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|Timeline : Superpowers|
|Government||Technocratic Constitutional Monarchy|
|Official Language||Nahuatl (de jure)|
|Population Density||110 inhb/km2|
|Leader||Kab Ajaw Mayapan XIV|
|Legislature||Maya Grand Council|
|Territory||OTL North America up to the USA border with Canada less all states east of the Michigan-Missouri line; OTL Columbia; OTL Venezuela; Pacific Islands up to Papua, including Papua; Hawaiian Islands|
The Maya Conglomerate (Tlahtocaque Maya) is the world's largest technocratic constitutional monarchy, a confederation of 1000 sovereign city-states. The country is mostly situated in Central Columbia, lying between Tawatinsuyu and the United Chiefdoms. As a federation, united by an absolute monarch, civil power rests in nine hundred Maya states who dominate their colonies and other Columbian city-states.
At 14.24 million km² and 1.58 billion people, the Conglomerate is the third largest country by area and population. A most diverse and multicultural nation, it is still the product of imperialism and colonization under one group. Political and legal rights are granted only to Maya and Mexican citizens, without regard for other races.
Foreigners know the Maya Heartland by the name Mesocolumbia, the home of the Mexica. There, Ajaw Quich'en Ch'onle Mayapan I united the loose groups of city-states into a lasting kingdom. His reign left behind the largest and most technological civilization the continent had ever seen. The majority Mexican and Maya cultures reconciled in the cultural revolutions of the 7th century as a single Nahua nation.
Government & Politics
The Tlahtocaque Maya is the world's oldest surviving federation. Governed by a constitutional leader referred to as Kuhul Ajaw (Divine Lord) or Kab Ajaw (Global Lord), the state is in fact an absolute monarchy. However, ajaw rise to the Golden Throne through election by the representative parliament of the States. Every member of the royal family is a candidate but the decision is officially based on merit. The family of Mayapan I is the longest reigning dynasty in human history, stretching back 1569 years.
The Maya people are represented by the Maya Grand Council, a unicameral parliament that reflects the will of Conglomerate citizens. Senators elected by each of the 900 contiguous Maya states compose the Council while a Tribune of the Mexicans, chosen by majority support of the Mexican states, regulates government activity in their interest.
After proposal by a Senator, a bill is promulgated once a two-thirds majority (600+ votes) is achieved. When an old law is asked for removal, the act must have 80% support in parliament and the consent of the Ajaw. Similarly, when a law is changed rather than removed it requires a two-thirds majority and support from the Ajaw.
Parliament consists of 900 Senators elected as representatives of the 900 contiguous Maya States. A recent bill in 1792 created the position of Tribune of the Mexicans. The Tribune has the power to prohibit any acts of Parliament he wishes. The only bureaucrat immune to his power is the Ajaw.
Due to the importance of legal rights in Maya society, the Supreme Conglomerate Court is one of the fairest and most democratic systems in the world. Every five years a Chief of Justice is elected by the Legal Congress, a body consisting of 110 members elected by the Maya and the Mexican Regions. Each Maya Region contains nine states and each Mexican Region contains ten states. Members of the Legal Congress are elected by indirect vote wherein whichever candidate is supported by the most States in his region gets elected.
The only government body representing non-Maya and non-Mexican States is the Tribal Assembly. This organ has one member for each of the 200 Tribal States and votes on matters of particular importance to the tribal natives within the Conglomerate. Fiscal matters such as government spending and taxation in Tribal States are the only thing outside of the Assembly's control. When additions or modifications to Tribal Law are proposed by parliament, the new bill must have a 50% majority or more in the Tribal Assembly to pass.
Maya States of Columbia
On a macroscopic scale, the country is divided into two zones. There is the Conglomerate, a contiguous collection of 1,200 city-states on the Columbian mainland, and there are the Colonies, a collection of Pacific Islands and African territories under Maya control. The latter has no real political power and exists purely to serve the interests of the greater nation.
