Maya peoples facts for kids
The Maya area within Mesoamerica
|c. 7 million+ (2002)
Pre-Columbian: 5–10 million
|Regions with significant populations|
|Parts of modern-day countries of Guatemala, Mexico, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador|
|Mayan languages, Spanish, and Kriol|
|Christianity and Maya religion|
The Maya peoples (//) are an ethnolinguistic group of indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica. The ancient Maya civilization was formed by members of this group, and today's Maya are generally descended from people who lived within that historical civilization. Today they inhabit southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras. "Maya" is a modern collective term for the peoples of the region, however, the term was not historically used by the indigenous populations themselves. There was no common sense of identity or political unity among the distinct populations, societies and ethnic groups because they each had their own particular traditions, cultures and historical identity.
It is estimated that six million Maya were living in this area at the start of the 21st century. Guatemala, southern Mexico and the Yucatán Peninsula, Belize, El Salvador and western Honduras have managed to maintain numerous remnants of their ancient cultural heritage. Some are quite integrated into the majority hispanicized mestizo cultures of the nations in which they reside, while others continue a more traditional, culturally distinct life, often speaking one of the Mayan languages as a primary language.
The largest populations of contemporary Maya inhabit Guatemala, Belize, and the western portions of Honduras and El Salvador, as well as large segments of population within the Mexican states of Yucatán, Campeche, Quintana Roo, Tabasco and Chiapas.
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