Ancient America
Hispanic Heritage
The Maya Civilization, Part 1

The Maya Civilization, Part 1
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.03

     challenging words:    city-state, existence, royalty, crossing, traces, civilization, archaeologists, agriculture, spectacular, civil, leadership, drought, entire, regularly, lasted, presence
     content words:    Central America, Yucatan Peninsula, Bering Strait, Central American, Yet Egypt, Postclassic Period, When Spanish

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The Maya Civilization, Part 1
By Jane Runyon

1     Take a look at Mexico and Central America on a map. If you use your imagination, you might see how Mexico resembles a left-handed fist with the thumb sticking up. The area around this thumb, the Yucatan Peninsula, was once part of the Maya civilization. Evidence has been found to prove that the Mayas first settled in the area thousands of years ago. It is thought that the first tribesmen crossed a land bridge in the Bering Strait from Asia.
2     Many archaeologists like to divide Maya history into three time periods. The first time period is called the Preclassic period. The Preclassic period traces the Maya as far back as evidence can be found. They are pretty sure that people have lived in the area since 10,000 BC. Villages were built around 1800 BC. By 1000 BC, the people were building temples. In 600 BC, buildings were being built that brought the people together into a city. These cities sprung up around the entire Central American region.
3     The second Maya period is called the Classic period. It lasted from approximately 250 AD to 900 AD. It was during this time that the Maya created their greatest cities. The empire was at its most powerful. The Maya government was not an empire like many others in history. There was not one central powerful city. The Mayas built city-states. Each city-state had its own royalty. Each city-state made its own laws. Each city had its own temples and monuments.

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