The Colonies are divided into what loosely translates into Latin as Insula. They are isolated islands or small archipelagos in themselves, ruled by an upper-class Maya. All colonial territories are controlled by the Governor, one of the most potent positions in the Conglomerate, reporting to the Kab Ajaw alone. Many of the Conglomerate's 480 Insulae consist of purely Maya populations as the previous natives were wiped out by relocation and genocide. Nevertheless, they have consistently been refused entry into the Conglomerate as a State. One of the most important Maya colonies is the Naval Headquarters of the Colonida, located 3,000 km west of the mainland. It has a population of 2.9 million citizens and nearly a hundred thousand military personnel.
The only territories, other than Insulae, that are within the jurisdiction of the Governor are the six African colonies, designated by the dominant African tribe within their borders. Surprisingly, Africans are treated far more kindly by the Maya than Native Columbians, most likely because they do not share a millennial history of war.
The mainland of Maya Columbia consists of the 1200 contiguous City-States of the Conglomerate. However, above the State divisions the Conglomerate is divided into Regions, of which there are three types. These are the 100 Maya Regions, ten Mexican Regions and the "Badlands" (Tribal Regions). A Maya Region contains nine states and Mexican Regions are each subdivided into ten states. States are the dominion of their capital city, whose wealth and size depend on their states resources and location in the Conglomerate. The Northern and Southern Tribal Regions are unevenly subdivided into a total of 200 Tribal States. These are typically controlled by a Maya city near their geographic center while the Natives live in small villages within the territory.
While all Maya states are politically equal, the most powerful one is the State of Teotihuacan, colloquially known as The Capital. The Royal Palaces, one of three parliamentary council chambers, and the Teotihuacan Stock Exchange are all located in the illustrious city of Teotihuacan.
In summary, there are 900 Maya States, 100 Mexica States and 200 Tribal States, organized into 100 Maya Regions, ten Mexican Regions and two Tribal Regions. The nature of the Conglomerate's division and comparative political decentralization induces many pretentious Romans to refer to it as the United States of Columbia, or the United States of the Maya, deliberately forming a comparison to the relatively primitive United Chiefdoms of Columbia.
The military of the Maya Conglomerate has three divisions:
Approximately 3.2% of Conglomerate GDP is spent on the armed forces: 49% goes to the Air Force, 38% to the Army, and the remaining 13% to the Navy. Total military expenditure is 101 billion Denarii, or just over half of Roman expenditure on its own military. The Maya have the third largest military force in the world, lagging behind first the Mongols then the Romans.
- The Conglomerate Standing Army (CSA or Maya Holy Army) is the second largest ground forces in the world. It currently employs 6,000,000 infantrymen, 300,000 officers, 10,000 commanders, 500 Generals of which 50 are on the Maya War Council, all of which is headed by the Grand Commander of the Conglomerate Armies. Furthermore, the CSA fields the largest brigade of armored vehicles in the world, surpassing even the Mongols by several hundred tanks.
- The Colonida (based on Latin for colonies) is the fourth largest navy on the planet, behind even the Ottoman Caliphate. Nevertheless, they actually employ more naval officers and crewmen than the Romans, with their numbers being in the range of 1,800,000 people. Looking at their forces, the Maya Navy has 80 nuclear aircraft carriers, 360 battleship-sized vessel, 140 Destroyers, 600 transport ships and 250 or so assorted cruisers and small attack vessels. As can be seen here, the Maya put extreme importance on the heavier ship classes, especially emphasizing their ability to field and defend their own aircraft.
- The RAF is the second largest and second oldest air force in the world. Unlike Rome, the Maya prefer specialized aircraft over technologically complex all-purpose vehicles. Additionally, the ability to hit an enemy hard and fast, through strategic use of stealth bombers, is evident as a major Maya strategy, particularly in their higher than average ratio of bombers to other types of aircraft. In total, the RAF employs about 1,900,000 active airmen, almost a third of which are technicians or in-flight plane specialists. These people are mostly required to assist in bomber management and targeting.
The Maya Conglomerate has a communist planned economy, with the government owning or at least controlling virtually every industry. By Roman standards for different sectors, more than 82% of workers are in the Public Sector, while the other 18% are either foreign workers or work in the highly state-influenced Private Sector. Unlike the pseudo-socialist Platonist states, the Maya's planned economy is highly effective, allowing it to keep up with the equally impressive Roman and Japanese economies. Its success is attributable to the virtually corruption free Maya government and the incredibly loyal Maya people, both of which have put the needs of the state above their own needs for millennia. Anywhere else, this system would be impossible.
