'N Antieke Maya -stad wat deur 'n God gestig is en oorwin is deur 'n doodsbedrogspot

'N Antieke Maya -stad wat deur 'n God gestig is en oorwin is deur 'n doodsbedrogspot


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Mayapan is 'n Maya -plek in die moderne Mexikaanse deelstaat Yucatan, ongeveer 55 km (34 myl) suidoos van Merida, die hoofstad van die staat. Hierdie rekonstruksie van die geskiedenis van die webwerf stel geleerdes 'n uitdaging in, aangesien die verskillende geskrewe bronne wat daarna verwys, mekaar dikwels weerspreek. As gevolg hiervan is slegs 'n gedeeltelike rekonstruksie van die geskiedenis van Mayapan bereik. Tog kan die argeologiese bewyse die aansprake van hierdie bronne verifieer.

Gestig deur God of die mens?

Die naam Mayapan kan letterlik vertaal word as 'Vlag / banier van die Mayas', en was ook bekend as Zaclactun, wat 'plek kan beteken waar wit erdewerk gemaak is' of 'wit grot'. Volgens die plaaslike legende is Mayapan gestig deur Kukulcan, die Maya -slanggod, na die agteruitgang van Chichen Itza (ongeveer 100 km oos van die stad) rondom die middel van die 13 ste eeu.

Kukulcan self is 'n ietwat problematiese figuur, aangesien dit die naam was van sowel 'n Maya -god as van 'n sterflike heerser, en die onderskeid tussen die twee was vervaag. Sommige argeoloë is egter van mening dat Mayapan omstreeks 1000 nC gestig is en 'n bondgenootskap was, bekend as die League of Mayapan, met die magtige stede Uxmal en Chichen Itza.

Kukulkan as 'n slanggod aan die voet van die westelike gesig van die noordelike trap van El Castillo, Chichen Itza (CC by 2.0)

Stad aangeval deur doodsvonnis Survivor

Mayapan floreer gedurende die laat postklassiese periode, dit wil sê tussen die 13 ste en 15 ste eeue nC. Dit was 'n tyd toe die Maya -beskawing aan die agteruitgaan was, en Mayapan dien as 'n belangrike politieke en kulturele sentrum wat 'n sterk invloed op ander, kleiner Maya -stadstate uitgeoefen het. Dit is aangeteken in die geskrewe bronne wat teen die einde van die 12 ste eeu, is Hunak Ke'el, 'n boorling van Telchaquillo wat die Cocom -dinastie gestig het, deur die inwoners van Chichen Itza gevange geneem en in 'n cenote gegooi as 'n offergawe aan die gode. Hunak Ke’el het hierdie beproewing egter oorleef en oorlog teen die stad verklaar. Chichen Itza val omstreeks 1224 na Hunak Ke’el.

Hunak Ke'el en die Cocom -dinastie is belangrike figure in die geskiedenis van Mayapan, aangesien hulle die stad regeer het tot in die tweede helfte van die 15 ste eeu. Die bronne is egter in stryd met mekaar oor hierdie regerende familie. Sommige het byvoorbeeld gesê dat Mayapan gestig is deur Hunak Ke'el tydens sy oorlog met Chichen Itza, terwyl ander meen dat die Cocom -dinastie gedurende die laaste helfte van die 13 die stad begin regeer het ste eeu, na die dood van Kukulcan.

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Mayapan (CC by SA 3.0)

Die hoofstad van 'n kragtige dinastie

Mayapan was die hoofstad van die Cocom -dinastie, en dit was uit hierdie stad dat die dinastie meer as twee eeue lank vanaf die 13de eeu die noordelike deel van die Yucatan -skiereiland oorheers het ste tot die 15 ste eeue nC. Die Cocom -dinastie het iewers tussen 1440 en 1460 nC tot 'n einde gekom. Opstande teen hul heerskappy gedurende hierdie tyd het gelei tot die nederlaag van die Cocoms deur die Xiu, nog 'n adellike familie van Maya. Lede van die Cocom is deur die Xiu geslag, en Mayapan is verlaat nadat dit vernietig is. Daar word beweer dat 'n epidemie wat die gebied geteister het, ook tot die val van die stad bygedra het.

Die Mayapan -ruïnes (Graeme Churchard / flickr)

Vandag word die Mayapan -ruïnes ondersoek deur argeoloë, 'n onderneming wat reeds in die laat 1930's begin het, en werk op die terrein duur tot vandag toe. Daar is berig dat soveel as 4000 strukture in die stad geïdentifiseer is, hoewel nog nie almal opgegrawe is nie.

Een van die argitektoniese hoogtepunte van die terrein is die piramide wat die sentrale plein van die stad oorheers. Argeoloë noem hierdie struktuur 'Struktuur Q162', hoewel dit in die volksmond bekend staan ​​as die tempel / kasteel van Kukulkan. Die piramide het 'n opvallende ooreenkoms met die piramide in Chichen Itza, hoewel die een in Mayapan op kleiner skaal gebou is.

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Die Mayapan -piramide (Arian Zwegers / flickr)

Daar is ook sirkelvormige torings, bekend as 'observatories', wat moontlik vir astronomiese doeleindes gebruik is, of as tempels vir die Maya -windgod. Daarbenewens is daar 26 cenote rondom die stad, wat water aan die mense van Mayapan verskaf. Woongebiede het dus rondom hierdie sinkgate grootgeword sodat daar maklik water verkry kon word.


Spaanse verowering van die Maya's

Die Spaanse verowering van die Maya's was 'n uitgerekte konflik tydens die Spaanse kolonisasie van die Amerikas, waarin die Spaanse conquistadores en hul bondgenote het geleidelik die gebied van die laat -postklassiese Maya -state en -state opgeneem in die koloniale onderkoning van Nieu -Spanje. Die Maya het 'n gebied beset wat nou opgeneem is in die moderne lande Mexiko, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras en El Salvador, die verowering het vroeg in die 16de eeu begin en word algemeen beskou as in 1697 geëindig.

Voor die verowering bevat die Maya -gebied 'n aantal mededingende koninkryke. Baie conquistadors het die Maya's beskou as ongelowiges wat ondanks die prestasies van hul beskawing kragtig moes bekeer en gepas word. [2] Die eerste kontak tussen die Maya en Europese ontdekkingsreisigers het plaasgevind in 1502, tydens die vierde reis van Christopher Columbus, toe sy broer Bartholomew 'n kano teëkom. Verskeie Spaanse ekspedisies het in 1517 en 1519 gevolg, wat op verskeie dele van die Yucatán -kus geland het. Die Spaanse verowering van die Maya was 'n langdurige aangeleentheid, die Maya -koninkryke het die integrasie in die Spaanse Ryk met so 'n volharding weerstaan ​​dat hul nederlaag byna twee eeue geduur het. [3] Die Itza Maya en ander laaglandgroepe in die Petén -bekken is eers in 1525 deur Hernán Cortés gekontak, maar bly onafhanklik en vyandig teenoor die indringende Spaans tot 1697, toe 'n gesamentlike Spaanse aanval onder leiding van Martín de Urzúa y Arizmendi uiteindelik die laaste onafhanklike Maya -koninkryk.

Die verowering van die Maya's word belemmer deur hul polities gefragmenteerde toestand. Spaanse en inheemse taktiek en tegnologie het baie verskil. Die Spanjaarde was besig met 'n strategie om inheemse bevolkings te konsentreer in nuutgestigte koloniale dorpe; hulle beskou die neem van gevangenes as 'n belemmering vir volstrekte oorwinning, terwyl die Maya's die vang van lewende gevangenes en buit voorop stel. Onder die Maya's was hinderlaag 'n gunstige taktiek in reaksie op die gebruik van die Spaanse kavalerie, terwyl die Maya op die hoogland die putte grawe en dit met houtpale beklee. Inheemse weerstand teen die nuwe kerne -nedersettings het die vorm aanneem van die vlug na ontoeganklike streke soos die bos of by aangrensende Maya -groepe wat nog nie aan die Europese veroweraars onderwerp het nie. Spaanse wapens het breëwoorde, verkragters, lansies, snoeke, halbers, kruisboë, vuurhoutjies en ligte artillerie ingesluit. Maya-krygers veg met spiese met vuurpunte, boë en pyle, klippe en hout swaarde met ingeboude obsidiaanse lemme, en het gewatteerde katoenen pantser gedra om hulself te beskerm. Die Maya's het nie die belangrikste elemente van die Ou Wêreld -tegnologie ontbreek nie, soos 'n funksionele wiel, perde, yster, staal en kruit wat ook uiters vatbaar was vir siektes uit die ou wêreld, waarteen hulle geen weerstand kon bied nie.


