Agriculture of the Ancient Maya

  • Timothy Beach
Reference work entry

The Maya are a diverse group of Native Americans, who speak 31 languages within the Mayan Language Family. They live in Southern Mesoamerica, in Mexico from Chiapas through Yucatan and south through Guatemala in the Peten lowlands and mountainous highlands and into Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. Settlements started as early as 2,000 BCE along the mangrove coastal margins of the Pacific, but most settlements started after about 1200 BCE, with identifiable ceramics, and lasted through the Pre‐Classic 1200 BCE to BCE 250 and the Classic Period from (BCE 250) to (BCE 850). Declines or transitions punctuated their history at the end of the Pre‐Classic, perhaps in the Middle Classic, (BCE 500), the sharp decline often called the Maya “Collapse” in ninth century (BCE), and the population collapse due to the diffusion of European diseases and conquests starting in the sixteenth century. All but the last of these major transitions are regional, and the most famous is the Terminal Classic...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

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  • Timothy Beach

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