The Mesoamerican ballgame was a sport with ritual associations played since 1400 B. C. by the pre-Columbian people of Ancient Mesoamerica. The sport had different versions in different places during the millennia, a newer more modern version of the game, ulama, is still played in a few places by the indigenous population; the rules of the game are not known, but judging from its descendant, they were similar to racquetball, where the aim is to keep the ball in play. The stone ballcourt goals are a late addition to the game. In the most common theory of the game, the players struck the ball with their hips, although some versions allowed the use of forearms, bats, or handstones; the ball was made of solid rubber and weighed as much as 4 kg, sizes differed over time or according to the version played. The game had important ritual aspects, major formal ballgames were held as ritual events. Late in the history of the game, some cultures seem to have combined competitions with religious human sacrifice.
The sport was played casually for recreation by children and may have been played by women as well. Pre-Columbian ballcourts have been found throughout Mesoamerica, as for example at Copán, as far south as modern Nicaragua, as far north as what is now the U. S. state of Arizona. These ballcourts vary in size, but all have long narrow alleys with slanted side-walls against which the balls could bounce; the Mesoamerican ballgame is known by a wide variety of names. In English, it is called pok-ta-pok; this term originates from a 1932 article by Danish archaeologist Frans Blom, who adapted it from the Yucatec Maya word pokolpok. In Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, it was called tlachtli. In Classical Maya, it was known as pitz. In modern Spanish, it is called juego de pelota maya, juego de pelota mesoamericano, or pelota maya, it is not known when or where ōllamaliztli originated, although it is that the game originated earlier than 1400 BCE in the low-lying tropical zones home to the rubber tree.
One candidate for the birthplace of the ballgame is the Soconusco coastal lowlands along the Pacific Ocean. Here, at Paso de la Amada, archaeologists have found the oldest ballcourt yet discovered, dated to 1400 BCE; the other major candidate is the Olmec heartland, across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec along the Gulf Coast. The Aztecs referred to their Postclassic contemporaries who inhabited the region as the Olmeca since the region was identified with latex production; the earliest-known rubber balls come from the sacrificial bog at El Manatí, an early Olmec-associated site located in the hinterland of the Coatzacoalcos River drainage system. Villagers, subsequently archaeologists, have recovered a dozen balls ranging in diameter from 10 to 22 cm from the freshwater spring there. Five of these balls have been dated to the earliest-known occupational phase for the site 1700–1600 BCE; these rubber balls were found with other ritual offerings buried at the site, indicating that at this early date ōllamaliztli had religious and ritual connotations.
A stone "yoke" of the type associated with Mesoamerican ballcourts was reported to have been found by local villagers at the site, leaving open the distinct possibility that these rubber balls were related to the ritual ballgame, not an independent form of sacrificial offering. Excavations at the nearby Olmec site of San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán have uncovered a number of ballplayer figurines, radiocarbon-dated as far back as 1250–1150 BCE. A rudimentary ballcourt, dated to a occupation at San Lorenzo, 600–400 BCE, has been identified. From the tropical lowlands, ōllamaliztli moved into central Mexico. Starting around 1000 BCE or earlier, ballplayer figurines were interred with burials at Tlatilco and styled figurines from the same period have been found at the nearby Tlapacoya site, it was about this period, as well, that the so-called Xochipala-style ballplayer figurines were crafted in Guerrero. Although no ballcourts of similar age have been found in Tlatilco or Tlapacoya, it is possible that the ballgame was indeed played in these areas, but on courts with perishable boundaries or temporary court markers.
By 300 BCE, evidence for ōllamaliztli appears throughout much of the Mesoamerican archaeological record, including ballcourts in the Central Chiapas Valley, in the Oaxaca Valley, as well as ceramic ballgame tableaus from Western Mexico As might be expected with a game played over such a long period of time by many cultures, details varied over time and place, so the Mesoamerican ballgame might be more seen as a family of related games. In general, the hip-ball version is most popularly thought of as the Mesoamerican ballgame, researchers believe that this version was the primary—or only—version played within the masonry ballcourt. Ample archaeological evidence exists for games where the ball was struck by a wooden stick, racquets and batons, the forearm at times in combination; each of the various types of games had its own size of ball, specialized gear and playing field, rules. Games were played between two teams of players; the number of players per team could vary, between two to four. Some games were played on makeshift courts for simple recreation while others were formal spectacles on huge stone ballcourts leading to human sacrifice.