According to data collected by the World Bank, the Conglomerate has a total GDP of 1.96 trillion Dn ($98 Trillion), giving it the third largest share of global GDP. Its GDP PPP on the other hand is not so impressive in comparison to those above it, only standing at 1240 Dn per capita. What is impressive though is the equitable distribution of this GDP, with only a small percentage of the population receiving above this average. Furthermore, virtually no Maya citizen makes less than 1100 Dn. By Maya law, "no Maya or Mexican son or daughter can ever live on less than 1000 Dn".
In Nahuatl, there is no equivalent for the Latin nonoccupatio (unemployed), such is there level of employment. Maya culture bears a sharp stigma toward citizens with no desire to work; most people consider them mentally ill or of low intelligence. This traditional attitude has been fostered for centuries in the central Maya cities, originally spread by the nobility as the country was transitioning into a planned economy. While the Maya have followed most of the world into the present economic recession, their unemployment rate, as measured by the World Bank, sits around 0.6%. As a public policy, any citizen who isn't working need only file a notification to the Conglomerate Labor Bureau to rectify his unemployment.
The CLB is one of the most powerful and requisite institutions in the country. Composed of five branches, the Bureau ensures that the economy never runs off its predesignated course. Each branch works closely with the others, overlapping in particular jurisdictions. The highly integrated and goal-oriented nature of the whole Bureau is a work of brilliance, an example to any other bureaucracy.
Branches of the Conglomerate Labor Bureau:
- Office of Occupation: Distributes job certificates to citizens either purposefully or upon request. Provides an information network for employers and labor, ensuring near-perfect communication in the job market. Predicts, locates and fixes areas of structural unemployment, often before they manifest.
- Office of Information: Standardizes education for every field, including finance, construction, transportation, general education, etc. Retrains citizens when they are required for work in another field. Collects information for the job market.
- Office of Wealth: Central branch of the CLB. Manages the flow of money in the economy, ensuring that income is distributed as equitably as possible and that no money is left unaccounted for. This branch works very closely with the Maya Department of the Treasury, almost more than it works with other parts of the Bureau.
- Office of Supply: Manages the allocation of resources in the Maya economy. For example, if less cars are being produced over a given period of time, it ensures that those unused resources are immediately routed to weapons development.
- Office of Want: Something like a central agency for all Maya corporations. Ensures a near-perfect flow of information on goods and services so that nothing is overproduced or underproduced.
Essentially the Maya economy is the model example of a planned economy. Were it not for the unbelievable resource access of the Romans, and the incredible general efficiency of the Japanese, the Maya would undoubtedly have the highest amount of economic activity per person.
Income and Human Development
Although the Conglomerate doesn't have anywhere near one of the highest per capita incomes, it has the lowest income disparity of any nation on the planet. Maya law has clearly defined rules for the income which any citizen is allowed to have, though the laws do not protect non-Maya or non-Mexicans. Anyone with a job that falls into "Labor" must be paid 1200 Dn ($60,000) over the course of one year, with bonuses being allowed to be allocated for special achievements. People who fall into this range are farmers, construction and manufacturing workers, miners, drivers, garbagemen, nurses, soldiers, bankers, journalists, hospitality workers, cleaning workers, various attendants, and several other similar jobs. Oddly enough, many of these jobs require a good deal of education on the part of the employees. The reason they are classed as laborers is that they perform a job that is considered in Maya society as a "service" meant to satisfy the utility of the population and keep society going. They are necessary jobs that aren't considered as stimulating to the mind, these are for the "Educated".
People with jobs that fall into "Educated" are usually paid between 1400 and 2000 Dn, depending on their position. Usually, someone just starting out in this sector will even be paid around 1300 Dn. The number of people in this sector is far smaller than that of Labor, which is about 60% of the population in Labor, and almost 15% in Educated jobs. Examples of these kinds of jobs are lawyers, doctors, architects, teachers, professors, researchers, accountants, among others. Another 5% or so constitutes administrative government workers, including high ranking military personnel (Generals), heads of major economic institutions, and members of the legislative, executive and judicial systems of the government. Most of these people are not given an actual salary, instead the government pays for any of their expenses directly, essentially giving them incomes limited only by the size of the state's treasury. There are limitations on their ability to spend money, but these aren't particularly restrictive and can even be circumvented by decree of the King. This is all in order to keep with the law stating that no citizen's income can be outside of 1000 to 2100 Dn or so.
