- Education and Science»
- History & Archaeology
Empires Rise Only to Fall
The Mayan Ruins
Some of the most amazing civilizations in our history have really lived, such as the Mayans but among building their impressive empire, tragedy strikes and all that has been built, falls in horrifying fashion.
Rise of the Mayan Empire
The Mayan civilizations thrived in Southern Mexico and Central American rainforests. The rise of the Maya Empire is said to have begun with one mysterious man named Fire is Born. With the name Fire is Born I think you are almost guaranteed greatness. But back to the history. This man led a group of warriors who had no mercy. They yielded weaponry and fabulous headdresses with vibrant colors that excited the people.1
Fire is Born and his warriors somehow overtook the political aspect of the Maya. They changed the politics as they saw fit, either instilling values from where they came from (originally from Southern Mexico) or simply creating the kind of life they wanted (This portion of history remains a mystery). Other close neighbors to the Maya began joining forces with Fire is Born. He either convinced them to be on his side or yielded force in order to create an unstoppable empire. Even after his death the Mayan Empire flourished for at least five centuries afterward. To put it in perspective five centuries is the same as 500 years. This man Fire is Born was a key element in starting the empire that is so famous today.1
The Mayan Calendar
Ancient Mayan Women
Lady Yohl Ik'nal is known as the first woman ruler to be recorded in Mayan history. She ruled between 583-604 AD. Her rule ended after an important battle was lost and she was succeeded by Aj Ne'Yohl.3
Lady of Tikal became a Mayan ruler at the age of six. She reigned as queen for 23 years and is well know for her ability to be a religious, economic and military leader. Her rule was from 511-527 AD.3
For women not of royalty, house work such as cleaning and preparing food was an important job. While the men grew crops, the women prepare flour to cook with.
The Decline of the Mayan Empire
Researchers are still unsure of why and how the Maya thrived in these areas. Based on the current state of the land it almost seems impossible to sustain such life there. The lands range from tropical rainforests to harsh brush lands that contain few water sources. The rivers run dry in summer and drought is a big issue. On the other hand, in the jungle, wild cats scour the ground and spider monkeys rule the trees. There is such a vast danger lurking in these lands, it's intriguing to imagine living there.
The fall of the Mayan Empire is still a mystery, which is one of the main reasons making it so fascinating. A powerful civilization dispersing for unknown reasons and leaving the place they called home. Was it due to a changing climate? Or maybe due to war being afoot. Many scholars have theories such as drought and war that make sense, but what really happened? Why did these people leave their homes? It may never be fully understood, but not for the lack of trying.
Modern Mayans still live today. Many can be found throughout southern Mexico and Guatemala. They are still a thriving people which can be divided into 4 main groups. Huastec, Yucatec, Western Maya, and Eastern Maya.2 Each of these groups contain many different languages including, Yucatec, Lacandón, Itzá, Tzeltal and over 20 more.