Mayans were tanned and had black hair and eyes. Both men and women had long hair, which was braided into two or four braids. They wore very little clothing but it was very decorative, with the fanciest piece of clothing being headdresses worn by nobles. Their bodies were painted differently according to tradition and occasions. Priests wore blue, warriors wore red and black, and teenagers wore white. Jewelry was a very important part of appearance.


The Mayans had over 800 symbols for their writing system. It is said to be the most complex form of writing. The most important eastern Maya languages are Quiche, and Cakchiquel. The largest western Maya language is Tzeltal, spoken in Chiapas Mex. The Mayans had another 15 languages.

The Mayans way of education was taught to only the higher authority such as priests,...

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Category:   Ancient

Length:   7 pages (1,533 words)

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