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Mesoamerican pyramids or pyramid-shaped structures form a prominent part of ancient Mesoamerican architecture. Although similar to each other in some ways these New World structures with their flat tops and their stairs bear only a weak architectural resemblance to Egyptian pyramids; the Mesoamerican region's largest pyramid by volume – the largest pyramid in the world by volume – is the Great Pyramid of Cholula, in the east-central Mexican state of Puebla. The builders of certain classic Mesoamerican pyramids have decorated them copiously with stories about the Hero Twins, the feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl, Mesoamerican creation myths, ritualistic sacrifice, etc.written in the form of hieroglyphs on the rises of the steps of the pyramids, on the walls, on the sculptures contained within. The Aztecs, a people with a rich mythology and cultural heritage, dominated central Mexico in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, their capital was Tenochtitlan on the shore of Lake Texcoco – the site of modern-day Mexico City.
They were related to the preceding cultures in the basin of Mexico such as the culture of Teotihuacan whose building style they adopted and adapted. El Tepozteco Malinalco Santa Cecilia Acatitlan Templo Mayor Tenayuca Tenochtitlan The Maya are a people of southern Mexico and northern Central America with some 3,000 years of history. Archaeological evidence shows the Maya started to build ceremonial architecture 3,000 years ago; the earliest monuments consisted of simple burial mounds, the precursors to the spectacular stepped pyramids from the Terminal Pre-classic period and beyond. These pyramids relied on intricate carved stone. Many of these structures featured a top platform upon which a smaller dedicatory building was constructed, associated with a particular Maya deity. Maya pyramid-like structures were erected to serve as a place of interment for powerful rulers. Maya pyramidal structures occur in a great variety of forms and functions, bounded by regional and periodical differences. Aguateca Altun Ha Calakmul Caracol Chichen Itza Cholula Comalcalco Copan Dos Pilas Edzna El Mirador El Tigre La Danta Kaminaljuyu Lamanai La Venta Los Monos Lubaantun Moral_Reforma Nim Li Punit Palenque: Temple of the Inscriptions Tazumal Tikal: Tikal Temple I.
The region is inhabited by the modern descendants of the Purépecha. Purépechan architecture is noted for "T"-shaped step pyramids known as yácatas. Tzintzuntzan The Teotihuacan civilization, which flourished from around 300 BCE to 500 CE, at its greatest extent included most of Mesoamerica. Teotihuacano culture collapsed around 550 and was followed by several large city-states such as Xochicalco and the ceremonial site of Tula. El Castillo & High Priest's Temple in Chichen Itza Pyramids of the Sun, the Moon and Temple of the Feathered Serpent in Teotihuacan Xochicalco Tula Talud-tablero The site called Tula, the Toltec capitol, in the state of Mexico is one of the best preserved five-tier pyramids in Mesoamerican civilization; the ground plan of the site has two pyramids, Pyramid B and Pyramid C. The best known Classic Veracruz pyramid, the Pyramid of Niches in El Tajín, is smaller than those of their neighbours and successors but more intricate. El Tajín The Zapotecs were one of the earliest Mesoamerican cultures and held sway over the Valley of Oaxaca region from the early first millennium BCE to about the 14th century.
