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Maya Civilization
The Maya civilization () of the Mesoamerican people is known by its ancient temples and glyphs. Its Maya script is the most sophisticated and highly developed writing system in the pre-Columbian Americas. It is also noted for its art, architecture, mathematics, calendar, and astronomical system. The Maya civilization developed in the Maya Region, an area that today comprises southeastern Mexico, all of Guatemala and Belize, and the western portions of Honduras and El Salvador. It includes the northern lowlands of the Yucatán Peninsula and the highlands of the Sierra Madre, the Mexican state of Chiapas, southern Guatemala, El Salvador, and the southern lowlands of the Pacific littoral plain. Today, their descendants, known collectively as the Maya, number well over 6 million individuals, speak more than twenty-eight surviving Mayan languages, and reside in nearly the same area as their ancestors. The Archaic period, before 2000 BC, saw the first developme ...
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El Castillo, Chichen Itza
El templo, known as the Temple of Kukulcán (or also just as Kukulcán), is a Mesoamerican step-pyramid that dominates the center of the Chichen Itza archaeological site in the Mexican state of Yucatán. The temple building is more formally designated by archaeologists as Chichen Itza Structure 5B18. Built by the pre-Columbian Maya civilization sometime between the 8th and 12th centuries AD, the building served as a temple to the deity Kukulcán, the Yucatec Maya Feathered Serpent deity closely related to Quetzalcoatl, a deity known to the Aztecs and other central Mexican cultures of the Postclassic period. It has a substructure that likely was constructed several centuries earlier for the same purpose. The temple consists of a series of square terraces with stairways up each of the four sides to the temple on top. Sculptures of plumed serpents run down the sides of the northern balustrade. Around the spring and autumn equinoxes, the late afternoon sun strikes off the north ...
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Belize
Belize (; bzj, Bileez) is a Caribbean and Central American country on the northeastern coast of Central America. It is bordered by Mexico to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and Guatemala to the west and south. It also shares a water boundary with Honduras to the southeast. It has an area of and a population of 441,471 (2022). Its mainland is about long and wide. It is the least populated and least densely populated country in Central America. Its population growth rate of 1.87% per year (2018 estimate) is the second-highest in the region and one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere. Its capital is Belmopan, and its largest city is the namesake city of Belize City. Belize is often thought of as a Caribbean country in Central America because it has a history similar to that of English-speaking Caribbean nations. Indeed, Belize’s institutions and official language reflect its history as a British colony. The Maya civilization spread into the area of Be ...
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Chili Pepper
Chili peppers (also chile, chile pepper, chilli pepper, or chilli), from Nahuatl '' chīlli'' (), are varieties of the berry-fruit of plants from the genus ''Capsicum'', which are members of the nightshade family Solanaceae, cultivated for their pungency. Chili peppers are widely used in many cuisines as a spice to add "heat" to dishes. Capsaicin and related compounds known as capsaicinoids are the substances giving chili peppers their intensity when ingested or applied topically. While ''chili peppers'' are (to varying degrees) pungent or "spicy", there are other varieties of capsicum such as bell peppers (UK: peppers) which generally provide additional sweetness and flavor to a meal rather than “heat.” Chili peppers are believed to have originated somewhere in Central or South America. and were first cultivated in Mexico. After the Columbian Exchange, many cultivars of chili pepper spread around the world, used for both food and traditional medicine. This led to ...
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Cucurbita
''Cucurbita'' (Latin for gourd) is a genus of herbaceous fruits in the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae (also known as ''cucurbits'' or ''cucurbi''), native to the Andes and Mesoamerica. Five edible species are grown and consumed for their flesh and seeds. They are variously known as squash, pumpkin, or gourd, depending on species, variety, and local parlance. Other kinds of gourd, also called bottle-gourds, are native to Africa and belong to the genus ''Lagenaria'', which is in the same family and subfamily as ''Cucurbita'', but in a different tribe. These other gourds are used as utensils or vessels, and their young fruits are eaten much like those of the ''Cucurbita'' species. Most ''Cucurbita'' species are herbaceous vines that grow several meters in length and have tendrils, but non-vining "bush" cultivars of ''C. pepo'' and ''C. maxima'' have also been developed. The yellow or orange flowers on a ''Cucurbita'' plant are of two types: female and male. The female flowe ...
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Phaseolus Vulgaris
''Phaseolus vulgaris'', the common bean, is a herbaceous annual plant grown worldwide for its edible dry seeds or green, unripe pods. Its leaf is also occasionally used as a vegetable and the straw as fodder. Its botanical classification, along with other '' Phaseolus'' species, is as a member of the legume family Fabaceae. Like most members of this family, common beans acquire the nitrogen they require through an association with rhizobia, which are nitrogen-fixing bacteria. The common bean has a long history of cultivation. All wild members of the species have a climbing habit, but many cultivars are classified either as ''bush beans'' or ''climbing beans'', depending on their style of growth. Best-known cultivar groups include the kidney bean, the navy bean, the pinto bean, and the wax bean. The other major types of commercially grown beans are the runner bean ('' Phaseolus coccineus'') and the broad bean ('' Vicia faba''). Beans are grown on every continent except ...
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Maize
Maize ( ; ''Zea mays'' subsp. ''mays'', from es, maíz after tnq, mahiz), also known as corn (North American English, North American and Australian English), is a cereal grain first domesticated by indigenous peoples of Mexico, indigenous peoples in southern Mexico about 10,000 years ago. The leafy stalk of the plant produces pollen inflorescences (or "tassels") and separate ovule, ovuliferous inflorescences called ear (botany), ears that when fertilized yield Corn kernels, kernels or seeds, which are fruits. The term ''maize'' is preferred in formal, scientific, and international usage as a common name because it refers specifically to this one grain, unlike ''corn'', which has a complex variety of meanings that vary by context and geographic region. Maize has become a staple food in many parts of the world, with the List of most valuable crops and livestock products, total production of maize surpassing that of wheat or rice. In addition to being consumed directly by huma ...
