Mayan Political Structure
The Mayan political structure was not quite as structured as other forms of government. Instead of having one king who rules from a capital, the Mayans had multiple city-states that governed themselves independently. These states each had rural communities of farmers and large urban sites centered around a religious temple. Religion was an everyday and very important part of Mayan life.
To be a king of one of these states, you had to capture one of the enemy's soldiers during a war to use in the ceremony that would declare you king. This ceremony involves using this person as a human sacrifice to your ancestors. Human sacrifice was an essential part of Mayan religion and culture. Along with human sacrifice, respecting your ancestors was also important for Mayan politics. When you become the king of a Mayan city, you become both leader of your people and head of your ancestral lineage. A king usually passes his title to his first born son, which is called primogeniture, to keep the royal title in the family line.