Since the Spanish conquest, the Mayas have clung to the semi-barren, open plains of the peninsula, and have more than once revolted.
The Mayas have left no r cord of their institutions or of the causes of their decline, beyond what may be deduced from their ruined structures.
Other remains which bear witness to tlae civilization of, the Mayas are the paved highways and the artificial reservoirs (aguadas) designed for the preservation of water for towns through the long dry season.
The Nahuatl lapidaries had at hand many varieties of workable and beautiful stone - onyx, marble, limestone, quartz and quartz crystal, granite, syenite, basalt, trachyte, rhyolite, diorite and obsidian, the best of material prepared for them by nature; while the Mayas had only limestone, and hard, tenacious rock with which to work it, and timber for burning lime.
The Mayas had a calendar of 360 days, with intercalary days; this solar year was intersected by their sacred year of twenty weeks of thirteen days each, and these assembled in bewildering cycles.
None of them were written except through the use of ideographs, in the making of which the Aztecs used colours with much skill, while the Mayas used an abbreviated form, or symbols.
Confirmatory evidence of this is to be found, not only in the character of their constructions, but in the circumstance that a tribe closely akin to the Mayas (the Huastecos) still occupies a retired mountain valley of Vera Cruz, entirely separated from their kinsmen of the south, and that a dialect of the Maya language is still spoken in northern Vera Cruz.
There is evidence to show that the Aztecs adopted the civilization of the Toltecs, including their religion (Quetzalcoatl being a god of the Toltecs and Mayas), calendar and architecture.
Perhaps the most remarkable of the Mexican races are the Mayas, or MayaQuiche group, which inhabit the Yucatfin peninsula, Campeche and parts of Tabasco, Chiapas, and the neighbouring states of Central America (q.v.).
The Totonacs inhabit northern Vera Cruz and speak a language related to that of the Mayas; the Tarascos form a small group living in Michoacan; the Matlanzingos, or Matlaltzincas, live near the Tarascos, the savage Apaches, a nomadic group of tribes ranging from Durango northward into the United States; the Opata-Pima group, inhabiting the western plateau region from Sonora and Chihuahua south to Guadalajara, is sometimes classed as a branch of the Nahuatlaca; the Seris, a very small family of savages, occupy Tiburon Island and the adjacent mainland of Sonora; and the Guaicuros, or Yumas, are to be found in the northern part of the peninsula of Lower California.
Legend tells stories of his teaching men picture-writing and the calendar, and also the artistic work of the silversmith, for which Cholula was long famed; but at last he departed, some say towards the unknown land of Tlapallan, but others to Coatzacoalcos on the Atlantic coast on the confines of Central America, where native tradition still keeps up the divine names of Gucumatz among the Quiches and Cukulcan among the Mayas, these names have the same meaning as Quetzalcoati.
Occasionally the Church gave trouble - the presence of foreign priests was complained of; attempts to evade the law prohibiting conventual life were detected and foiled (1891, 1894); and there were Indian risings, repressed sometimes with great severity, among the Mayas of Yucatan, whose last stronghold was taken in 1891, and the Yaquis of Sonora (1899-1900).
The Itzas, Mopans, Lacandons, Chols, Pokonchi and the Pokomans who inhabit the large settlement of Mixco near the capital, all belong to the Maya family; but parts of central and eastern Guatemala are peopled by tribes distinct from the Mayas and not found in Mexico.
A few may be descendants of the Aztecs and Mayas, whose temples, sculptures, burialgrounds, &c., have not yet been fully explored.
Examples of this are given in § 20; it is worthy of notice that the vigesimal (or, rather, quinary-quaternary) system was used by the Mayas of Yucatan, and also, in a more perfect form, by the Nahuatl (Aztecs) of Mexico.
5 Among the Mayas of Central America sorcerers could transform themselves " into dogs, pigs and other animals; their glance was death to a victim " (Bancroft, ii.
UXMAL, a deserted city of the Mayas in the state of Yucatan, Mexico, 20 m.