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Maya Empire 
for Kids

Nobody knows where they came from, but about 2,400 years ago, a new tribe appeared in Central America. They settled in the rainforests of the Yucatan Peninsula. They were very clever people. They set about making cities in the rainforest, many beautiful cities. They did not use metal tools. They built huge cities using stone tools and wood tools, and tools made from shells. Before very long, the Maya had built hundreds of cities. The cities were connected with well built roads that run through the rainforests and jungles on the Yucatan Peninsula.

For about 1,300 years, the Maya made their home in Central America. Every city had a ball court, temples, and a central plaza. Each city was a center of learning and religion. 

Around 900 CE, the Maya cities were deserted. Some people remained, and their descendants still live in Central America today. But most of the people left. They either moved somewhere or ... nobody knows. Without anyone to take care of them, the great Maya cities fell into ruin. That's why the Maya are called "the mysterious Maya" - nobody knows where they came from, and nobody knows where they went. It is a history mystery.

Archaeologists are very curious about these ancient people. Although they know there are ruins of many Maya cities hidden in the jungle, and suspect there may be more cities yet to be discovered, it's difficult (and dangerous) to look for them. But that has not stopped archaeologists from trying.  

The Maya Mystery (winner, thinkquest) 

Why did the Maya disappear?

Around 900 CE, the Mayas left their cities and disappeared

Mayas for Kids


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Written by Lin Donn
Clip Art Credit: Phillip Martin
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