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The Classical Maya
====The Classical Maya====
[[File:1033888864.jpg|thumb|left|275|Figure 2. El Castillo is the great Mayan pyramid in Chichen Itza, one of the great Classical Mayan sites.]]
The Classical Maya period lasted from about 250-900 AD, a period that led to the development of large-scale urban areas and monumental architecture. This was a period of city-states and competing polities rather than a single, long-lived and dominant entity. Scholars have compared it to the period of city-states in ancient Greece or Medieval Italy. Some of the largest centers likely had populations of over 100,000 people, occupying areas around Honduras, Guatemala, and southern Mexico.  The great Mayan cities, such as Tikal, were politically involved and often influenced by Teotihuacan, the great central Mexican city to the north that likely was the largest city in pre-Columbian Americas, with perhaps nearly 150,000 people. One of the other great cities at this time was Calakmul, which formed as a rival to Tikal. Chichen Itza (Figure 2) to the north in the modern Yucatán, and Copan, to the south in Honduras, also competed with these cities and likely formed alliances, including with Teotihuacan while sometimes coming under the influence of the great powers. The great Maya pyramids were built at this time, which represented temples to the gods and places of sacrifice.  Writing was developed, including monumental inscriptions and calendars used to mark events and important cycles. As writing was now used on monumental inscriptions, these also provided also dates in which buildings can be attributed to. By around 900 AD, the number of new building inscriptions declines steadily. Soon after this, some of the great cities were either abandoned or were much reduced in population. This transformation has led some scholars to call this sudden change as the "Classic Maya Collapse." Initially , ideas centred centered around warfare or even disease; however, some scholars noted the rapid changes evident in societies and abandonment suggested something different and more drastic. Out of the possibilities that could lead to collapse, it began to emerge that climate might be a major factor in the decline of the Mayas.<ref>For more on the Classical Maya, see: Houston, S. D., & Inomata, T. (2009). <i>The classic Maya</i>. New York: Cambridge University Press. </ref>
====Collapse of the Maya====

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