The last sector are the non-citizens, these constitute about 20% of the Conglomerate's population, and are widely considered second class citizens. Nevertheless they do have protected rights and are not mistreated to such an extent as to incite revolution. They do however tend to get some of the more menial jobs such as those in factories, mines, farms and clean up. This is justified by many by saying that they (the old Native Columbians mostly) had "worked the land" for centuries, and could now continue to "work it" into the future. Their incomes usually range between 600 to 1000 Dn or so.
Given the incredibly low unemployment rates in the country, as well as the fixed rates of income, there is virtually no poverty within the Conglomerate. Even the natives, who are given comparatively low incomes, still make more than $30,000 a year and can easily survive off of their incomes. Prices within the Conglomerate are usually very low, even when compared to Rome and Japan, and that seemingly low amount of money suffices in almost all cases. The nation still has a welfare program which provides an income of 1000 Dn per year to the few unemployed people in society, as well as a 600 Dn benefit to anyone, even non-citizens, who are fired or quit their job, something which must be paid back with no additional interest within the next two years. This ensures that people have even more incentive to find a job as quickly as possible, as failing to pay this back results in incarceration and punishment.
Science & Technology
The Maya Conglomerate is the third most technologically advanced country, with its scientists seen with the same degree of prestige. Only Roman and Japanese engineers produce more impressive devices and only Inca and Roman doctors are more skilled in their field than their Maya counterparts. However, the material engineers and chemists of the Conglomerate are universally recognized for being number one. Their knowledge of reactions; particle energetics and kinetics; bond theory and the elemental properties cannot be matched anywhere else in the world - even Rome goes to the Maya for material technology. They have been adepts in chemistry since the 5th century when a Maya philosopher discovered gunpowder, toothpaste, cement and other compounds.
What gives the Maya their incredible skill with chemicals are their numerous, effective models and equations for describing bonding and electrostatic properties of atoms, along with impressive tables of deduced general facts about materials on a macroscopic scale in their possession for centuries. Standard procedure is to choose an intended function for a material then leave figuring out what elements in what configuration produce it to the theoretical chemists. Such diverse substances as room-temperature superconductors, carbon nanotubes, negative-refracting metamaterials and low-density high tensile silk were created by Maya scientists.
While scientific communities do not interact much on an international level, the Maya still developed equivalents to certain Roman and Japanese systems. The Net, a series of fiber optic cables running over the entire country a and colonies, was the second global area network for computers and is still second largest in terms of bandwidth and user base. Run by a committee of the socialist government, the network is specialized to provide services such as encyclopedias of data, public information on government affairs, public service announcements, and facilitating private communication by free HQ video calling. While not the beacon of entrepeneurial freedom that is the Roman Cratis, the Net provides great practical benefits to the Maya people.
Personal transport is the central medium of expressing freedom in the Conglomerate due to the range of options and customizability of private vehicles - boats, automobiles and aircraft. Numerous brands are manufactured by the federal government giving real variety of vehicles through a recognized illusion of choosing brands. Even the moderately well-off can afford a customized car and with some concessions in other areas, a custom boat. The degree of customization covers engine, wheels, rims, windows, body shape, fuel capacity, paint job and onboard systems including GPS, voice command, translators, telephone or Net access.
Cities are publically serviced by shuttle vehicles without use of underground or light rail networks. Shuttle travel is free, government funded, and encompasses most widely travelled parts of cities. Long-distances can be travelled on maglev trains connecting every Maya and Mexican capital city. Thus, theoretically, any citizen can leave their house and arrive almost anywhere in the country without spending a cacao. Visible non-citizens; people that are clearly not ethnically Maya or Mexican, are not allowed by common law to board public transport. This is enforced by the other passengers who would likely throw out the 'offender' or, if they're lucky, look on them with disdain for violating a long-standing custom.
