sacrifices of the acient maya

Discussion in 'Cancun Forum' started by apple, Jan 22, 2008.

  1. apple

    apple Guest

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    thought this was interesting. a bit of a look into the mexican history.

    MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The victims of human sacrifice by Mexico's ancient Mayans, who threw children into water-filled caverns, were likely boys and young men not virgin girls as previously believed, archeologists said on Tuesday.


    The Maya built soaring temples and elaborate palaces in the jungles of Central America and southern Mexico before the Spanish conquest in the early 1500s.

    Maya priests in the city of Chichen Itza in the Yucatan peninsula sacrificed children to petition the gods for rain and fertile fields by throwing them into sacred sinkhole caves, known as "cenotes."

    The caves served as a source of water for the Mayans and were also thought to be an entrance to the underworld.

    Archeologist Guillermo de Anda from the University of Yucatan pieced together the bones of 127 bodies discovered at the bottom of one of Chichen Itza's sacred caves and found over 80 percent were likely boys between the ages of 3 and 11.

    The other 20 percent were mostly adult men said de Anda, who scuba dives to uncover Mayan jewels and bones.

    He said children were often thrown alive to their watery graves to please the Mayan rain god Chaac. Some of the children were ritually skinned or dismembered before being offered to the gods, he said.

    "It was thought that the gods preferred small things and especially the rain god had four helpers that were represented as tiny people," said de Anda.

    "So the children were offered as a way to directly communicate with Chaac," he said.

    Archeologists previously believed young female virgins were sacrificed because the remains, which span from around 850 AD until the Spanish colonization, were often found adorned with jade jewelry.

    It is difficult to determine the sex of skeletons before they are fully matured, said de Anda, but he believes cultural evidence from Mayan mythology would suggest the young victims were actually male.
  2. Michael F.

    Michael F. Moderator/1st CC Member Registered Member

    Feb 17, 2003
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    Dwarves apparently were also highly regarded. Dunno if they were sacrificed as well, tho.
  3. Dal

    Dal Guest

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  4. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

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    I think if it's the history of people who are now Mexican than you can safely call it Mexican history. It is also Mayan history.

    Now where did you get that information? I've read a great deal about Mayan history (in the Yucatan) and everything I've read indicates that the Spanish worked hard to subjugate the Maya, they worked to destroy their culture and to force their religion towards Christianity. They worked to turn the Maya into slaves, effectively. But they were by no means successful in wiping out the population.

    The height of the Maya civilization was between 600 and 800 AD, roughly (and depending on location) And the civilization began to collapse in many areas by the early 900's. The Spanish didn't come along with their diseases and bad intentions until the 1500's, by then the Mayas had largely abandoned their major ancient cities and the population had disbursed with people living instead in small jungle towns.

    Several great books on this subject are:

    "The Maya" by Michael D. Coe
    "The Caste War of Yucatan" by Nelson Reed

    Both are in-depth discussions. There's also a widely available "touristy" book called "The Mayas and the State of Yucatan", published by Editora Fotographia Marina Kukulcan, which has basic history and lots of great photos. You can find this here in Cancun in places like grocery stores.
  5. Dal

    Dal Guest

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    You misunderstood what I posted.

    I said "practically" wiped out as in "almost". Did not say "totally" wiped out.
  6. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

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    Meaning what? Meaning that some large percentage of their population was wiped out by the Spanish? How much of it? Where did you read that?

    I've seen some guesses at Maya population numbers at different points in history. And we can be sure that the Spanish brought disease that probably spread through the Maya. But because of the fact that the Maya lived in the inhospitable jungle it was pretty difficult for any group to get to them and wipe them out in large numbers. Hence the fact that the Maya basically won the Caste War against the white landowners before they abandoned the war to go plant their fields.

    I'm just asking that you show me where you read that. Because I've never seen data to suggest that the Maya were "practically" or "almost" wiped out. But I'm no expert, I've just read a couple of books and been to a bunch of ruins.

    There's plenty of discussion of their culture being destroyed, which is probably debatable. But cultural destruction is different from killing a large amount of the population off.

    Again, I'm no expert, just curious.
  7. lambert13

    lambert13 Guest

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    That was an interesting post Apple. Thanks for sharing that with us.
  8. Dal

    Dal Guest

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    I am not an expert either but I do read some and also there have been shows on History Channel and Discovery that have stated that the Maya have been killed off by the Spaniards in either confrontations(war) and the diseases that the Europeans brought over with them.

    Here is one timeline for the Maya from

    The Spanish first arrive on the shores of Yucatan under Hernandez de Cordoba, who later dies of wounds received in battle against the Maya. The arrival of the Spanish ushers in Old World diseases unknown among the Maya, including smallpox, influenza and measles. Within a century, 90 per cent of Mesoamerica's native populations will be killed off.

    Also, the Catholic Encyclopedia references this extermination in regards to the Maya and Natives of the West Indies on page 756 published in 1913 and written by Charles George Herbermann
  9. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

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    That's a great time-line.
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