The Mayan Civilization started around 250 BC, during the time of the Olmec Civilization and much before either the Aztecs or the Incans, and ended around 1700 AD. The Mayans used to be part of the Olmecs, but grew into their own culture that succeeded even more. The Mayans had a deep faith in their religion. They build large stone temples dedicated to their Gods that are still standing today in Guatemala!
The Mayans organized their society into a social pyramid. That means that society is divided into classes ranging from very rich to very poor. There were many more lower class people beneath the small number of upper class people, which is why it is called a pyramid. At the top of the Mayan social pyramid were the very respected priests. Next were the nobles, who were part of the government. Lower down are the farmers, who provided all of the food for the Mayan civilization, followed by the slaves. Sometimes, people could move up a class level so a commoner could enter nobility.
The Mayans invented many important things that we still use today. One thing they developed was writing! It was very rare for ancient civilizations to have an alphabet that expressed their language. Along with writing words, they invented a written number system. In fact, they invented the number zero! They used this number system to invent their own calendar. It even has 365 days just like our own calendar has. They even made theories about the stars and planets, called astronomy. Their contributions to science are still important today.
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