Weier

Die Maya's het stadig begin verdwyn in wat ons die Post Classic -periode noem. Die val van groot stede soos Tikal in Meso -Amerika begin aan die einde van die 8ste eeu nC

Die Maya's was gelukkig 'n obsessie met tyd en het belangrike datums in steenmonumente met die naam "Stelae" gekerf. Dit het gehelp om argeoloë 'n rowwe tydlyn van hul geskiedenis te gee. Stela 11, opgerig in 869 AD, is die laaste bekende gedateerde monument in Tikal.

Na die val van Tikal het ander Maya -stede gevolg. Die prominente stad Tonina, wat 'n groot gebied in Meso -Amerika oorheers het, het uiteindelik afgeneem en is laat vaar.

Hierdie afname is die einde van die klassieke periode van die Maya, en die begin van wat ons die post -klassieke periode noem, wat duur van 900 tot 1521 n.C.

In hierdie tydperk begin die Tolteke, Mixtecs en Asteke hul hoek in die geskiedenis, terwyl een van die laaste stede van die Maya gestig word. Mayapan is gestig in die noordelike deel van die Yucatan omstreeks 1200 nC, dit was die middelpunt van die Post Classic Maya. Uiteindelik instort in die laat 14de eeu n.C.

Die agteruitgang van die Maya's was versprei oor die streek en die tydlyn daarvan. Elke stadstaat het moontlik verskillende redes vir ineenstorting gehad. Die uiteindelike aankoms van die Spaanse het die Maya -beskawing in die verlede versterk, wat baie vrae onbeantwoord gelaat het.


Chichen Itza

Byvoorbeeld, by Chichen Itza is die beroemde piramide "El Castillo" gebou of verbeter op 'n bestaande piramide wat die Maya eeue tevore gebou het.

Argeoloë noem hierdie voormalige piramide die onderbou, en daar word gesê dat dit êrens omstreeks 600 nC gebou is. Honderde jare later, omstreeks 900 nC, voltooi die Maya die piramide ter ere van die god "Kukulkan", wat die Maya -weergawe van die Asteekse god is " Quetzalcoatl ”.

Die Piramide self is 'n kalender. Met 'n totale aantal 365 stappe, wat hul sonkalender "The Haab" verteenwoordig. Die tempel volg ook die lente- en herfs -equinoxes en is so perfek geplaas dat op hierdie twee dae driehoeke van lig die trap verlig om te lyk wat lyk soos 'n slang wat uit die lug deur die piramide kruip.


Babilon

Babilon is die bekendste stad uit die ou Mesopotamië, waarvan die ruïnes in die huidige Irak 94 kilometer suidwes van Bagdad geleë is. Die naam word vermoedelik ontleen aan bav-il of bav-ilim wat, in die destydse Akkadiese taal, beteken het 'Poort van God' of 'Poort van die gode' en 'Babilon' afkomstig uit Grieks.

Die stad het sy roem (of berugtheid) te danke aan die vele verwysings wat die Bybel na dit alles ongunstig maak. In die boek Genesis, hoofstuk 11, word Babilon in die verhaal van The Tower of Babel verskyn en die Hebreërs beweer dat die stad vernoem is na die verwarring wat ontstaan ​​het nadat God veroorsaak het dat die mense in verskillende tale begin praat het sodat hulle nie in staat sou wees nie om hulle groot toring na die hemel te voltooi (die Hebreeuse woord bavel beteken 'verwarring').

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Babilon verskyn ook prominent in onder meer die Bybelse boeke Daniël, Jeremia en Jesaja, en veral die boek Openbaring. Dit was hierdie Bybelse verwysings wat belangstelling in Mesopotamiese argeologie en die ekspedisie van die Duitse argeoloog Robert Koldewey gewek het wat die ruïnes van Babilon in 1899 vir die eerste keer opgegrawe het.

Buiten die sondige reputasie wat die Bybel dit verleen, is die stad bekend om sy indrukwekkende mure en geboue, sy reputasie as 'n uitstekende setel van leer en kultuur, die vorming van 'n wetgewing wat die Mosaïese Wet dateer, en die hangende tuine van Babilon, wat mensgemaakte terrasse van flora en fauna was, wat deur masjinerie natgemaak is, wat deur ou skrywers as een van die sewe wonders van die wêreld genoem is.

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Die Ou Stad en Hammurabi

Babilon is op 'n stadium gestig voor die bewind van Sargon van Akkad (ook bekend as Sargon die Grote) wat van 2334-2279 v.G.J. heers en beweer dat hulle tempels in Babilon gebou het (ander ou bronne dui daarop dat Sargon self die stad gestig het) ). Destyds lyk dit asof Babilon 'n klein stad was, of miskien 'n groot hawestad aan die Eufraatrivier op die punt waar dit die naaste aan die rivier die Tigris loop.

Ongeag die vroeë rol wat die stad in die antieke wêreld gespeel het, is vir hedendaagse geleerdes verlore omdat die watervlak in die streek deur die eeue geleidelik gestyg het en die ruïnes van Ou Babilon ontoeganklik geword het. Die ruïnes wat deur Koldewey opgegrawe is en vandag sigbaar is, dateer eers meer as duisend jaar nadat die stad gestig is.

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Die historikus Paul Kriwaczek, onder andere geleerdes, beweer dat dit deur die Amoriete gestig is na die ineenstorting van die Derde Dinastie van Ur. Hierdie inligting, en enige ander inligting oor Ou Babilon, kom vandag by ons op deur artefakte wat uit die stad weggevoer is na die Persiese inval of dié wat elders geskep is.

Die bekende geskiedenis van Babilon begin dus met sy bekendste koning: Hammurabi (1792-1750 v.C.). Hierdie obskure Amoritiese prins het op die troon gegaan na die abdikasie van sy vader, koning Sin-Muballit, en het die stad redelik vinnig omskep in een van die magtigste en invloedrykste in Mesopotamië.

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Die wetskodes van Hammurabi is welbekend, maar is slegs 'n voorbeeld van die beleid wat hy ingestel het om vrede te handhaaf en welvaart aan te moedig. Hy vergroot en verhoog die mure van die stad, doen groot openbare werke, waaronder weelderige tempels en kanale, en maak diplomasie 'n integrale deel van sy administrasie. Hy was so suksesvol in diplomasie en oorlog dat hy teen 1755 vC die hele Mesopotamië verenig het onder die bewind van Babilon, wat op hierdie tydstip die grootste stad ter wêreld was en sy koninkryk Babilonië genoem het.

Die Assiriërs, Chaldeërs en Nebukadnesar II

Na die dood van Hammurabi het sy ryk uitmekaar geval en Babilonië het in omvang en omvang afgeneem totdat Babilon in 1595 VH maklik deur die Hetiete afgedank is. Die Kassiete het die Hetiete gevolg en die stad Karanduniash herdoop. Die betekenis van hierdie naam is nie duidelik nie. Die Assiriërs het die Kassiete gevolg deur die streek te oorheers, en onder die bewind van die Assiriese heerser Sanherib (r. 705-681 v.G.J.) het Babilon in opstand gekom. Sanherib laat die stad ontslaan, vernietig en die ruïnes verstrooi as les vir ander.

