History of The Maya People
by members of this group, and today's Maya are generally descended from people who lived within that historical civilization.
Today they inhabit southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras. "Maya" is a modern collective term for the peoples of the region, however, the term was not historically used by the indigenous populations themselves. There was no common sense of identity or political unity among the distinct populations, societies and ethnic groups because they each had their own particular traditions, cultures and historical identity.
It is estimated that seven million Maya were living in this area at the start of the 21st century. Guatemala, southern Mexico and the Yucatán Peninsula, Belize, El Salvador and western Honduras have managed to maintain numerous remnants of their ancient cultural heritage. Some are quite integrated into the majority Hispanicized mestizo cultures of the nations in which they reside,
while others continue a more traditional, culturally distinct life, often speaking one of the Mayan languages as a primary language.
The largest populations of contemporary Maya inhabit Guatemala, Belize, and the western portions of El Savador and Honduras
One of the largest groups of Maya live in the Yucatan Peninsula, which includes the
Belize. These people identify themselves as "Maya" with no further ethnic subdivision (unlike in the Highlands of Western Guatemala). They speak the language which many anthropologists term "Yucatec Maya", but is identified by speakers and Yucatecos simply as "Maya". Among Maya speakers, Spanish is commonly spoken as a second or first language
There is a significant amount of confusion as to the correct terminology to use—Maya or Mayan—and the meaning of these words with reference to contemporary or pre-Columbian peoples, to Maya peoples in different parts of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and to languages or peoples.re destroyed they ceased to be called Maya; 11 Ahau was the name of the katun when the Maya men ceased to be called Maya [and] were called Christians."
Chilam Balam Chumaye
Linguists refer to the Maya language as Yucatec or Yucatec Maya to distinguish it from other Mayan languages. This norm has often been misinterpreted to mean that the people are also called Yucatec Maya; that term refers only to the language, and the correct name for the people is simply Maya (not Mayans). Maya is one language in the Mayan language family. Thus, to refer to Maya as Mayans would be similar to referring to Spanish people as Romantics because they speak a language belonging to the Romance language family. Confusion of the term Maya/Mayan as an ethnic label occurs because Maya women who use traditional dress identify by the ethnic term mestiza and not Maya. Persons use a strategy of ethnic identification that Juan Castillo Cocom refers to as "ethnoexodus"—meaning that ethnic self-identification as Maya is quite variable, situational, and articulated not to processes of producing group identity, but of escaping from discriminatory processes of sociocultural marginalization
The Yucatán's indigenous population was first exposed to Europeans after a party of Spanish shipwreck survivors came ashore in 1511. One of the sailors, Gonzalo Guerrero, is reported to have taken up with a local woman and started a family; he became a war captain in the Postclassic Mayan state of Chetumal. Later Spanish expeditions to the region were led by Córdoba in 1517, Grijalva in 1518, and Cortés in 1519. From 1528 to 1540, several attempts by Francisco Montejo to conquer the Yucatán failed. His son, Francisco de Montejo the Younger, fared almost as badly when he first took over: while invading Chichen Itza, he lost 150 men in a single day. European diseases, massive recruitment of native warriors from Campeche and Champoton, and internal hatred between the Xiu Maya and the lords of Cocom eventually turned the tide for Montejo the Younger. Chichen Itza was conquered by 1570. In 1542, the western Yucatán Peninsula also surrendered to him.
Historically, the population in the eastern half of the peninsula was less affected by and less integrated with Hispanic culture than the western half. In the 21st century in the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexican states of Campeche, Yucatán and Quintana Roo), between 750,000 and 1,200,000 people speak Mayan. However, three times more than that are of Maya origins, hold ancient Maya surnames, and do not speak Mayan languages as their first language. Matthew Restall, in his book The Maya Conquistador, mentions a series of letters sent to the King of Spain in the 16th and 17th centuries. The noble Maya families at that time signed documents to the Spanish Royal Family; surnames mentioned in those letters are Pech, Camal, Xiu, Ucan, Canul, Cocom, and Tun, among others.
A large 19th-century revolt by the native Maya people of Yucatán (Mexico), known as the Caste War of Yucatán, was one of the most successful modern Native American revolts. For a period the Maya state of Chan Santa Cruz was recognized as an independent nation by the British Empire, particularly in terms of trading with British Honduras.
born in Mérida, Yucatán, and he was a doctor of medicine, then a professor of medicine before his
political offices. He was first appointed as overseer of the state's rural medical system. He was the first
governor of the modern Yucatán Peninsula to be of full Maya ancestry. In the early 21st century, dozens
of politicians, including deputies, mayors and senators, are of full or mixed Maya heritage from the
Yucatán Peninsula.According to the National Institute of Geography and Informatics (Mexico's INEGI),
in Yucatán State there were 1.2 million Mayan speakers in 2009, representing 59.5% of the inhabitants.
Due to this, the cultural section of the government of Yucatán began on-line classes for grammar and
proper pronunciation of Maya.
Francisco Luna-Kan was elected governor of the state of Yucatán from 1976 to 1982. Luna-Kan was born in Mérida, Yucatán, and he was a doctor of medicine, then a professor of medicine before his political offices. He was first appointed as overseer of the state's rural medical system. He was the first governor of the modern Yucatán Peninsula to be of full Maya ancestry. In the early 21st century, dozens of politicians, including deputies, mayors and senators, are of full or mixed Maya heritage from the Yucatán Peninsula.
According to the National Institute of Geography and Informatics (Mexico's INEGI), in Yucatán State there were 1.2 million Mayan speakers in 2009, representing 59.5% of the inhabitants. Due to this, the cultural section of the government of Yucatán began on-line classes for grammar and proper pronunciation of Maya.
Maya people from Yucatán Peninsula living in the United States of America have been organizing Maya language lessons and Maya cooking classes since 2003 in California and other states: clubs of Yucatec Maya are registered in Dallas and Irving, Texas; Salt Lake City in Utah; Las Vegas, Nevada; and California, with groups in San Francisco, San Rafael, Chino, Pasadena, Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Inglewood, Los Angeles, Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, San Fernando Valley and Whittier. Maya language is taught at the college and graduate level; beginning, intermediate, and advanced courses in Maya have been taught at Indiana University since 2010. The Open School of Ethnography and Anthropology offers immersion Maya courses in a six week intensive summer program
The Mayan civilization existed for more than 3500 years! Scholars, always seeking to put order in the past, have divided their time into
three (3) periods:
Pre-Classic: 2000 BC- 250 AD
Classic: 250 - 900 AD
Postclassic: 900 - 1542 AD
It was during the Classic period that the Mayans flourished.