Mayan Dynasty- South American History for AP World History
Major Accomplishments: Classical society in Meso America, powerful cultural unifier for the region; built great Pyramids
Mayan Dynasty Overview
The Mayan Dynasty began around 2600BC. and had many great accomplishments such as creating a calendar and creating the idea of zero as a place holder. The calendar helped the Mayans keep track of important dates as well as astronomical discoveries. Today, the idea of a calendar is still used as well as some of the predictions the Mayans had written down. The Mayans invented zero because they understood the concept of zero and found it necessary to have an object as a place holder. The concept of zero helped make their math very accurate and complex. The decline however isn’t really known although we do have many assumptions about the possible causes.
Mayan Social Organization
First and foremost, the start of the Mayan dynasty came to be because of many small Central American tribes. One of their greatest discoveries was astronomy the Mayans had great and superior knowledge on the subject. With this knowledge they were able to create calendars and tell time along with other astronomical changes. Mayans liked to keep organization they had many city-states that were ruled by kings. The organization of their social class consist of having the king/emperor on top of the social pyramid followed by the priest which was then followed by commoners and at eh bottom of the pyramid they had salves. Having such a great social organization contributed with everyone doing their part in society and help mold a great future for their civilization.
Furthermore, the Mayans had many great leaders that led them into many successful time periods. Yik'in Chan K'awiil, for example, built one of the greatest temples known. Within this temple are many Mayan artifacts and stories that help us depict of the events that had happened during their time of rule. Inside this temple they also had many pictographs which were the first form of writing known. These temples also served as a place where sacrifice was held. Sacrifice was very important to the Mayans they believed that with a sacrifice they would get the gods on their side and in return the gods would bless them with good crops and good luck with anything. Sacrifices were held on special occasions to please the many gods they had.
Reasons for Mayan Decline
To conclude, although the Mayan civilization was successful in many aspects it still had its defects that lead to its decline and end of rule. There are many theories about the decline but none of them have been proven. The first theory is that the Mayans had worn out the environment around them to the point that it could no longer uphold a very large population. The Mayan population had multiplied greatly within the years. This lead to a higher demand for food and more crop planting leaving little to no space for other activities. The second speculation as to why they declined was warfare. There was always a constant conflict between many competing city-states. The war between city-states caused many trade alliances to diminish along with the traditional system of dynastic power. The last possible reason for decline was drought. Water was a great necessity to the Mayans because not only was it needed for drinking but it was also used to irrigate crops-- which were especially hard.
Mayan Civilization Cult of the Jaguar
Only 20% of ruins have been uncovered and researched so more is to come
Mayan Political Systems
Mayan Economic Systems
Mayan Social Hierarchy
Mayan Intellectual Developments
Maya Number System
1. Which was not true of the Mayan civilization?
a. they are a continuation of the Olmecs
b. they were ruled by a king called the Halach
c. their city states were loosely united
d. they invented paper
2. Which of the following best describes the Mayan political systems?
a. Monarchy (hereditary)
b. Tyranny (cruel absolutely powerful rulers)
c. Loosely grouped city-states with a common religion
d. Feudal regional kingdoms
3. What was the purpose for human sacrifice and bloodletting?
a. To manage the population by sacrificing Mayan people and taking their blood to paint
b. A contest for the most collection of blood by human sacrifice.
c. A sacrifice to the gods
d. they believed the blood helped their crops grow rapidly
4. Which of the following is NOT a likely reason for the decline of the Mayans?
a. climate change
b. animal attacks
c. natural disasters
d. widespread war
5. Which of the following is not a part of the Mayan civilization?
a. the nobles owned most of the land and were often important merchants
b. they had a Tikal which was their religious capitol.
c. They had their own calendar which was on a system of 365 to 260 days.
d. They had a caste system similar to the Hindu