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Sy uiterste maatreëls is deur die mense en veral in die hof van Sanherib beskou as goddeloos, en hy word kort daarna deur sy seuns vermoor. Sy opvolger, Esarhaddon (r. 681-669 v.G.J.), het Babilon herbou en dit in sy vorige glorie teruggekeer. Die stad het later in opstand gekom teen Ashurbanipal van Nineve (r. 668-627 v.C.), wat die stad beleër en verslaan het, maar dit nie in groot mate beskadig het nie en Babilon persoonlik gesuiwer het van die bose geeste wat vermoedelik was tot die moeilikheid gelei. Die reputasie van die stad as 'n sentrum van leer en kultuur was teen hierdie tyd reeds goed gevestig.

Na die val van die Assiriese Ryk, het 'n Chaldeeër met die naam Nabopolassar die troon van Babilon ingeneem en deur noukeurige bondgenootskappe die Neo-Babiloniese Ryk geskep. Sy seun, Nebukadnesar II (605/604-562 v.C.), het die stad opgeknap sodat dit 900 hektaar grond beslaan en met die mooiste en indrukwekkendste strukture in Mesopotamië gespog het. Elke antieke skrywer wat melding maak van die stad Babilon, buite diegene wat verantwoordelik is vir die verhale in die Bybel, doen dit met 'n toon van ontsag en eerbied. Herodotus skryf byvoorbeeld:

Die stad staan ​​op 'n breë vlakte, en is 'n presiese vierkant, honderd en twintig stadions in elke rigting, sodat die hele kring vierhonderd en tagtig stadions is. Alhoewel dit so groot is, is daar in grootheid geen ander stad wat dit nader nie. Dit is in die eerste plek omring deur 'n breë en diep grag, vol water, waaragter 'n muur van vyftig koninklike el in breedte en tweehonderd in hoogte styg.

Alhoewel daar algemeen geglo word dat Herodotus die afmetings van die stad sterk oordryf het (en moontlik nooit die plek self besoek het nie), weerspieël sy beskrywing die bewondering van ander skrywers van die tyd wat die prag van Babilon, en veral die groot mure, opgeteken het as 'n wonder van die wêreld. Dit was onder Nebukadnesar II se bewind dat die hangende tuine van Babilon gebou en die beroemde Ishtar -poort gebou is. Die hangende tuine word die duidelikste beskryf in 'n gedeelte van Diodorus Siculus (90-30 v.C.) in sy werk Bibliotheca Historica Boek II.10:

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Daar was ook, want die akropolis, die hangende tuin, soos dit genoem word, wat nie deur Semiramis gebou is nie, maar deur 'n latere Siriese koning om een ​​van sy byvroue te behaag, want sy is 'n Pers van ras en hunkering vir die weide van haar berge, het die koning gevra om deur die kuns van 'n aangeplante tuin die kenmerkende landskap van Persië na te boots. Die park het vier pletra aan elke kant uitgebrei, en aangesien die benadering tot die tuin soos 'n heuwel skuins gelê het en die verskillende dele van die struktuur van mekaar op 'n ander vlak opgestaan ​​het, lyk die voorkoms van die geheel soos die van 'n teater. Toe die stygende terrasse gebou is, is daar onder hulle galerye gebou wat die hele gewig van die aangeplante tuin gedra het en bietjie vir bietjie bo die ander uitgestyg het langs die benadering en die boonste galery, wat vyftig el hoog was, het die hoogste oppervlak van die park, wat gelykgemaak is aan die kringmuur van die stadskante. Verder was die mure wat ten duurste gebou is, twee-en-twintig voet dik, terwyl die deur tussen elke twee mure tien voet breed was. Die dakke van die galerye was bedek met klipbalke van 16 meter lank, insluitend die oorvleueling, en vier voet breed. Op die dak bokant hierdie balke is eers 'n laag riet gelê wat in groot hoeveelhede bitumen gelê is, oor hierdie twee bakies gebakte baksteen wat deur sement gebind is en as 'n derde laag loodbedekking, sodat die vog uit die grond nie dring daaronder in. Op hierdie manier is die aarde weer opgehoop tot 'n diepte wat voldoende was vir die wortels van die grootste bome, en die grond wat gelykgemaak is, was dik beplant met bome van elke aard wat deur hul groot grootte of ander sjarme plesier kon gee aanskouer. En aangesien die galerye, wat elkeen na die ander uitsteek, almal die lig ontvang het, bevat hulle baie koninklike wonings van elke beskrywing en was daar een galery wat openinge van die boonste oppervlak bevat en masjiene om die tuin van water te voorsien, die masjiene wat die water oprig in groot oorvloed van die rivier af, hoewel niemand dit buite kon sien nie. Hierdie park was, soos ek gesê het, 'n latere konstruksie.

Hierdie deel van Diodorus se werk handel oor die semi-mitiese koningin Semiramis (waarskynlik gebaseer op die werklike Assiriese koningin Sammu-Ramat wat in 811-806 vC regeer het). Sy verwysing na ''n latere Siriese koning' volg op Herodotus se neiging om na Mesopotamië as 'Assirië' te verwys. Onlangse geleerdheid oor die onderwerp voer aan dat die hangende tuine nooit in Babilon geleë was nie, maar eerder die skepping was Sanherib in sy hoofstad Nineve. Die historikus Christopher Scarre skryf:

Die paleis van Sanherib [in Nineve] het al die gewone toebehore van 'n groot Assiriese koshuis: kolossale beskermfigure en indrukwekkend gekerfde klipreliëfs (meer as 2000 beelde in 71 kamers). Sy tuine was ook besonders. Onlangse navorsing deur die Britse assirioloog Stephanie Dalley het voorgestel dat dit die beroemde Hanging Gardens was, een van die sewe wonders van die antieke wêreld. Later het skrywers die Hanging Gardens in Babilon geplaas, maar uitgebreide navorsing het geen spore daarvan gevind nie. Sanherib se trotse weergawe van die paleistuine wat hy in Nineve geskep het, pas by die hangende tuine in verskeie belangrike besonderhede (231).

As die tuine in Babilon was, was dit deel van die sentrale kompleks van die stad. Die Eufraatrivier het die stad in twee verdeel tussen 'n 'ou' en 'nuwe' stad met die tempel van Marduk en die groot toring in die middel waar die tuine waarskynlik ook geleë was. Strate en paaie is verbreed om die jaarlikse optog van die standbeeld van die groot god Marduk beter te akkommodeer tydens die reis van sy huistempel in die stad na die nuwejaarsfeestempel buite die Ishtar -poort.

Die Persiese verowering en die agteruitgang van Babilon

Die Neo-Babiloniese Ryk het voortgegaan na die dood van Nebukadnesar II en Babilon het 'n belangrike rol gespeel in die streek onder die bewind van Nabonidus en sy opvolger Belsasar (verskyn in die Bybelse boek Daniël). In 539 vC val die ryk op die Perse onder Kores die Grote tydens die Slag van Opis. Die mure van Babilon was ondeurdringbaar en daarom het die Perse slim 'n plan bedink waarmee hulle die loop van die Eufraatrivier sou aflei sodat dit tot 'n hanteerbare diepte kon val.

Terwyl die inwoners van die stad deur een van hul groot godsdienstige feesdae afgelei is, het die Persiese leër die rivier gewaai en onder die mure van Babilon opgeruk. Daar word beweer dat die stad sonder 'n geveg ingeneem is, alhoewel dokumente uit die tyd aandui dat die mure en sommige dele van die stad herstel moes word, en miskien was die aksie nie so moeiteloos soos die Persiese verslag beweer het nie.

Onder Persiese heerskappy floreer Babilon as 'n sentrum van kuns en opvoeding. Kores en sy opvolgers het die stad met groot agting beskou en dit die administratiewe hoofstad van hul ryk gemaak (hoewel die Persiese keiser Xerxes op 'n stadium verplig gevoel het om die stad na 'n ander opstand te beleër). Babiloniese wiskunde, kosmologie en sterrekunde is hoog gerespekteer en daar word vermoed dat Thales van Miletus (bekend as die eerste Westerse filosoof) moontlik daar gestudeer het en dat Pythagoras sy beroemde wiskundige stelling ontwikkel het gebaseer op 'n Babiloniese model.