Monte Albán Mitla The following sites are from northern Mesoamerica, built by cultures whose ethnic affiliations are unknown: This astronomical and ceremonial center was the product of the Chalchihuite culture. Its occupation and development had a period of 800 years; this zone is considered an important archaeological center because of the astonishing, accurate functions of the edifications. The ones that stand out the most are: The Moon Plaza, The Votive Pyramid, the Ladder of Gamio and The labyrinth. In The Labyrinth you can appreciate with precision and accuracy, the respective equinoxes and the seasons. A great quantity of buildings were constructed on artificial terraces upon the slopes of a hill; the materials used here include stone clay. The most important structures are: The Hall of Columns, The Ball Court, The Votive Pyramid, The Palace and the Barracks. On the most elevated part of the hill is The Fortress; this is composed of a small pyramid and a platform, encircled by a wall, more than 800m long and up to six feet high.
La Quemada was occupied from 800 to 1200. Their founders and occupants have not been identified with certainty but belonged to either the Chalchihuites culture or that of the neighbouring Malpaso culture. List of Mesoamerican pyramids Egyptian pyramids Mesoamerican architecture Pyramid Platform mound South American pyramids Step pyramid Triadic pyramid Ziggurat Meso-American pyramids Photos and descriptions of Yaxha, Edzna, El Mirador and other Meso-American pyramids
Maya script known as Maya glyphs, was the writing system of the Maya civilization of Mesoamerica and is the only Mesoamerican writing system, deciphered. The earliest inscriptions found which are identifiably Maya date to the 3rd century BCE in San Bartolo, Guatemala. Maya writing was in continuous use throughout Mesoamerica until the Spanish conquest of the Maya in the 16th and 17th centuries. Maya writing used logograms complemented with a set of syllabic glyphs, somewhat similar in function to modern Japanese writing. Maya writing was called "hieroglyphics" or hieroglyphs by early European explorers of the 18th and 19th centuries who did not understand it but found its general appearance reminiscent of Egyptian hieroglyphs, to which the Maya writing system is not at all related. Modern Mayan languages are written using the Latin alphabet rather than Maya script. Evidence suggests that codices and other classic texts were written by scribes—usually members of the Maya priesthood—in Classic Maya, a literary form of the extinct Chʼoltiʼ language.
It is possible that the Maya elite spoke this language as a lingua franca over the entire Maya-speaking area, but texts were written in other Mayan languages of the Petén and Yucatán Yucatec. There is some evidence that the script may have been used to write Mayan languages of the Guatemalan Highlands. However, if other languages were written, they may have been written by Chʼoltiʼ scribes, therefore have Chʼoltiʼ elements. Mayan writing consisted of a elaborate set of glyphs, which were laboriously painted on ceramics and bark-paper codices, carved in wood and stone, molded in stucco. Carved and molded glyphs were painted, but the paint has survived. In 2008, the sound of about 80% of Maya writing could be read and the meaning of about 60% could be understood with varying degrees of certainty, enough to give a comprehensive idea of its structure. Maya texts were written in blocks arranged in columns two blocks wide, with each block corresponding to a noun or verb phrase; the blocks within the columns were read left to right, top to bottom, would be repeated until there were no more columns left.
Within a block, glyphs were arranged left-to-right. Glyphs were sometimes conflated into ligatures, where an element of one glyph would replace part of a second. In place of the standard block configuration, Maya was sometimes written in a single row or column, or in an'L' or'T' shape; these variations most appeared when they would better fit the surface being inscribed. The Maya script was a logosyllabic system with some syllabogramatic elements. Individual glyphs or symbols could represent either a morpheme or a syllable, the same glyph could be used for both; because of these dual readings, it is customary to write logographic readings in ALL CAPS and phonetic readings in italics. For example, a calendaric glyph can be read as the syllable chi. Glyphs used as syllabograms were logograms for single-syllable words those that ended in a vowel or in a weak consonant such as y, w, h, or glottal stop. For example, the logogram for'fish fin'—found in two forms, as a fish fin and as a fish with prominent fins—was read as and came to represent the syllable ka.
