What happened to the Mayas?

People often think that the Mayas only existed in the past. Today there are over seven million Maya people, most of whom live in Central America and southern Mexico.

Even though the Spanish conquest resulted in centuries of cruelty towards the Maya people, causing their population to decline, many Maya people still maintain some of their traditions. In fact, there are currently 31 different Mayan languages being spoken today.

However, these languages are becoming endangered because of discrimination. Sometimes people won’t even be offered jobs if they speak a Mayan language! To keep these languages alive, some people write literature in Mayan languages as well as Spanish, so that their culture will not die out forever.

Mayas today

Two Maya girls looking at each other in modern day Tikal

Explore modern Maya life by clicking through the images.

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A Modern Maya city with Spanish warrior watching