Toe die Persiese Ryk na 200 jaar Alexander die Grote in 331 vC teëgekom het, het hy ook die stad baie eerbiedig en sy manne beveel om nie die geboue te beskadig of die inwoners te molesteer nie. Die historikus Stephen Bertman skryf:

Voor sy dood beveel Alexander die Grote dat die bobou van die ziggurat van Babilon afgetrek moet word sodat dit met groter glans herbou kan word. Maar hy het nooit geleef om sy projek te voltooi nie. Deur die eeue is die verspreide bakstene deur die boere gekanibaliseer om nederiger drome te verwesenlik. Al wat van die legendariese toring van Babel oorbly, is die bedding van 'n moerasagtige dam. (14)

Na Alexander se dood in Babilon in 323 v.G.J., in die oorloë van die Diadochi, het sy opvolgers oor sy ryk en die stad spesifiek geveg tot die punt waar die inwoners gevlug het vir hul veiligheid (of, volgens 'n ou berig, verplaas is). Teen die tyd dat die Partiese Ryk in 141 vC die gebied regeer het, was Babilon verlate en vergeet. Die stad het geleidelik in puin gelê en selfs tydens 'n kort herlewing onder die Sassaniese Ryk, het sy vorige grootheid nooit genader nie.

In die Moslem -verowering van die land in 650 HJ is alles wat van Babilon oorgebly het, meegesleur en mettertyd onder die sand begrawe. In die 17de en 18de eeu het Europese reisigers die omgewing begin verken en met verskillende artefakte huis toe gekeer. Hierdie spykerskrifblokke en standbeelde het gelei tot 'n toenemende belangstelling in die streek, en teen die 19de eeu het 'n belangstelling in Bybelse argeologie manne soos Robert Koldewey gelok wat die ruïnes van die eens groot stad van die Poort van die Gode ontbloot het.


3. Mesopotamië (ongeveer 3500 vC - 500 vC)

Assiriese muurreliëf, detail van panorama met koninklike leeujag. Ou kerf uit die geskiedenis van die Midde -Ooste. Oorblyfsels van die kultuur van die antieke beskawing in Mesopotamië. Beeldkrediet: Viacheslav Lopatin/Shutterstock.com

Geleerdes het lank geglo dat Mesopotamië die eerste beskawing was. Die naam tussen die riviere Tigris en Eufraat beteken "tussen (meso) riviere (potamos). ” Vandag omvat die streek Irak, Koeweit, Turkye en Sirië. Vir duisende jare het die vroeë mense in klein nedersettings gewoon, wat uiteindelik omstreeks 8000 vC in 'n verspreiding van boerderygemeenskappe verander het. Die idee van landbou, wat op vrugbare grond gebou is, ontwikkel gou saam met die makmaak van diere. Hierdie gemeenskappe het uitgebrei tot wat ons as stede beskou, en Uruk was die eerste in ongeveer 3500 vC. Op sy hoogtepunt was dit die tuiste van ongeveer 50 000 mense.

Benewens die landbou, is Mesopotamië ook bekend vir sy winsgewende handel en die vestiging van verskillende nywerhede, waaronder messelwerk, metaalwerk en leerwerk. Geskiedkundiges beskou selfs sy mense as verantwoordelik vir die uitvinding van die wiel. Die perse is egter omstreeks 539 vC deur die Perse in beslag geneem. Teen die tyd dat Alexander die Grote ongeveer tweehonderd jaar later die Persiese Ryk verower het, is die meeste Mesopotamiese stede en kultuur verdring.


Betekenis van Maya: Sterrekundiges, wiskundiges, agronomiste, filosowe, kunstenaars, argitekte, beeldhouers en krygers – die Maya's van ouds was 'n ryk, komplekse samelewing wat steeds fassineer.

Hulle wonderlike prestasies is vandag nog duidelik: dit was hulle wat sjokolade, brandrissie, vanielje, papaja en pynappel eers gekweek het. Die Maya's het paaie en reservoirs gebou, groot beeldhouwerke en kunswerke geskep, fantastiese jade -maskers gesny en ryk kleurvolle tekstiele geweef. Hulle het ook gesofistikeerde wiskundige stelselkompleks, akkurate kalenders en geboue met 'n uitstekende verhouding van groot grootte en skoonheid ontwikkel. Baie hiervan terwyl Europa in die donker eeue gebly het.


In die moderne wêreld hou waarnemers steeds kommentaar daarop dat die Maya -kultuur binnekort sal verdwyn. Paaie en motors het hul wêreld kleiner kusoorde, soos Cancun, aangetrek deur buitelandse dagtrekkers wat met die kamera klik, en televisie bring kosmopolitiese Mexikaanse en Noord-Amerikaanse programme na afgeleë dorpe. Maar die Maya's was nog altyd veerkragtig. Hul geskiedenis het 'n patroon van gemeenskapsgebaseerde kultuur versterk met trots en respek vir tradisie. Hul gemeenskaplike samelewing het moderne middele aangepas om die Maya -kultuur en taal te bewaar. Boonop het hulle byna 475 jaar gehad om oorlewingsvaardighede onder druk te oefen, en nog langer daarvoor.

DIE BEGIN:
Die opkoms van die eerste beskawings in Meso-Amerika het plaasgevind in wat die ‘Klassieke tydperk ’ (ongeveer 1500 vC-AD 250) genoem is, met verskillende mense in verskillende gebiede van Mexiko en Sentraal-Amerika – die Zapotec van Oaxaca, die Olmec aan die Golfkus en die Maya's in die laaglande en hooglande van Guatemala en Mexiko, ideale kruispad op die groot landbrug tussen Amerika.
Kragtige konings wat beide heersers en hoëpriesters was, het direkte verantwoordelikheid gehad vir die geordende wêreld van die Preklassiese Maya's. Die sukses en krag van hul heerskappy was in 'n direkte verband met die militêre sterkte van die koninkryk. Rivaliteite tussen stede was algemeen, en as hulle verslaan word, het die hoë lewende koninklikes dikwels skandelike offerandes bereik.


Teen 400 nC het komplekse skryfwerk en streekshandel ontwikkel en 'n paar indrukwekkende hoofstede is gebou. El Tigre, die grootste enkele Maya -tempel wat ooit gebou is, is gebou in El Mirador, 'n belangrike voorklassieke stad 'n paar kilometer suid van die Mexikaanse grens in die Petn -streek in Guatemala. Die Maya -beskawing het gedurende drie tydperke gegroei en afgeneem, wat argeoloë as Preklassies, Klassiek en Post Klassiek onderskei het.
Die einde van die preklassieke tydperk het moontlik plaasgevind met die uitbarsting van 'n vulkaan in 250 nC in El Salvador wat as oor 'n groot deel van die suidelike Maya -gebied uitgespuug het. Verlies aan landbou en handel in die suide verhoog die belangrikheid van die laaglande van die Yucatan in die noorde, en kry dus nuwe kragbase en nuwe gloriedae van die Maya -beskawing.

CLASSIC SPLENDOR:
Die hoogtepunt van die groei en voorspoed van Maya het plaasgevind gedurende die tydperk 250-900 nC. Die Early Classic (250-600 n.C.) het die opkoms van die stadstate Tikal en Calakmul opgedoen wat met mekaar gesukkel het om die laagland te beheer. Calakmul het Tikal uiteindelik verslaan, maar kon nie meer mag uitoefen oor meer gebied nie en verloor sy kans om die wêreld te regeer. Die vroeë klassieke tydperk het geleidelik in die laat-klassieke tydperk (600-800 n.C.) ingeglip. Die klassieke era word beskou as die hoogtepunt van die Maya -beskawing met gevorderde boustyle en gekerfde kliprekords wat stelae genoem word. Groot seremoniële middestede is gebou met massiewe klippiramides, balbane en platformtempels. Tikal het weer 'n kragtige stad geword met soveel as 40 000 mense oor 'n oppervlakte van 6 vierkante kilometer en 'n bevolkingsdigtheid wat vergelykbaar is met 'n gemiddelde stad in die moderne Europa of Amerika.