These syllabic glyphs performed two primary functions: as phonetic complements to disambiguate logograms which had more than one reading. For example, bʼalam'jaguar' could be written as a single logogram, BʼALAM. In addition, some syllable glyphs were homophones, such as the 6 different glyphs used to write the common third person pronoun u-, it is possible, but not certain, that these conflicting readings arose as the script was adapted to new languages. Phonetic glyphs stood for simple vowel-only syllables. However, Mayan phonotactics is more complicated than this. Most Mayan words end with consonants, there may be sequences of two consonants within a word as well, as in xolteʼ, CVCCVC; when these final consonants were sonorants or gutturals they were sometimes ignored. More final consonants were written, which meant that an extra vowel was written as well; this was an "echo" vowel that repeated the vowel of the previous syllable. For example, the word ` fish fin' would be written in full as ka-ha.
However, there are many cases where some other vowel was used, the orthographic rules for this are only understood. Lacadena & Wichmann proposed the following conventions: A CVC syllable was written CV-CV, where the two vowels were the same: yo-po'leaf' A syllable with a long vowel was written CV-Ci, unless the long vowel was, in which case it was written CiCa: ba-ki'captive', yi-tzi-na'younger brother' A syllable with a glottalized vowel was written with a final a if the vowel was, or with a final u if the vowel was or: hu-na'paper', ba-tzʼu'howler monkey'. Preconsonantal is not indicated. In short, if the vowels are the same, a simple vowel is intended. If the vowels
The Maya civilization was a Mesoamerican civilization developed by the Maya peoples, noted for its logosyllabic script—the most sophisticated and developed writing system in pre-Columbian Americas—as well as for its art, mathematics and astronomical system. The Maya civilization developed in an area that encompasses southeastern Mexico, all of Guatemala and Belize, the western portions of Honduras and El Salvador; this region consists of the northern lowlands encompassing the Yucatán Peninsula, the highlands of the Sierra Madre, running from the Mexican state of Chiapas, across southern Guatemala and onwards into El Salvador, the southern lowlands of the Pacific littoral plain. The Archaic period, prior to 2000 BC, saw the first developments in agriculture and the earliest villages; the Preclassic period saw the establishment of the first complex societies in the Maya region, the cultivation of the staple crops of the Maya diet, including maize, beans and chili peppers. The first Maya cities developed around 750 BC, by 500 BC these cities possessed monumental architecture, including large temples with elaborate stucco façades.
Hieroglyphic writing was being used in the Maya region by the 3rd century BC. In the Late Preclassic a number of large cities developed in the Petén Basin, the city of Kaminaljuyu rose to prominence in the Guatemalan Highlands. Beginning around 250 AD, the Classic period is defined as when the Maya were raising sculpted monuments with Long Count dates; this period saw the Maya civilization develop a large number of city-states linked by a complex trade network. In the Maya Lowlands two great rivals, the cities of Tikal and Calakmul, became powerful; the Classic period saw the intrusive intervention of the central Mexican city of Teotihuacan in Maya dynastic politics. In the 9th century, there was a widespread political collapse in the central Maya region, resulting in internecine warfare, the abandonment of cities, a northward shift of population; the Postclassic period saw the rise of Chichen Itza in the north, the expansion of the aggressive Kʼicheʼ kingdom in the Guatemalan Highlands. In the 16th century, the Spanish Empire colonized the Mesoamerican region, a lengthy series of campaigns saw the fall of Nojpetén, the last Maya city, in 1697.
Classic period rule was centred on the concept of the "divine king", who acted as a mediator between mortals and the supernatural realm. Kingship was patrilineal, power would pass to the eldest son. A prospective king was expected to be a successful war leader. Maya politics was dominated by a closed system of patronage, although the exact political make-up of a kingdom varied from city-state to city-state. By the Late Classic, the aristocracy had increased, resulting in the corresponding reduction in the exclusive power of the divine king; the Maya civilization developed sophisticated artforms, the Maya created art using both perishable and non-perishable materials, including wood, obsidian, sculpted stone monuments and finely painted murals. Maya cities tended to expand haphazardly, the city centre would be occupied by ceremonial and administrative complexes, surrounded by an irregular sprawl of residential districts. Different parts of a city would be linked by causeways; the principal architecture of the city consisted of palaces, pyramid-temples, ceremonial ballcourts, structures aligned for astronomical observation.