Journeys overseas can be made along predestined sea lanes on ferries. These cost the equivalent of 5 Dn for a trip to the Hawai'an Islands in simple quarters to 90 Dn for a suite going to Indonesia. Some of these networks stretch into other countries with which the federal government has border agreements. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see foreigners on Conglomerate ferries. While Romans are typically permitted on free public transit once on mainland, Japanese tourists tend to be mistaken for Mongols and kicked out by the other commuters.
Air transit is favored by citizens for intercontinental and international travel. Only four public airports have been built in the Conglomerate: near Teotihuacan, near Chumach, near Pakalan and a hundred km from Okarum in Africa. Most air travel is done on small private aircraft between privately owned airports. Nevertheless, the few public airports are massive, the Quich'en International Airport near Teotihuacan being the largest in the world.
The population of the Maya Conglomerate is projected by the Conglomerate Census Bureau to be 1,581,630,000, only 80% of which have full Maya or Mexican citizenship. Although it is the third most populous nation in the world, after Rome and Mongolia, its growth has been incredibly stagnant over the past few decades, largely due to encouragement by the government to prevent overpopulation. The most significant of these efforts is the two-children rule in effect in all Tribal States, alongside government propaganda to have smaller families in those states. Therefore, the national fertility rate is 4.1 babies per woman, but it is only 2.2 babies per woman in the Tribal States, below a replacement rate of 2.3.
The overall population growth rate of the Conglomerate is 1.8%, far lower than most of its economic rivals other than Japan. On the other hand, within the Tribal States the growth rate is -0.1%, granting them a gradual decline in their population, begun only a decade ago. Within these values, natural growth is about 28,000,000 people per year through the birth/death ratio. Therefore, net migration rate is 400,000 people per year.
The largest ethnic denomination by far in the Conglomerate is Maya, their numbers constituting about 72% of the total population. Various Mexican denominations make up another 8%, with the largest individual of these denominations being Zapotecan. This surprisingly slow integration is largely due to very low amounts of interbreeding between Maya and any other ethnic groups, largely stemming from several laws and extreme racial prejudice. Nevertheless, the Mexicans are generally and legally viewed as being equal to the Maya, so this racism mostly just extends to the so-called "Tribals". As can be inferred from these numbers, only Maya and Mexicans have citizenship in the Conglomerate, and laws state that it is impossible for anyone of another ethnic denomination to be made a citizen. There have however been cases of foreigners being given honorary citizenship due to their contribution to the Maya nation, the most notable of these people is Roman emperor Alexander XIV for his many efforts to reconcile the Romans and the Maya, particularly in his signing of the Treaty of Teotihuacan.
About 73% percent of the Conglomerate's population live in cities or outlying urban areas, or in other words, any town with a population of over 50,000 people. Maya cities are something of a combination of Roman and Japanese cities in form, though perhaps more similar to the Romans. Nearly all major cities, those with over one million people, have their own city walls, nevertheless, buildings are built directly against most city walls, creating areas very similar to OTL suburbs. Currently about 1012 cities have populations over 100,000, all of which are State capitals, out of which only four are capitals of Tribal States, and 16 are colonial cities. Out of these, 45 cities have more than one million people in their metropolitan area and about 13 are classified as global cities, having populations over two million. By convention, nearly the entire urban population of a state is concentrated within the state capital, whilst the rest of the population live in small villages or farming towns outside of the cities.
- Total Population: 1.58 billion inhabitants
- Mainland Population: 1.3 billion inhabitants
- Colonial Population: 280 million inhabitants
- Citizenship: 1.26 billion Citizens
- Citizenship Percentage: 80%
- Percentage of World Population: 13.6%
- Population Density: 109.8 inhb/km2
- Urbanization: 73%
The Conglomerate's life expectancy of 93.2 years is about two years less than Rome, one less than Japan, and dozens of years shorter than the Inca Empire. Although the actual value of its life expectancy has still been increasing with technology, its rank has fallen over the years, with the nation now standing at 4th highest. The Romans passed them in the 60's, shortly after their discovery of a cure for cancer, and the Japanese passed them in the 90's after they entered a trade deal with the Inca for medical goods. It is therefore unsurprising that its fall in ranking is largely due to technology, though several other factors do persist.
