Consider that Spanish made the first European contact with the Maya in 1511 AD when one of the Spanish explorer Valdivia's ships was wrecked off the east coast of of the Yucatan Peninsula during an expedition from Panama to Santo Domingo. Two survivors of that shipwreck began a penetration of a Mayan culture still free from contact with 'the West.' The names of those survivors were Jeronimo de Aguilar and Gonzalo Guerrero. Guerrero integrated into the Maya culture and later fought on their side against the conquerors. Aguilar, a lay brother forced into slavery by his captors, joined Hernan Cortez at Cozumel in 1519.
The Peninsula of Yucatan was discovered for the 'western world' by Francisco Hernzadez de Cordoba in 1517. Systematic collection of data on the culture of the Maya until the arrival of Fray Diego de Landa in 1549. Although Land had Mayas killed, destroyed cultural remains and burned codices, he also gathered a great deal of data on the Maya. In 1566 he returned ti Spain, and wrote Relacion de las Cosas de Yucatan, perhaps the most important document we have in Maya culture.
The territory occupied my the Maya include what is now the Mexican states of Yucatan, Campeche, Tabasco, Quintana Roo, and the eastern half of Chiapas. As well as the greater part of Guatamala, excepting a strip along the Pacific Coast, the western section of Honduras, and a small portion of Belize.
Territory of the Maya may be divided into three geographical zones: the southern highlands characterized by the Cordillera of Central America with peaks over 13,000 feet and containing the beautiful lakes of Amitlan, Atitlan, and Isabel; the central lowland characterized by savanna and jungle with a river system mostly merging to fir the River Usmacinta. On an island in a lake in the central lowlands stood a stronghold of the Maya called Tayasal; the northern zone mostly covered by thorn bush and containing the famous cenotes.
Mayas constructed bottle-shaped cisterns called chultunes.
The Mayan languages are usually divided into ten main groups.
The Maya had close, early contact with the Zoque.
Since last I posted - Lots of activity has kept me away from my blog. To sum things up: we've moved from our home of the past 25+ years and have moved to a new retirement communit...
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