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The Mayan Civilization in the Cultural Context

The Mayan civilization is one of the most ancient and advanced civilizations that existed in Latin America in pre-Columbian times.

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  • The Mayan culture is known for its advanced knowledge in architecture, space, mathematics, and astronomy.
  • The developed culture, communication, religion, and art of the Maya have their impact on the modern peoples of Latin America.
  • Thesis: This article will investigate the ancient civilization and demonstrate the connection between its historical features and the current culture of the countries located in the area that once was the Maya Empire.

The history of the Mayan civilization began in archaic times and ended with the arrival of the conquistadors to the lands of the Americas (Mark, 2021).

  1. Origins of the civilization.
  2. The rise of the culture.
  3. Fall of the civilization due to America’s colonization.

The Mayan civilization matters in the cultural context of the countries that today exist on the territory of the former Empire, since some of its values and characteristics affect their development.

  • Material values.
  • Non-material culture.

Nowadays, Maya culture is represented by states, nations, or tribes.

  • Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Campeche, Tabasco, and Chiapas in Mexico (Mark, 2021).
  • Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras (Mark, 2021).

Ancient Mayan people and modern nations living on its territory have a collective culture.

  • Collective culture of Maya civilization.
  • Collective culture of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and other counties.

The Mayan civilization has left many pieces of art, the motives of which are reflected in the modern art of its descendants.

  • Ancient murals and architecture
  • Stoneworks and Maya’s Calendar
  • Mayan motives in modern art (Ancient Mayan art, n.d.).

The main values of the Maya were the belief in the cyclical nature of life, which gave rise to their morality and became the foundation for the development of culture and science.

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  • Ethics and morals in society.
  • Maya’s cosmology, astrology, and science.

Religion has a central role in Mayan life, and was based on a belief in the cycle of life, and influences modern beliefs of descendants (Chavira, n.d.).

  • Mayan religion.
  • Traditional Mayan beliefs in Central America.

Women were central to society and were equal to men; however, colonialism brought patriarchs into society.

  • The role of women in society (Restall & Solari, 2020).
  • Powers and authorities of genders.
  • Influence of colonization on gender roles.

Hence, colonization of the Americas destroyed part of the Mayan civilization, and its representatives were forced to acculturate with conquistadors’ traditions preserving part of Mayan culture (Seo, 2018).

  • Internal problems of civilization.
  • External pressure of the culture and violence of the conquistadors and colonialists.

Therefore, the analysis shows that the developed culture of the Mayan civilization influences the modern people of some central American countries through religion, values, and art.

  • Although civilization has not existed for centuries, the Maya traditions and beliefs in cyclic life were not fully acculturated by Europeans.
  • The cultural values of collectivism still exist in the nations of Central America.
  • Religious traditions and culture are also partly reflected in contemporary art and beliefs of people.


Ancient Mayan art. (n.d.). Web.

Chavira, C. (n.d.). Mayan religion: Study of gender roles past and present. Web.

Mark, J. J. (2021). Maya Civilization. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Web.

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Restall, M., & Solari. A. (2020). The Maya: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press.

Seo, N. (2018). Natural and man-made catastrophes: Theories, economics, and policy Designs. Wiley & Sons.

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