A long time ago, around 2500 BCE, an
ancient tribe of Central American Indians called the Olmecs settled in
the rainforests of the Yucatan Peninsula of Central America.
About two thousand years later, around
400 BCE, a new people suddenly appeared. These people were called the
Maya. No one knows where they came from, but they arrived with amazing
skills. They were an advanced civilization. They soon took over the
Yucatan Peninsula of Central America.
The Maya were very clever people. Their
system of mathematics was among the most sophisticated in the ancient
Like the ancient Romans, the Mayas were
Unlike the ancient Romans, the ancient
Mayas did not have metal tools. Their tools were made of stone, bone,
and wood. Yet they built beautiful structures, huge cities, and
excellent roads - roads that connected the many hundreds of cities that
made up the Maya world.
Around 900 CE, the Maya cities were
abandoned. A few people continued to live in the cities, but mostly, the
cities were empty. The people had, for the most part, disappeared, gone
somewhere else. Those who remained were unable or unwilling to
repair the magnificent roads and buildings. The great Maya cities fell
To this day, nobody knows where the Maya
people came from before they arrived in the Yucatan Peninsula, and
nobody knows why they left or where they went when most of the Maya
people abandoned their cities and disappeared from the Yucatan
Peninsula. That's why the Maya are sometimes referred to as "the
During the 1500 years or so that the Maya
Indians made their home in Central America, they build hundreds of
religious centers, each filled with huge pyramids and elaborate
temples. There was at least one ball court in every city. Excellent
roads ran for miles through the jungles and swamps, linking these
centers of religion and learning.
remain very curious about these ancient people. Archaeologists face many dangers to hunt
for the ruins of the ancient Maya cities hidden deep in the
jungles of Central America.
There are not many, but there are some Maya people still living in
Central America, descendants of the ancient Mayas who
remained behind in the nearly deserted cities. Still today, their
crafts are amongst the most beautiful in the world.
Maya Mystery (winner, thinkquest)
did the Maya disappear?
Around 900 CE, the
Mayas left their cities and disappeared