Maya Empire for Kids - Geography of the ancient Maya Civilization Illustration

Maya Empire for Kids
Geography of the Maya

The Maya Indians lived in Mesoamerica and spanned five modern day countries: Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. Scientists believe these people migrated from North America and set up a new homeland in the rainforests and jungles of Central America.

A series of waterways connected the Pacific Coast on the east to the Gulf of Mexico on the west. These early people probably used canoes to move goods from one city to another on these narrow waterways. There were no lakes or major rivers in this area. But it was wet. Water bubbled up from the ground all through the rainforest. There are many swamps and quicksand pits.

Most of Mesoamerica is covered by a dense rainforest, which along with the Pacific Ocean on the west, the Gulf of Mexico on the west, the many swamps and quicksand pits, provided a great many natural barriers to help protect the Maya people from invasion.

The climate is warm. The soil is fertile. In spite of the danger from the wildlife in the jungle and the threat of volcanic activity, the Maya settled down and built an impressive civilization in Mesoamerica, composed of hundreds of cities, connected by a network of roads that ran though the jungle. At one point, at the height of their civilization about 1,500 years ago, their population was probably around 5,000,000 (5 million) people.

The Geography of the Maya Empire

Maya Geography (great map and information)

The Amazon Rainforest, interactive

Changing Climate and Severe Drought Caused Changes in the Maya Empire