Maar om redes wat nie heeltemal verstaan ​​is nie, is daar twee teorieë oor droogte en oorbevolking, en die klassieke koninkryke het hul glans begin verloor. Die laaste honderd jaar van hierdie tyd staan ​​bekend as ‘Terminal Classic ’ en was, soos die naam aandui, die einde van die era. Die invloed van Maya -konings op die bevolking het gedaal, aangedui deur die ophou van seremoniële konstruksie, en teen 900 nC, sonder dat daar meer gedateerde godsdienstige stele in Tikal gesny was, was dit 'n duidelike einde van die tydperk. Die groot raaisel is hoekom. Hierdie vraag lok die eerste toeriste van Yucat n ’, John Lloyd Stephens, 'n self-geleerde Amerikaanse argeoloog, en Frederick Catherwood, 'n Engelse sketskunstenaar wat argitektoniese tekeninge ondervind het, om die ruïnes van die suide van Mexiko te verken. Hulle het te midde van die sosiale en burgeroorlog vertrek en 44 verlate ruïnes aangeteken. Stephens het twee boeke geskryf, Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas en Yucatan (1841) en Incidents of Travel in Yucat n (1843), wat die argeologiese soektog na die Maya -verlede begin het.

Van sy eerste besoek aan Uxmal het hy geskryf: ‘ … wat skielik uit die bos kom, kom tot my verbasing 'n groot oop stuk veld vol ruïnes en uitgestrekte geboue op terrasse en piramidale strukture, groot en in goeie bewaring, ryklik versier, sonder 'n kwas om die uitsig te belemmer, met 'n skilderagtige effek wat amper gelyk is aan die ruïnes van Thebe. en nie 'n geheimsinnige Egiptiese of verlore Europese ras nie.

Stede wat gedurende die klassieke tydperk#Palenque, Tikal, Uxmal, Cob, Edzn en Copan – bereik het, word dikwels beskou as die stede van die ‘ verlore ’ Maya -beskawing. Niemand weet presies waarom hierdie groot metropole skielik in die negende eeu verlaat is nie en#8211 aan die oerwoud verbeur is. Die begin van die einde van die klassieke tydperk beteken egter nie die einde van die Maya -kultuur nie. Ander stede het opgestaan ​​om hul plek in te neem.

'N HUIS VERDELD:
In die vakuum wat veroorsaak is deur die ondergang van die klassieke koninkryke, kom indringers die land binne. Die Laagland-Maya's is gedeeltelik verower omstreeks 850 nC deur die militaristiese Tolteke-mense uit die hooglande van Sentraal-Mexiko en die Itza, 'n Mexikaniseerde Chontal-Maya-stam, miskien uit Tabasco. The capital they occupied and built in mixed-architectural-style grandeur was centrally located Chichen Itza in northern Yucatan. The foreigners brought with them their fierce warrior ways, blended religion and influences from central Mexico, such as the cult of the Feathered Serpent (Quetzalc¢atl or Kukulcan).

KUKULCAN, IF YOU CAN…
No other deity-personage ever created a deeper impression on Mesoamerican people than Quetzalc¢ atl (‘Snake of Precious Feathers’ or ‘Plumed Serpent’). The Maya origins of the legend begin with the Toltec civilization in Mexico’s central valley around the mid 900s. Topiltzin, a young Toltec prince, entered the priesthood of the ancient god of civilization and fertility, Quetzalcoatl. As was the custom, he assumed the name of the deity. He became a great leader and spurred the Toltec to new heights of civilization. His name became inseparable with the legend. But a power struggle with other lords forced him into exile. Maya records indicate that Quetzalcoatl, or Kukulcan as they called him, invaded the Yucatan and may have ruled at Chichen Itza . Legends of his ‘death’ vary, but all state that he would return to vanquish his enemies. The vague date indicated was 1-Reed, the anniversary of his birth in the cyclical calendar. This was the sword of Damocles that hung over the Aztec, the civilization that had succeeded the Toltec by the time Cortez landed in 1519 – the year of 1-Reed.

The most beautiful bird of Central America is the Quetzal very rare, especially in the Yucatan. Its long, brightly colored tail feathers could be worn only by Maya royalty and it was forbidden for anyone to kill one. Their non-flight feathers were plucked and then they were released to grow new ones.
The Yucatecan Maya despised the Itza Maya and referred to them with such epithets as ‘foreigners,’ ‘tricksters and rascals,’ ‘lewd ones,’ as well as ‘people without fathers or mothers,’ in surviving Maya chronicles. The Itaz ruled the Yucatan from their centrally located capital until the city fell to warriors from a rival city, Mayapan, in A.D. 1221. In what may sound like a plot from Shakespeare, the ruler of Chichen kidnapped the wife of the king of Izamal. Izamal’s main ally was the opportunistic king, Hunac Ceel, of Mayapan. His warriors drove the Itza from Chichen and the victorious city of Mayapan became the new center of civilization. But Mayapan was in turn sacked and abandoned in a civil uprising around A.D. 1440 after a later Cocom king apparently tyrannized his people. The revolt, lead by a prince of the Xil family, slaughtered him and his family. One son, away on a trading mission, survived. In an ironic twist of fate, one of his descendants would wreak terrible revenge on all the Maya people nearly 100 years later.

In 1536, after the Spanish had been initially driven out of most of the Yucatan, the ruler of the Xil at Mana decided it was a good time to offer thanks to the gods at the Cenote of Sacrifices in Chichen Itza . Nachi Cocom, the great grandson of the surviving Cocom son, granted the Xil ruler safe passage through his province on the way. He entertained the 40-man travelling court for four days until a banquet on the last evening, when he and his warriors suddenly turned and butchered their Xil guests. This treachery caused a civil war between the two most powerful kingdoms in the Yucatan. Luckily for the Spanish, when they returned in 1540 they found a Maya empire divided against itself.


There’s an interesting sidelight to the fall of Chichen Itza in 1221: Surviving Itzas fled south and settled on an island in the middle of Lake Peten in Guatemala. They founded a city known as Tayasal, now named Flores. This isolated Itza kingdom remained intact until 1697 – over 450 years after their defeat at Chichen and 150 years after the Conquest – when a Spanish naval force finally destroyed the last of over 3,000 years of Maya high civilization.


Xmucane and Xpiacoc

The primordial couple of Xmucane and Xpiacoc appear in the Popol Vuh as the grandparents of two sets of twins: the older set of 1 Monkey and 1 Howler, and the younger of Blowgunner and Jaguar Sun. The older pair suffered great losses in their lives and because of that learned to paint and carve, learning the peace of the fields. The younger pair were magicians and hunters, who knew how to hunt for food and understood the violence of the woods.

The two sets of twins were jealous of how Xmucane treated the others and played endless tricks on one another. Eventually, the younger pair won out, turning the older pair into monkeys. In pity, Xmucane enabled the return of the pipers and singers, the painters and sculptors, so that they live and bring joy to everyone.


An Ancient Maya City Founded by a God and Conquered by a Death Cheating Despot - History


The Maya are probably the best-known of the classical civilizations of Mesoamerica. Originating in the Yucatan around 2600 B.C., they rose to prominence around A.D. 250 in present-day southern Mexico, Guatemala, western Honduras, El Salvador, and northern Belize.

Building on the inherited inventions and ideas of earlier civilizations such as the Olmec, the Mayans developed astronomy, calendrical systems and hieroglyphic writing. The Mayans were noted as well for elaborate and highly decorated ceremonial architecture, including temple-pyramids, palaces and observatories, all built without metal tools. They were also skilled farmers, clearing large sections of tropical rain forest and, where groundwater was scarce, building sizable underground reservoirs for the storage of rainwater. The Mayans were equally skilled as weavers and potters, and cleared routes through jungles and swamps to foster extensive trade networks with distant peoples.

