Mayan Civilizations Today and Now!

Mayans occupied a large portion of Mesoamerica during the Classic Age of the Mayan civilization which spanned from 200 A.D. to 900 A.D.

In the 9th century A.D., the Classic Mayan civilization underwent rapid collapse and the center of the civilization shifted away from Mayan lowlands to the regions in the north.

So the Mayans essentially lived in different parts of Mesoamerica in different periods, their domains spreading from the Yucatan Peninsula all the way until the modern-day regions of Honduras and El Salvador in the West.

In the Post-Classic era, Mayan populations became concentrated in regions corresponding to the modern-day states of El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Belize.

Ancient Mayan Civilization

Mayans during the Pre-Classic Era

During the Pre-Classic era, Mayans created different settlements which gradually into towns and cities.

During this period, the Mayan lived in a number of distinct regions close to each other.

These included the Soconusco region along the Pacific coast, portions of the modern-day Peten department in Guatemala, as well as the northern lowlands of Yucatan region.

A number of Mayan settlements in the Mayan highlands also blossomed into large urban centers during this period.

Mayans during the Classic Era

During the Classic period, many Mayan cities rose to power and prominence, becoming highly populated and economically prosperous.

Most notable among these were the cities of Tikal and Calakmul which were the key urban centers of the Mayans, located in the Peten Basin.

Copan was another major Mayan city which rose to power during the period. It was located towards the southeast part of the Mayan region.

In the Usumacinta region, the Mayans most notably lived in the important cities of Yaxchilan and Palenque.

Mayans were also living in the Guatemala Valley by this time, their most important city in the region being Kaminaljuyu.

The most important Mayan cities during this period were located in the Mayan lowlands.

Tikal Temple II

Tikal Temple II

Mayans in the Post-Classic Era

After the collapse of the Classic Mayan civilization in the 9th century A.D.

A majority of the Mayan population shifted to the northern lowland and Maya Highland regions.

During this period, the Mayan city of Zaculeu was one of the most important urban centers in the Guatemalan Highlands.

The Yucatan region received a sizable influx of the Mayan population from the Classic cities and in time, the city of Mayapan in Yucatan became the most dominant Mayan power in the Post-Classic era.

Mayan Kiche kingdom also came into being in the Guatemalan Highlands.

By the time the Spaniards arrived in the 16th century, the Mayan population was mostly concentrated in the Guatemalan Highland and Yucatan regions.

The Yucatan region received a sizable influx of the Mayan population from the Classic cities

Mayans Today

A large number of the Mayans still live in the Mesoamerican regions.

They are concentrated in the modern-day regions of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

A large portion of the Mayan population also lives in the regions of southern Mexico, most notably the Mexican state of Yucatan.

Other Mexican states with significant Mayan populations include Tabasco, Quintana Roo, Chiapas and Campeche.