Sally Fitzgibbons Foundation

Beginning the Academic Essay

The Mayans were a more civilized and advanced group than the Tainos and Kalinagos. The Mayans were indigenous people of Mexico and Central America who inhabited the modern Mexican states of Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Campeche and southward through Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and the western edge of Honduras. The Mayans developed their civilization in 150 A.D. This group was good at agri-culture, hieroglyph writing, calendar-making, mathematics, astonishing architecture (temples) and symbolic artwork which therefore made their economic structure and civilization much more developed than the other indigenous groups.
The Mayans were surplus and subsistent craftsmen and farmers. The Mayans relied more on agriculture but not conuco cultivation, while the Kalinagos and Tainos fished and hunted. The Mayans cultivated a wide variety of foodstuff for consumption. Their main crop was maize while the Tainos and Kalinagos main crop was cassava.
The Mayans planted crops according to the quality and quantity of land and depending on the location (hill/valley). They used an advanced technique than that of the of the Tainos and Kalinagos to increase soil fertility which was known as raised bed agriculture, this is where the Mayans dug up mud from swamps and placing it on woven reeds two feet above water.
The Mayans also practiced other great agricultural methods such as milpa and terracing. Milpa was a farming technique where they grew crops for two years, harvested it and left to fallow for eight years to rejuvenate the soil/land while the Tainos and Kalinagos used the slash and burn method. Terracing was a method used in mountainous areas where hills were cut and shaped as steps to reduce water run-off.
Another reason why the Mayans were considered advanced was because they made complex and complicated calendars that could have accurately predict future occurrences. These calendars kept track of days, months and years. The Mayans had three calendars, one called the haab which was consisted of 360 days per year, 20 days per month and 18 months per year, the second one had five additional days (365 days) and was known as the vayeb and the last was called the scared calendar which was consisted of 260 days. The Kalinagos and Tainos did not have such invention and innovation which made them less civilized that the Mayans.
The Mayans also developed mathematical skills. The Mayans were able to add, subtract, multiply and divide in columns working from top to bottom. They had symbols to express numbers They had a dot (?) to represent 1, a bar (–) for 5, a shell for zero and the number twenty was represented by a shell with a dot over it. This made it possible for the Mayans to calculate size and distance to pass on plans to builders to construct temples.
The Mayans constructed large temples and used them as observatories in order to carry out their daily duties. These temples had an amazing height of 229 feet. The temples were constructed out of stone which was cut and shaped into blocks without any metal tools. The blocks were cemented together with powdered limestone. These Mayan temples took many years to be constructed, for instance they constructed a pyramid at Chichen Itza and was built over a period of three years.
The Mayan sauna was a small room or building designed as a place to experience a dry or wet session. The Mayans used this sauna to purify themselves. The Mayan sauna was build out of stone walls and ceilings, with a small opening at the top of the ceiling. Water was thrown onto hot rocks in the room which created a steam and then cause them to sweat out impurities. The Mayans used sweat baths for a range of conditions and situations, in which mothers who had recently conceived a child would seek revitalization in them, while individuals who were sick could find the healing power in sweating.
The Mayans had 166 goods. The Mayans believed that some of their goods were in the underworld, some walk the earth and others ruled the sky and the heavens. Some of their gods were Hunab Ku, the chief god; Kinchil Abau the sun god; Chac the rain god; Yum Kax the maize god and Ah Kinchil the god of the earth while the Taino and Kalinagos had few gods.
Unlike other indigenous groups, the Mayans practised blood sacrifices, this sacrifice was the most valuable sacrifices of all. The Mayans usually performed these sacrifices in public by religious or political leaders piercing a soft body part, most commonly the tongue, ear, or foreskin, and collecting blood to smear directly on the idol or collecting it on paper, which was then burnt.
The Mayans also practised a more vicious sacrifice in which the human victim was spread on his back across a scared store container in the temple. The nacom priest would then slash open the victim’s chest, pull out the heart and place it in a special stone container before the image or statue of the god they wished to satisfy. This method was the most popularised. The Mayans main purpose of worship and sacrifices was to ensure good healthy crops This made the Mayans more advanced because the Tainos and Kalinagos offered their gods material things such as food and water.

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