Many people believe that the ancestors of the Mayans crossed the Bering Strait at least 20,000 years ago. They were nomadic hunter-gatherers. Evidence of settled habitation in Mexico is found in the Archaic period 5000-1500 BC - corn cultivation, basic pottery and stone tools.

The first true civilization was established with the rise of the Olmecs in the Pre-Classic period 1500 BC -300 AD. The Olmecs settled on the Gulf Coast, and little is known about them.

The Mayans are regarded as the inventors of many aspects of Meso-American cultures including the first calendar and hieroglyphic writing in the Western hemisphere. Archeologists have not settled the relationship between the Olmecs and the Mayans, and it is a mystery whether the Mayans were their descendants, trading partners, or had another relationship. It is agreed that the Mayans developed a complex calendar and the most elaborate form of hieroglyphics in America, both based on the Olmec's versions.

Mayans seem to have entered Yucatan from the west. As usual with ancient nations, it is difficult in the beginning to separate myth from history, their earliest mentioned leader and deified hero, Itzamn , being considered to be simply a sun-god common to the Mayan civilization. He is represented as having led the first migration from the Far East, beyond the ocean, along a pathway miraculously opened through the waters.

The second migration, which seems to have been historic, was led from the west by Kukulcan, a miraculous priest and teacher, who became the founder of the Mayan kingdom and civilization. Fairly good authority, based upon study of the Mayans chronicles and calendar, places this beginning near the close of the second century of the Christian Era.

Under Kukulcan the people were divided into four tribes, ruled by as many kingly families: the Cocom, Tutul-xiu, Itz and Chele.

To the first family belonged Kukulcan himself, who established his residence at Mayanspan, which thus became the capital of the whole nation. The Tutul-xiu held vassal rule at Uxmal, the Itz at Chichen-Itz , and the Chel at Izamal.

To the Chele was appointed the hereditary high priesthood, and their city became the sacred city of the Mayans. Each provincial king was obliged to spend a part of each year with the monarch at Mayapan. This condition continued down to about the eleventh century, when, as the result of a successful revolt of the provincial kings, Mayapan was destroyed, and the supreme rule passed to the Tutul-xiu at Uxmal.

Later on Mayapan was rebuilt and was again the capital of the nation until about the middle of the fifteenth century, when, in consequence of a general revolt against the reigning dynasty, it was finally destroyed, and the monarchy was split up into a number of independent petty states, of which eighteen existed on the peninsula at the arrival of the Spaniards.

In consequence of this civil war a part of the Itz emigrated south to Lake Pet n, in Guatemala, where they established a kingdom with their capital and sacred city of Flores Island in the lake.

Mayan Classic Period - 300-900 AD

Most artistic and cultural achievement came about during the Classic period 300 - 900 AD. The Mayans developed a complex, hierarchical society divided into classes and professions. Centralized governments, headed by a king, ruled territories with clearly defined boundaries. These borders changed as the various states lost and gained control over territory. Mayansn centers flourished in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. The major cities of the Classic period were Tikal (Guatemala), Palenque and Yaxchil n (Chiapas, Mexico), Cop n and Quirigua (Honduras). For most of this period, the majority of the Mayans population lived in the central lowlands of Mexico and Belize.

The Northern Yucatan (where present day Cancun is located) was sparsely populated for most of the Classic period with only a few cities such as Dzibilchalt n (near M rida) and Xpuhil, Bec n and Chicann (near Chetumal). During the 9th century the population centers of the central lowlands declined significantly. This decline was very rapid and is attributed to famine, drought, breakdowns in trade, and political fragmentation. Fragmentation from large states into smaller city-states focused resources on rivalries between cities including not just wars, but competitions of architecture and art between rival cities. As the cities in the lowlands declined, urban centers sprung up in the Northern Yucat n, including Uxmal (near M rida).

Anthropologists used to contrast the "peaceful" Mayans with the bloodthirsty Aztecs of central Mexico. Although human sacrifice was not as important to the Mayans as to the Aztec, blood sacrifice played a major role in their religion. Individuals offered up their blood, but not necessarily their lives, to the gods through painful methods using sharp instruments such as sting-ray spines or performed ritualistic self mutilation. It is probable that people of all classes shed their blood during religious rites. The king's blood sacrifice was the most valuable and took place more frequently. The Mayans were warlike and raided their neighbors for land, citizens, and captives. Some captives were subjected to the double sacrifice where the victims heart was torn out for the sun and head cut off to pour blood out for the earth.

The Mayansn civilization was the height of pre-Columbian culture. They made significant discoveries in science, including the use of the zero in mathematics. Their writing was the only in America capable of expressing all types of thought. Glyphs either represent syllables or whole concepts and were written on long strips of paper or carved and painted on stone. They are arranged to be red from left to right and top to bottom in pairs of columns. The Mayansn calendar begins around 3114 BC, before Mayans culture existed, and could measure time well into the future. They wrote detailed histories and used their calendar to predict the future and astrological events. Fray Diego de Landa, second bishop of the Yucat n ordered a mass destruction of Mayansn books in 1562 and only three survived.

Post Classic Period - 1000 - 1500 AD - Growth and Ruin

After the Classic period, the Mayans migrated to the Yucat n peninsula. There they developed their own character, although their accomplishments and artwork are not considered as impressive as the Classic Mayans. Most of the ruins you can see South of Cancun are from this time period and are definitely worth a visit.

Chichen Itza (near Valladolid), Uxmal (near Merida) and Mayansp n (west of Chichen Itza) were the three most important cities during the Post Classic period. They lived in relative peace from around 1000 - 1100 AD when Mayansp n overthrew the confederation and ruled for over 200 years. In 1441 the Mayans who had previously ruled Uxmal destroyed the city of Mayansp n and founded a new city at Mani. Wars were fought between rival Mayansn groups over the territory until the region was conquered by the Spanish.

Chichen Itza was first populated between 500 and 900 AD by Mayans and for some reason abandoned around 900, the city was then resettled 100 years later and subsequently invaded by Toltecs from the North. There are numerous reliefs of both Mayan gods including Chac and the Toltec gods including Quetzalcoatl.

For some reason the city was abandoned around 1300. If the Spanish did not make it a policy to kill all of the Mayan priests and burn books when they arrived in Mexico, we would all have a few more answers.

Post Columbian Period - Conquest and Rebellion (1500 AD)

On his second voyage Columbus heard of Yucatan as a distant country of clothed men. On his fifth voyage (1503-04) he encountered, south-west of Cuba, a canoe-load of Indians with cotton clothing for barter, who said that they came from the ancient Mayan civilization.

In 1506 Pinzon sighted the coast, and in 1511 twenty men under Valdivia were wrecked on the shores of the sacred island of Cozumel, several being captured and sacrificed to the idols.

The Spanish colonization of the islands of Hispaniola and Cuba allowed them to launch exploratory forays around the Caribbean. C rdoba discovered Isla Mujeres in 1517 and sailed down the Yucat n Gulf coast to were he suffered heavy losses at the hands of the Mayans. Cort s set sail in 1519 and landed in Veracruz. He conquered the Aztecs in a year, but it took another 20 years to conquer the Yucat n. In 1526 Francisco Montejo set out to conquer the Yucatan.

The Mayans fought the invaders for 20 years, but eventually succumbed. The Mayans were slaughtered during the battles with the Spaniards, but imported European diseases decimated the population. The Mayans were moved into villages and paid heavy taxes to the Spanish government. There were periodic rebellions against the Spanish.

The Yucatan Mayans launched a major uprising starting in July 1847 called the Caste War. The Spanish were distracted by the war between the US and Mexico and nearly lost the peninsula. The Mayans attacked Spanish villages armed by English settlers from Belize and with guns distributed to defend Yucat n's secession in 1846. They regained 90% of their lands and held all of the Yucat n except Campeche and Merida.

