The Mayan government featured control of government operations and political affairs primarily at the state level; individual city-states derived leadership from military leaders called nacoms and high priests or kings, who ruled as individuals or in groups. Typically, each city-state under Mayan control combined military rule with religious law. Although some Mayan states enjoyed autonomy, others fell under control by larger units called capital cities.
Along with nacoms, noble figures such as kings and priests formed the top of the Mayan government hierarchy. Nacoms served terms of three years. During their tenure as leaders, nacoms oversaw military operations of their governed states. They developed military strategies for short-term and long-term operations, and organized troops for fights. Mayan city-states lacked standing armies, but called reserve soldiers to fight when needed. Nearly 20 state units existed in the Mayan government structure. These states featured similar layouts with defined urban centers and outer rural areas. Civilians within the city-states enjoyed protection from leaders, and in turn safety, but faced repercussions for disobeying the commands of superiors. City-states gained religious leadership through a similar structure. A single high priest instructed groups of priests, called batabs, to carry out administrative functions and plan religious events and activities. Local councils, formed of town officials, and constables helped batabs organize and enforce laws.Learn More
The building of temples and great cities without modern machinery, using astronomy to predict astrological cycles and plant crops and using their language to communicate and measure time are some of the Mayans most notable achievements. During a 600-year period of time, which was from 300 A.D. until 900 A.D., the Mayans made many great achievements in science, communications, engineering and agriculture.Full Answer >
The Mayan civilization, one of the most advanced Mesoamerican civilizations, lasted approximately 3000 years. This civilization was established around 2000 B.C., and by 900 A.D., it mysteriously collapsed.Full Answer >
The Mayan civilization made major accomplishments in astronomy, agriculture, engineering and communications including building elaborate cities without modern machinery and developing one of the world's first written languages. They also discovered how to grow beans, corn, squash and cassava in places that were not conducive to plant growth.Full Answer >
Two of the oldest and most famous Mayan leaders were Itzamn and Kukulcan. Itzamn is said to have led the first Mayan migration into the Yucatan from the Far East. Kukulcan led the second migration from the west.Full Answer >