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The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems
2000 BC - Establishment of the Mayan civilization. Birth of Qhich'en Ch'onle Mayapan, the man who would unite the Mayan people. Qhich'en accidentally discovers gunpowder through his experiments. Invention of the Mayan wheel by Quich'en, followed by its implementation by the head of his city-state. Quich'en is hailed as being a vessel for the thoughts of the Gods and so is placed upon the seat of power in his nation. Through his divine image, over 40 of the largest Mayan city-states join the newly named city of Mayapan, under Emperor Mayapan I. Through his divine image, over 40 of the largest Mayan city-states join the newly named city of Mayapan, under Emperor Mayapan I. Death of Mayan emperor Mayapan I, after having conquered nearly all of Mesoamerica. Founding of the city of Chichen Itza by the Mayan Empire.Creation of the first Mayan bomb, a simple hand thrown weapon filled with flint. Death of King Pakal II who had the longest rule of any Mayan monarch. Mayan emperor Ch'anqua II makes his native language, Nahuatl, the main language of the empire, forcing its learning upon the populace Nahua influence becomes dominant culture in the Mayan Empire. King Pakal II (Pacal the Great) ascends to the Mayan throne, causing a second age of Mayan expansion. Mayan engineers discover how to cast metals and then forge them into various shapes. Mayan expansion halts at the Isthmus of Pakal (Isthmus of Panama) after all advance scouting parties fail to return from the Amazon.
Shortly after their first expeditions to the region, the Maya initiated a number of attempts to subjugate the native islanders and establish a colonial presence in the Caribbean, Yucatán Peninsula and the Guatemalan highlands. This campaign, sometimes termed "The Spanish Conquest of Yucatán," would prove to be a lengthy and dangerous exercise for the conquistadores from the outset, and it would take some 170 years before the Maya established substantive control over all lands.
Like the Aztec and Inca Empires later, there was a single Maya political center that, once overthrown, would hasten the of collective resistance from the indigenous peoples. Instead, the conquistador forces needed to subdue the numerous independent Maya polities almost one by one, many of which kept up a fierce resistance. Most of the conquistadores were motivated by the prospects of the great wealth to be had from the seizure of precious metal resources such as gold or silver. However, the Maya lands themselves were poor in these resources. This would become another factor in forestalling Maya designs of conquest, as they instead were initially attracted to the reports of great riches in central Mexico or Peru.
Like the Aztec and Inca who came to power later, the Maya believed in a cyclical nature of time. The rituals and ceremonies were very closely associated with celestial and terrestrial cycles which they observed and inscribed as separate calendars. The Maya priest had the job of interpreting these cycles and giving a prophetic outlook on the future or past based on the number relations of all their calendars. They also had to determine if the "heavens" or celestial matters were appropriate for performing certain religious ceremonies. The Maya practiced human sacrifice. In some Maya rituals people were killed by having their arms and legs held while a priest cut the person's chest open and tore out his heart as an offering. This is depicted on ancient objects such as pictorial texts, known as codices. It is believed that children were often offered as sacrificial victims because they were believed to be pure.
Much of the Maya religious tradition is still not understood by scholars, but it is known that the Maya, like most pre-modern societies, believed that the cosmos has three major planes, the underworld, the sky, and the Earth. The Maya underworld is reached through caves and ball courts. It was thought to be dominated.by the aged Maya gods of death and putrefaction. The Sun (Kinich Ahau) and Itzamna, both aged gods, dominated the Maya idea of the sky. The night sky was considered a window showing all supernatural doings. The Maya configured constellations of gods and places, saw the unfolding of narratives in their seasonal movements, and believed that the intersection of all possible worlds was in the night sky.
Maya gods were not separate entities like Greek gods. The gods had affinities and aspects that caused them to merge with one another in ways that seem unbounded. There is a massive array of supernatural characters in the Maya religious tradition, only some of which recur with regularity. Good and evil traits are not permanent characteristics of Maya gods, nor is only "good" admirable. What is inappropriate during one season might come to pass in another since much of the Maya religious tradition is based on cycles and not permanence. The life-cycle of maize lies at the heart of Maya belief. This philosophy is demonstrated on the belief in the Maya maize god as a central religious figure. The Maya bodily ideal is also based on the form of this young deity, which is demonstrated in their artwork. The Maize God was also a model of courtly life for the Classical Maya.
It is sometimes believed[attribution needed] that the multiple "gods" represented nothing more than a mathematical explanation of what they observed. Each god was literally just a number or an explanation of the effects observed by a combination of numbers from multiple calendars. Among the many types of Maya calendars which were maintained, the most important included a 260-day cycle, a 365-day cycle which approximated the solar year, a cycle which recorded lunation periods of the Moon, and a cycle which tracked the synodic period of Venus.Philosophically, the Maya believed that knowing the past meant knowing the cyclical influences that create the present, and by knowing the influences of the present one can see the cyclical influences of the future.
Mayan emperor Palenk'ua III claims to have been given a revelation by the god Kinich Ahaw, saying that Ahaw is the only existing god, all the other deities being merely a "confusion" on the part of the priests, due to his great power.Beginning of a Holy War (1026-1083) towards the south in the name of the Mayan's one god, now referred to only as Ahau. The 61 Native tribes form a nomadic nation with over 200 other tribes, lead by a council of chiefs. This nation is known (in english) as the Great Chiefdom.