Within the Big Five (Rome, Maya, Japan, Mongolia, Inca), the Maya have the second lowest obesity rate, ahead of the Japanese. With no permanent cure for diabetes, only active cures, this is also problematic for some. Still only about 8% of the population is considered by OTL standards to be obese, and by those same standards, an additional 10% would be considered overweight. By Maya standards, which are the lowest in the world, about one third of the population is overweight.
Unlike the Romans, Inca, Japanese and many other cultures, the Maya frown upon adolescent pregnancy, and the culturally accepted age of conception begins at around 21 years of age. The Conglomerate is therefore one of the only nations in the world with elaborate laws relating to conception, with limits being placed on where and when it can occur, and under what circumstances. Nevertheless, if "illegal conception occurs, a penalty is only placed on the family and the baby's life is not put into question. Abortion is however legal, something rather rare for a country, but can only be performed by a certified medical priest, who will then perform the proper ceremony.
Health care within the Conglomerate is the second most impressive in the world, after only the Inca. It is one of the few examples of universal health cares, in which every single medical related problem is paid fully by the government. Things such as eye and ear improving equipment (such as glasses or aids) are provided in a standard format by the government, any improved or personalized versions would have to be paid for by the individual. This is merely one of the many examples for which the government either subsidies or provides for goods and services through its planned economy.
- Life Expectancy: 93.2 years
- By Gender
- Men: 90 years
- Women: 97 years
- By Class
- Magistrate: 115 years
- Priest: 122 years
- Artisan: 94 years
- Laborer: 92 years
- Tribal: 84 years
- Slave: 71 years
- By Gender
- Infant Mortality Rate: 2.1 per thousand births
- Fertility Rate: 4.1 babies per woman
The Maya Conglomerate is officially a technocratic monarchy with a religious oligarchy. Many of the most important members of society, similar to the Roman Patricians, are members of the Ahau clergy. They are overseers within many important areas of government, as well as in business, medicine and science. Essentially the nation's government is highly influenced by religion, particularly, the worship of the Maya god Kinich Ahau. Surveys taken by the Conglomerate Census Bureau indicate that nearly 91% of Maya and Mexicans consider religion to be an important part of their lives. In the past century or two, foreign religions have begun to take a far stronger hold on the Maya people, with about 140 million Maya or Mexicans professing to be part of a non-Maya religion (i.e. not Ahauism or Yucatecan). Furthermore, the end of the First World War saw the emergence of break-away sects within the main religion that rejected the need for clergy or a religious institution, these "Liberal Ahauists" are no longer persecuted by the government, due to foreign pressure, and their numbers have been growing in recent years. Currently, only about one million people in the Conglomerate identify with no particular religion, though most of these are non-citizens.
- Ahauism: 1,098,000,000 people (69.5%)
- State Ahauism: 932,000,000 people (59%)
- Liberal Ahauism: 166,000,000 people (10.5%)
- Animism: 294,000,000 people (18.7%)
- Yucatecan: 82,100,000 people (5.2%)
- Christianity: 50,500,000 people (3.2%)
- Shintoism: 33,000,000 people (2%)
- Andeism: 14,200,000 people (0.9%)
- Judaism: 6,300,000 people (0.4%)
- Islam: 1,100,000 people (0.07%)
- Atheism: 1,000,000 people (0.07%)
The Maya Conglomerate is a unique multicultural nation in that there are thousands of small cultures orbiting one central culture. Virtually all of these smaller ones are traditional Native Columbian, such as the various Sioux or Apache cultures, though a few also originate from the Pacific Islanders in the Maya Colonies. Nahua culture has dominated for more than 1300 years ever since it replaced the previously reigning Yucatecan culture. Surprisingly, this was a marginally foreign culture, carried down by a large group of people from Northern Mexica. By chance, a reigning Ajaw of the Maya, Kab Ajaw Ch'anqua II, had been born of a concubine from these people and he spent most of his reign popularizing their practices and their language, Nahuatl. This ended a stand-off between Nahua and Yucatecan cultures during the 580's and 590's, obviously in the Nahua favor.
One interesting aspect of this cultural shift was the changing way in which Conglomerate citizens began to look at themselves and each other. For instance, Mexica States became more of an honorary name as the line between Maya and Mexican slowly blurred. While previously Mexican States were slowly converted into Maya ones through advancement of infrastructure, it was eventually decided to "freeze" the Mexican States as they were. With a few more changes they became the 100 States that exist now. Nevertheless, Mexican culture is very Maya and the Mexican ethnicity is very close to contemporary Maya.
