Mayan civilization represented one of the most advanced civilizations in the western hemisphere before the arrival of Europeans. The
Maya lived in the region that is now eastern and southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, and western Honduras. Beginning   
circa 600 — 400 b.c.e. city-states  with a common culture but independent of each began. This civilization reached the pinnacle of its
advancements in science, art, writing and architecture in an era called the Classic Period circa  200 – 900 a. d.
Uxmal (OOSH-mahl) means "'built three times" in the Mayan language, and though its name is a mystery, its beauty is not.  Uxmal
was the greatest metropolitan and religious center in the Puuc hills in the late classical period. It thrived between the 7th and 10th
centuries AD and its numerous architectural styles reflect a number of building phases. Recent studies have suggested that Uxmal
was the capital of a regional state that developed in the Puuc region between 850 to 950 AD. Other evidence suggests that Uxmal
collaborated politically and economically with Chichén Itzá.
(Copyright © 2008 Yucatan Today)  [Archaeological Map of Uxmal]
The Maya built massive stone pyramids, temples, and sculpture and accomplished complex achievements in mathematics and
astronomy which were recorded in hieroglyphics.
Maya carving were often intricate relief carvings —known as stelae (inscribed stone
slabs and pillars) that depicted information about the history of their rulers. Other art forms including painted murals and codices
were also used to record important events and portray deities. All of these gave precise chronologies, accurate calendars and a highly
advanced hieroglyphic writing system. For a description of the Maya calendar
click here.
Between 600 - 900 a.d. the population exceeded approximately 10 million people. Around 900 a.d. the civilization suffered a sudden
collapse. All building ceased, most of the cities were abandoned and the population declined sharply. Possible causes include
overpopulation, disease, warfare, and environmental deterioration that damaged food production.     
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Beginning circa 900 a.d., Chichén Itzá rose to prominence through a variety of possible influences including Uxmal, coastal traders
and the Toltec.  Through reciprocal trade, art, architecture and religion the city-state grew in size and power. Toltec influences in  the
introduction of  a new religious imagery dedicated to the plumed-serpent god known as Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent, appears
to have been implanted peacefully. " Whatever factors played a role in its foundation, the legacy of Chichén Itzá has far outlasted its
three centuries as a political center. Abandoned in the 13th century, the ruins continue to represent cultural solidarity to the Maya
people in the face of outside suppression, even in recent historical times." (