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Maya Cuisine
Ancient Maya cuisine was varied and extensive. Many different types of resources were consumed, including maritime, flora, and faunal material, and food was obtained or produced through strategies such as hunting, foraging, and large-scale agricultural production. Plant domestication concentrated upon several core foods, the most important of which was maize. Much of the ancient Maya food supply was grown in agricultural fields and forest gardens, known as ''pet kot''. The system takes its name from the pet stones (''pet'' meaning "circular" and ''kot'' "wall of loose stones") that characteristically surrounded the gardens. The ancient Maya adopted a number of adaptive techniques that, if necessary, allowed for the clear-cutting of land and re-infused the soil with nutrients. Among these was slash-and-burn, or swidden, agriculture, a technique that cleared and temporarily fertilized the area. For example, the introduction of ash into the soil raises the soil's pH. This in tu ...
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Mesoamerican Chronology
Mesoamerican chronology divides the history of prehispanic Mesoamerica into several periods: the Paleo-Indian (first human habitation until 3500 BCE); the Archaic (before 2600 BCE), the Preclassic or Formative (2500 BCE – 250 CE), the Classic (250–900 CE), and the Postclassic (); as well as the post European contact Colonial Period (1521–1821), and Postcolonial, or the period after independence from Spain (1821–present). The periodisation of Mesoamerica by researchers is based on archaeological, ethnohistorical, and modern cultural anthropology research dating to the early twentieth century. Archaeologists, ethnohistorians, historians, and cultural anthropologists continue to work to develop cultural histories of the region. Overview Paleo-Indian period 10,000–3500 BCE The Paleo-Indian (less frequently, '' Lithic'') period or era is that which spans from the first signs of human presence in the region, to the establishment of agricu ...
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Chiapas
Chiapas (; Tzotzil and Tzeltal: ''Chyapas'' ), officially the Free and Sovereign State of Chiapas ( es, Estado Libre y Soberano de Chiapas), is one of the states that make up the 32 federal entities of Mexico. It comprises 124 municipalities and its capital and largest city is Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Other important population centers in Chiapas include Ocosingo, Tapachula, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Comitán, and Arriaga. Chiapas is the southernmost state in Mexico, and it borders the states of Oaxaca to the west, Veracruz to the northwest, and Tabasco to the north, and the Petén, Quiché, Huehuetenango, and San Marcos departments of Guatemala to the east and southeast. Chiapas has a significant coastline on the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. In general, Chiapas has a humid, tropical climate. In the northern area bordering Tabasco, near Teapa, rainfall can average more than per year. In the past, natural vegetation in this region was lowland, tall perennial rain ...
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Sierra Madre De Chiapas
The Sierra Madre de Chiapas is a major mountain range in Central America. It crosses El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras. The Sierra Madre de Chiapas is part of the American Cordillera, a chain of mountain ranges that consists of an almost continuous sequence of mountain ranges that form the western "backbone" of North America, Central America, and South America. Geography The range runs northwest–southeast from the state of Chiapas in Mexico, across western Guatemala, into El Salvador and Honduras. Most of the volcanoes of Guatemala, part of the Central America Volcanic Arc, are within the range. A narrow coastal plain lies south of the range, between the Sierra Madre and the Pacific Ocean. To the north lie a series of highlands and depressions, including the Chiapas Depression, which separates the Sierra Madre from the Chiapas Plateau, the Guatemalan Highlands, and Honduras' interior highlands. The range forms the main drainage divide between the Pacific and Atlant ...
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Mayan Highlands
The Southern Maya Area (SMA) is a part of the Maya Region of Mesoamerica, long believed important to the rise of Maya civilization, the period that is also known as Preclassic Maya. It lies within a broad arc or cantilevered rectangle from Chiapa de Corzo, in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, in the northwest due south to Izapa and Paso de la Amada, from Chiapa de Corzo southeast to Copán, Honduras, and from Copán south to Chalchuapa, El Salvador. The Pacific Ocean forms the southern and western limits of the Southern Maya Area. Within this area and in addition to these sites are found the major centers of Kaminaljuyu, Takalik Abaj, Chocolá, El Sitio, El Jobo, La Blanca, Ujuxte, Palo Gordo, El Baúl, Cotzumalhuapa, Monte Alto, Semetabaj, El Portón, Zacualpa, Zaculeu, Balberta, and La Montana; many of these sites are believed to have been built and populated by speakers of Maya languages, and others by speakers of other Mesoamerican languages, including Xinca, Lenca, Mi ...
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Yucatán Peninsula
The Yucatán Peninsula (, also , ; es, Península de Yucatán ) is a large peninsula in southeastern Mexico and adjacent portions of Belize and Guatemala. The peninsula extends towards the northeast, separating the Gulf of Mexico to the north and west of the peninsula from the Caribbean Sea to the east. The Yucatán Channel, between the northeastern corner of the peninsula and Cuba, connects the two bodies of water. The peninsula is approximately in area. It has low relief, and is almost entirely composed of porous limestone. The peninsula lies east of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the narrowest point in Mexico separating the Atlantic Ocean, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, from the Pacific Ocean. Some consider the isthmus to be the geographic boundary between Central America and the rest of North America, placing the peninsula in Central America. Politically all of Mexico, including the Yucatán, is generally considered part of North America, while Guatemala an ...
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