Most citizens refer to themselves not as Maya or Mexica, but instead identify as Nahuatlaca, Nahua People or "those who speak clearly". Foreigners and tribals are all referred to as Popolua or "those who speak unintelligibly", not unlike the Greek terminology of barbarians. Even when they have learned the language, a foreigner can rarely be "culturally" accepted as most Nahua can recognize a non-fluent speaker. In this way, the language of Nahuatl acts as a barrier to integrating foreigners.
The Nahuatl film industry is second largest in the world, after the Latin film industry, with more than 300 films made annually. Although dubbed foreign films saw a surge from the 1950's to 70's, recent government subsidies have brought local studios back to the forefront. Unlike Rome, where movies (imavios) are a big part of the culture and film is truly industrial, Maya films place more importance on innovation and directorial creativity over epic narrative and high-budget effects. They're typically far lower budget and employ extremely varied themes. For instance, one popular film of the 1870's was a six hour clip of the square in front of the Ahau Tower, up until after sunset. Another made in 1911, described at the time as "the best political thriller in cinema history", captured the story of the Maya delegates during the Peace Treaty after the Great War, focusing on the personal turmoil of those important figures. These provide a good example of the variety in Nahua cinema.
Maya music on the other hand was something which never truly entered the commercial field, and was historically almost always a public, or very private, activity. Most musical displays occur either in large stadiums, to commemorate certain events, or as parading processions that go through the city streets on public occasions. Popular instruments include the Chirimía (an oboe), Tepuzquiquiztli (a trumpet) and especially the Ayotl (a turtle...shell). Nearly all Maya play at least one instrument, usually a local one, and its a cultural thing that people who don't are usually stereotyped as being lazy or uncreative.
While foreign sports are somewhat popular in the Conglomerate, the favorite local sport of the people is without a doubt Ullamaliztli. Developed from an old Mayan ballgame, Ullamaliztli is as similarly dangerous as its predecessor. The rules are somewhat thin and do not discourage violent tackles, tripping, or even head-butting the opponent during a game. The only act of violence which is prohibited is fist-fighting, as the hands are viewed as playing no part in this highly complex sport.
Although their are official standards, a ballcourt only needs to be eight times longer than it is wide for an interesting and acceptable game of Ullama to be played. Points are primarily scored by bouncing the ball, a 1.5 kg rubber object, off the wall on the opponent's side. A typical team numbers at about 18 players, further encouraging physical violence as a valid tactic for getting past your opponent. A normal play in Ullama involves twelve players charging the other team, knocking the players as they advance, while the other six run down the court passing the ball back and forth as they close in on the opposing wall. Only two points are awarded for the success of their efforts. Another way to score, though this is much rarer, is to get the ball into a horizontally facing hoop raised three meters above the ground. If a team can successfully pull this kind of play, they are rewarded with 20 points.
There is only one way to win the game, and that is to have a total of 36 points at any one time. The catch is that things like, touching the ball with your hands, or leaving it on the ground for more than three seconds results in loses of three and one point respectively. Despite how professional most Ullamaliztli players are, these kinds of things happen and so a typical professional match can last somewhere around four hours. Some however have actually been known to go on for days even, notably the 1935 finals between Halorium and Teotihuacan, which didn't end for 49 hours and resulted in the deaths of two players. Serious injuries are actually a major part of the game, and its rare for a match to end without at least one player ending up in the hospital. For this reason, professional Ullamaliztli teams usually have a total team size of about 50-60, despite the fact that only 18 will be on the field at any given time.
Recreational matches, while obviously a lot less competitive, still have their fair share of violence. This is especially the case in a number of variants of the game, such as one where sticks are used to move the ball around rather than legs. This obviously means that sticks are also allowed to be used to push off other players and so many of these kind of matches simply devolve into a stick fight, to the great enjoyment of whomever is watching. The worst variant is the annual game at the Festival of Ahau where two teams of thirty slaves each are pitted against each other with the added bonus of knives. The winning team gains their freedom, while, prior to the banning of human sacrifice, the losing team was sacrificed.