Nations Unknown: Maya

 

OK, most people have heard of the Mayan people, their ancient, lost cities, their complicated calendars about to be reset – maybe even their life and culture as it is today. The Mayan history has become devolved to three different modern nations: Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize. If it had all turned out differently, this would be the Mayan Nation. The Mayan people have always been fractured politically, making it possible for invading armies and colonialists to divide and rule. There have been quite a few independence movements and rebel insurrections over the years but they have generally lacked a Mayan Identity, focused as they were on the particulars of the day, fighting for their present situation.

San Cristobal de las Casas Street Scene

However, driving south and east towards the Yucatan Peninsula, this is the beginning of the jungle, the cloud forests hanging above mountains trapped by hot, tropical air. The culture is obviously changing too; the peoples keep their own traditions and, even if they have different nationalities now, those traditions can be seen all the way to Honduras. For an outsider, their heritage seems united. Their future could be the same.

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