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Maya

(2,690 words)

Author(s): Kummels, Ingrid | Grünschloß, Andreas
1. Introduction The Maya is the name given to speakers of the largest indigenous language family in Mesoamerica, who now number 8 million, and to the archaeological cultures in their settlement region. They already inhabited this region in pre-Columbian times, in what is now southern Mexico (Yucatán Peninsula and Chiapas), Belize, Guatemala, western Honduras, and El Salvador. It encompasses the karstic northern lowlands of Yucatán, the hot and humid southern Petén Basin, the highlands o…
Date: 2019-10-14

American indigenous peoples

(6,755 words)

Author(s): Kummels, Ingrid | Grünschloß, Andreas
1. Terminology and methodological approach When the first Europeans were about to set foot on the dual landmass of the Americas the continent was home to an estimated number of 40 or 50 million people, who were characterized by an extraordinary diversity of population density, languages [3. 94] and cultures as well of social, economic and political organization [4]. They ranged from seasonally foraging hunters and gatherers led by informally chosen chiefs to sedentary farmers integrated in comprehensive political systems which included urban centers an…
Date: 2019-10-14