At the height of their revolutionary success, the Mayans inexplicably withdrew to their villages - reputedly to plant corn for the season. The war with the US ended in 1848 and reinforcements were sent to the Yucat n, where they drove the Mayans back to Chan Santa Cruz. The Mayans resisted for several years, but disease and weapons shortages forced them to surrender in 1901.

After 50 years of independence, their lands became federal territory. In reality, the Southern and Eastern half of the peninsula remained a virtual no man's land to outsiders where the Mayans lived almost as they pleased. This changed in the late 1960s when coastal development began.

Father Alonso Gonzalez, who accompanied this expedition, found opportunity at one landing to explore a temple, and bring off some of the sacred images and gold ornaments. In 1518 a strong expedition under Juan de Grijalva, from Cuba, landed near Cozumel and took formal possession for Spain.

For Father Juan Diaz, who on this occasion celebrated Mass upon the summit of one of the heathen temples, the honour is also claimed of having afterwards been the first to celebrate mass in the City of Mexico.

Near Cozumel, also, was rescued the young monk Aguilar, one of the two survivors of Valdivia's party, who, though naked to the breech-cloth, still carried his Breviary in a pouch. Proceeding northwards, Grijaba made the entire circuit of the peninsula before returning, having had another desperate engagement with the Mayans near Campeche.

After the conquest of Mexico in 1521, Francisco de Montejo, under commission as Governor of Yucatan, landed (1527) to effect the conquest of the country, but met with such desperate resistance that after eight years of incessant fighting every Spaniard had been driven out. In 1540, after two more years of the same desperate warfare, his son Francisco established the first Spanish settlement at Campeche.

In the next year, in a bloody battle at Tihoo, he completely broke the power of Mayans resistance, and a few months later (Jan., 1542) founded on the site of the ruined city the new capital, M rida. In 1546, however, there was a general revolt, and it was not until a year later that the conquest was assured.

In the original commission to Montejo it had been expressly stipulated that missionaries should accompany all his expeditions. This, however, he had neglected to attend to, and in 1531 (or 1534), by special order, Father Jacobo de Testera and four others were sent to join the Spanish camp near Campeche.

They met a kindly welcome from the Indians, who came with their children to be instructed, and thus the conquest of the country might have been effected through spiritual agencies but for the outrages committed by a band of Spanish outlaws, in consequence of which the priests were forced to withdraw.

In 1537 five more missionaries arrived and met the same willing reception, remaining about two years in spite of the war still in progress. About 1545 a large number of missionaries were sent over from Spain. Several of these - apparently nine, all Franciscans - under the direction of Father Luis de Villalpando, were assigned to Yucatan.

Landing at Campeche, the governor explained their purpose to the chiefs, the convent of St. Francis was dedicated on its present site, and translations were begun into the native language. The first baptized convert was the chief of Campeche, who learned Spanish and thereafter acted as interpreter for the priests.

Here, as elsewhere, the missionaries were the champions of the rights of the Indians. In consequence of their repeated protests a royal edict was issued, in 1549, prohibiting Indian slavery in the province, while promising compensation to the slave owners.

As in other cases, local opposition defeated the purpose of this law but the agitation went on, and in 1551 another royal edict liberated 150,000 male Indian slaves, with their families, throughout Mexico.

In 1557 and 1558 the Crown intervened to restrain the tyranny of the native chiefs. Within a very short time Father Villalpando had at his mission station at M rida over a thousand converts, including several chiefs.

He himself, with Father Malchior de Benavente, then set out, barefoot, for the city of Mani in the mountains farther south, where their success was so great that two thousand converts were soon engaged in building them a church and dwelling. All went well until they began to plead with the chiefs to release their vassals from certain hard conditions, when the chiefs resolved to burn them at the altar.

On the appointed night the chiefs and their retainers approached the church with this design, but were awed from their purpose on finding the two priests, who had been warned by an Indian boy, calmly praying before the crucifix. After remaining all night in prayer, the fathers were fortunately rescued by a Spanish detachment which, almost miraculously, chanced to pass that way.

Twenty-seven of the conspirators were afterwards seized and condemned to death, but were all saved by the interposition of Villalpando.

In 1548-49 other missionaries arrived from Spain, Villalpando was made custodian of the province, and a convent was erected near the site of his chapel at Mani. The Yucatan field having been assigned to the Franciscans, all the missionary work among the Mayans was done by priests of that order.

In 1561 Yucatan was made a diocese with its see at M rida.

1562 - the famous Diego de Landa, Franciscan provincial, and afterwards bishop (1573-79), becoming aware that the natives throughout the peninsula still secretly cherished their ancient rites, instituted an investigation, which he conducted with such cruelties of torture and death that the proceedings were stopped by order of Bishop Toral Franciscan provincial of Mexico, immediately upon his arrival, during the same summer, to occupy the See of M rida.

Before this could be done, however, there had been destroyed, as is asserted, two million sacred images and hundreds of hieroglyphic manuscripts - practically the whole of the voluminous native Mayans literature. As late as 1586 a royal edict was issued for the suppression of idolatry.

In 1575-77 a terrible visitation of a mysterious disease, called matlalzahuatl, which attacked only the Indians, swept over Southern Mexico and Yucatan, destroying, as was estimated, over two million lives. This was its fourth appearance since the conquest.

At its close it was estimated that the whole Indian population of Mexico had been reduced to about 1,700,000 souls. In 1583 and 1597 there were local revolts under chiefs of the ancient Cocom royal family. By this latter date it was estimated that the native population of Mexico had declined by three-fourths since the discovery, through massacre, famine, disease, and oppression.

Up to 1593 over 150 Franciscan monks had been engaged in missionary work in Yucatan.

The Mayans history of the seventeenth century is chiefly one of revolutions, viz., 1610-33, 1636-44, 1653, 1669, 1670, and about 1675.

Of all these, that of 1636-44 was the most extensive and serious, resulting in a temporary revival of the old heathen rites. In 1697 the island capital of the Itz , in Lake Pet n, Guatemala, was stormed by Governor Mart n de Ursua, and with it fell the last stronghold of the independent Mayans. Here, also, the manuscripts discovered were destroyed.

In 1728 Bishop Juan Gomez Parada died, beloved by the Indians for the laws which he had procured mitigating the harshness of their servitude. The reimposition of the former hard conditions brought about another revolt in 1761, led by the chief Jacinto Canek, and ending, as usual, in the defeat of the Indians, the destruction of their chief stronghold, and the death of their leader under horrible torture.

In 1847, taking advantage of the Government's difficulties with the United States, and urged on by their "unappeasable hatred toward their ruler from the earliest time of the Spanish conquest", the Mayans again broke out in general rebellion, with the declared purpose of driving all the whites, half-breeds and negroes from the peninsula, in which they were so far successful that all the fugitives who escaped the wholesale massacres fled to the coast, whence most of them were taken off by ships from Cuba. Arms and ammunition for the rising were freely supplied to the Indians by the British traders of Belize.

In 1851 the rebel Mayans established their headquarters at Chan-Santa-Cruz in the eastern part of the peninsula. In 1853 it seemed as if a temporary understanding had been reached, but next year hostilities began again. Two expeditions against the Mayans stronghold were repulsed, Valladolid was besieged by the Indians, Yecax taken, and more than two thousand whites massacred.

In 1860 the Mexican Colonel Acereto, with 3,000 men occupied Chan-Santa-Cruz, but was finally compelled to retire with the loss of 1,500 men killed, and to abandon his wounded - who were all butchered - as well as his artillery and supplies and all but a few hundred stand of small arms.

The Indians burned and ravaged in every direction, nineteen flourishing towns being entirely wiped out, and the population in three districts being reduced from 97,000 to 35,000. The war of extermination continued, with savage atrocities, through 1864, when it gradually wore itself out, leaving the Indians still unsubdued and well supplied with arms and munitions of war from Belize.

1868 - fighting broke out again in resistance to the Juarez government.

1871 - a Mexican force again occupied Chan-Santa-Cruz, but retired without producing any permanent result.

