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The Mayan The Mayan

Mayapan, a more northern city, became the new capitol. By 1500 the Mayan made their first contact with visiting Spaniards, which would lead to the Spanish conquest of the Mayan, between 1524 and 1697 A.D. At first, Pedro de Alvarado led the conquest of the southern Maya, followed by the elder and younger Montejos who conquered the northern Maya from 1524 to 1546 A.D. Finally, the Mayan civilization completed collapsed with the conquest of the last independent Mayan state, Tayasal, by Martin de Ursua in 1697 (Sharer, xiii).

While descendants of the Mayan still live in southern Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala today, for the most part, their two thousand year old history came to an end when they were conquered by the Spanish. Before their ultimate collapse, the Mayan population expanded into millions of people who were ruled by a succession of independent kingdoms. They were supported by forests, rivers, lakes and seashores and they built famous palaces, roadways, marketplaces, decorated temples, carved monuments and houses. In times of peace the independent Mayan kingdoms traded with each other, in time of war their kings conquered neighboring kingdoms. Individual achievements in this society were recorded on stone monuments and scholars are beginning to decipher their complex writing system (Sharer, 1).

The achievements of Mayan society were varied. They domesticated plants like maize (corn), cacao (


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