One of the most advanced indigenous cultures of the Americas, the Mayans began as hunter gatherers and migrated into the Yucatán around 2500 B.C. Between 300 and 900, the Mayans built several cities in the Yucatán region, two of the most spectacular being Chichén Itzá and Uxmal.In 987, the Toltec people of northern Mexico arrived in the region. According to Toltec mythology, Quetzalcóatl demanded human hearts as sacrifice, and the Toltecs obeyed by conducting mass human sacrifices. The Toltec’s cultural influence on the Mayans in Yucatán was profound, and their architectural influences are evident at Chichén-Itzá. When the post-classic Mayan period ended around 1250, most cities were abandoned. Those that remained continued to engage in inter-city military conflicts. The disappearance of these great Mayan civilizations remains a mystery; had the Spanish not destroyed the majority of Mayan codices the Mayan’s fate might be known today.
© Ramdas Iyer Photography