1901 - after long preparation, a strong Mexican force invaded the territory of the independent Mayans both by land and sea, stormed Chan-Santa-Cruz and, after determined resistance, drove the defenders into the swamps.

1910 - Mexican troops put down a serious rising in the northern part of the peninsula.

Modern Mayans

In spite of the invasion of foreign tourism, Mayan culture has remained amazingly intact. Many of the Yucatan Mayans whose ancestors were hunters, chicle farmers and fisherman now work in hotels and other tourist related businesses. More than 350,000 Mayans living in the Yucatan speak Yukatek Mayans and most speak Spanish as a second language, primarily learned in school.

The clothing worn is as it was in the past. It is relatively easy to determine the village in which the clothing was made by the the type of embroidery, color, design and shape.

Mayans women can be seen wearing huipils, simple cotton dresses decorated with embroidery. The designs in their embroidery and weaving can be traced back to pre-Columbian times.

Although Mayans in other parts of Central America choose to limit contact with outside influences, Mayans working in the tourist industry are generally open to conversation with polite strangers and if asked will teach you a Mayan phrase or two.

In the Indian communities, as it was with their Mayan ancestors, the basic staple diet is corn.

Mayan dialects of Qhuche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, and Mam are still spoken today, although the majority of Indians also speak Spanish.


The Maya were resourceful in harnessing energy, creating amazingly sophisticated works of art and engineering and sustaining a civilization for approximately 1,500 years. It has been shown that the Maya had attributes of the supernatural, and were masters of their environment. Their secret wisdom remains unknown, some people attributing it to extraterrestrials races, whose space ships are seen to this very day in Central and South America.

As with ancient Egyptian Pharaohs, Mayan rulers filled vast cities with sky high pyramids, ornate and lavish palaces personifying the power of the great kings and their connections to the gods, and astronomical observatories which helped them created their calendars and plan their lives.

The cause of the Mayan collapse came over decades with no one quite sure what happened. There is no one single explanation for this implosion, but some scholars seem to believe that environmental catastropy lead to a full blown meltdown - lack of food and polluted water which produced malnutrition and disease.

As with all civilizations, we discover that their Gods - like those some people worship today our Gods - did not help - as they do not exist - only our own consciousness to guide us in the wastelands of realities.

Mayan archaeology is coming into it's Golden Age with the help of satellite imagery and photography. There are innumerable Mayan cities, temples, and settlements still to be discovered. We have learned that the Maya were an innovative, creative, and majestic people with their own particular taste for violence. The allure of the Maya is coming to the fore. Like the mystique of Egypt, people are drawn to the land of the Maya, each year. There is something they are guided to find, perhaps linked to major planetary grid points that awaken consciousness.


Modern human beings, called Homo sapiens ('wise man') have lived for about 250,000 years. Die eerste Homo sapiens lived at the same time as other species of human. Hierdie ingesluit Homo erectus ('standing man') and Homo neanderthalensis ('man from Neanderthal'). They were a little bit different from modern humans. The theory of human evolution says that modern humans, Neanderthals, and Homo erectus slowly developed from other earlier species of human-like creatures. Biologists believe that Homo sapiens evolved in Africa and spread from there to all other parts of the world, replacing Homo neanderthalensis in Europe and Homo erectus in Asië.

Homo neanderthalensis, generally called Neanderthal Man, was discovered when the cranium of a skull was found in the Neanderthal Valley in 1856. It was different from a modern human skull so scientists believed it was from a new species. [1] Entire Neanderthal skeletons have been found in other places since then. [2] Neanderthals existed before modern humans, and knew how to use tools and fire. When ancient stone tools are found, their style often shows whether they were made by Homo sapiens or Neanderthals (see Palaeolithic). By the end of the Stone Age, it is believed that Homo sapiens were the only type of humans left.

Climate is different from one part of the world to another. Some areas are hot all year, and some are cold. Some areas are dry all year, and others are wet. Most areas have climates that are warm or hot in the summer and cool or cold in the winter. Most parts of the world get rain at some times of the year and not others. Some parts of the world have oceanic climates and others have alpine climates. These differences cause people to live differently.

Climate affects what food can grow in a certain place. This affects what food people eat. If one food is easier to grow, it often becomes a staple food. Staples foods are foods that people eat more of than other foods. Staple foods are usually grains or vegetables because they are easy to grow. Wheat, maize, millet, rice, oats, rye, potatoes, yams, breadfruit and beans are examples of different staple foods from around the world. Climate also affects the types of animals that can live in any area, which affect the types of meats that are available to eat.

Climate also affects the buildings that people make, the clothes that they wear and the way that they travel.

Climate change Edit

The climate on earth has not stayed the same through human history. There are long periods of time when it is generally warmer, and there are long periods of time when it is generally colder. When it is generally colder, there is more ice on the poles of the planet. A cold period is called an ice age. There have been many ice ages in the history of the earth. Two have affected humans.

From 70,000 to around 10,000 years ago there was a big ice age which affected humans and the way that they lived. Between 1600 AD and 1900 AD there was a period called the Little Ice Age when the climate was a little bit colder than usual. [3]

The word "Prehistory" means "before history". It is used for the long period of time before humans began to write about their lives. [4] This time is divided into two main ages: the Paleolithic Age (or Early Stone Age) and the Neolithic Age (or late Stone Age). The two ages did not start and end at the same time everywhere. A place moved from one age to another depending on when people changed their technology.

The end of prehistory also varies from one place to another. It depends on the date when written documents of a civilization can be found. In Egypt the first written documents date from around 3200 BC. In Australia the first written records date from 1788 and in New Guinea from about 1900.

In the Paleolithic era, there were many different human species. According to current research, only the modern human Homo sapiens reached the Neolithic era.

Paleolithic Era Edit

The Paleolithic Era is by far the longest age of humanity's time, about 99% of human history. [5] The Paleolithic Age started about 2.6 million years ago and ended around 10,000 BC. [5] The age began when hominids (early humans) started to use stones as tools for bashing, cutting and scraping. The age ended when humans began to plant crops and have other types of agriculture. In some areas, such as Western Europe, the way that people lived was affected by the Ice age. In these places, people moved towards agriculture quicker than in warmer places where there was always lots of food to gather. Their culture is sometimes called the Mesolithic Era (Middle Stone Age).

During the Paleolithic Era humans grouped together in small bands. They lived by gathering plants and hunting wild animals. [6] This way of living is called a "hunter-gatherer society". People hunted small burrowing animals like rabbits, as well as birds and herds of animals like deer and cattle. They also gathered plants to eat, including grains. Grain often grows on grasslands where herds of grass-eating animals are found. People also gathered root vegetables, green vegetables, beans, fruit, seeds, berries, nuts, eggs, insects and small reptiles.

Many Paleolithic bands were nomadic. They moved from place to place as the weather changed. They followed herds of animals that they hunted from their winter feeding places to their summer feeding places. If there was a drought,flood, or some other disaster, the herds and the people might haved moved a long distance, looking for food. During the "Ice Age" a lot of the water on Earth turned to ice. This made sea much lower than it is now. People were able to walk through Beringia from Siberia to Alaska. Bands of Homo sapiens ( another word for people) travelled to that area from Asia. At that time there were rich grasslands with many large animals that are now extinct. It is believed that many groups of people travelled there over a long time and later spread to other parts of America, as the weather changed. [7]

Paleolithic people used stone tools. Sometimes a stone tool was just a rock. It might have been useful for smashing a shell or an animal's skull, or for grinding grain on another rock. Other tools were made by breaking rocks to make a sharp edge. The next development in stone tool making was to chip all the edges of a rock so that it made a pointed shape, useful for a spearhead, or arrow tip. Some stone tools are carefully "flaked" at the edges to make them sharp, and symmetrically shaped. Paleolithic people also used tools of wood and bone. They probably also used leather and vegetable fibers but these have not lasted from that time. Paleolithic people also knew how to make fire which they used for warmth and cooking.