The Maya elite were literate, developed a complex system of hieroglyphic writing, the most advanced in the pre-Columbian Americas. The Maya recorded their history and ritual knowledge in screenfold books, of which only three uncontested examples remain, the rest having been destroyed by the Spanish. There are a great many examples of Maya text found on stelae and ceramics; the Maya developed a complex series of interlocking ritual calendars, employed mathematics that included one of the earliest instances of the explicit zero in the world. As a part of their religion, the Maya practised human sacrifice; the Maya civilization developed within the Mesoamerican cultural area, which covers a region that spreads from northern Mexico southwards into Central America. Mesoamerica was one of six cradles of civilization worldwide; the Mesoamerican area gave rise to a series of cultural developments that included complex societies, cities, monumental architecture and calendrical systems. The set of traits shared by Mesoamerican cultures included astronomical knowledge and human sacrifice, a cosmovision that viewed the world as divided into four divisions aligned with the cardinal directions, each with different attributes, a three-way division of the world into the celestial realm, the earth, the underworld.
By 6000 BC, the early inhabitants of Mesoamerica were experimenting with the domestication of plants, a process that led to the establishment of sedentary agricultural societies. The diverse climate allowed for wide variation in available crops, but all regions of Mesoamerica cultivated the base crops of maize and squashes. All Mesoamerican cultures used Stone Age technology. Mesoamerica lacked draft animals, did not use the wheel, possessed few domesticated animals. Mesoamericans viewed the world as hostile and governed by unpredictable deities; the ritual Mesoamerican ballgame was played. Mesoamerica is linguistically diverse, with most languages falling within a small number of language families—the major families are Mayan, Mixe–Zoquean and Uto-Aztecan.
History of the Maya civilization
The history of Maya civilization is divided into three principal periods: the Preclassic and Postclassic periods. Modern scholars regard these periods as arbitrary divisions of chronology of the Maya civilization, rather than indicative of cultural evolution or decadence. Definitions of the start and end dates of period spans can vary by as much as a century, depending on the author; the Preclassic lasted from 2000 BC to 250 AD. Each period is further subdivided: The Maya developed their first civilization in the Preclassic period. Scholars continue to discuss. Discoveries of Maya occupation at Cuello, Belize have been carbon dated to around 2600 BC. Settlements were established around 1800 BC in the Soconusco region of the Pacific coast, they were cultivating the staple crops of the Maya diet, including maize, beans and chili pepper; this period, known as the Early Preclassic, was characterized by sedentary communities and the introduction of pottery and fired clay figurines. During the Middle Preclassic Period, small villages began to grow to form cities.
By 500 BC these cities possessed large temple structures decorated with stucco masks representing gods. Nakbe in the Petén Department of Guatemala is the earliest well-documented city in the Maya lowlands, where large structures have been dated to around 750 BC. Nakbe featured the monumental masonry architecture, sculpted monuments and causeways that characterised cities in the Maya lowlands; the northern lowlands of Yucatán were settled by the Middle Preclassic. By 400 BC, near the end of the Middle Preclassic period, early Maya rulers were raising stelae that celebrated their achievements and validated their right to rule. Murals excavated in 2005 have pushed back the origin of Maya writing by several centuries, with a developed script being used at San Bartolo in Petén by the 3rd century BC, it is now evident that the Maya participated in the wider development of Mesoamerican writing in the Preclassic. In the Late Preclassic Period, the enormous city of El Mirador grew to cover 16 square kilometres.
It possessed paved avenues, massive triadic pyramid complexes dated to around 150 BC, stelae and altars that were erected in its plazas. El Mirador is considered to be one of the first capital cities of the Maya civilization; the swamps of the Mirador Basin appear to have been the primary attraction for the first inhabitants of the area as evidenced by the unusual cluster of large cities around them. The city of Tikal to be one of the most important of the Classic Period Maya cities, was a significant city by around 350 BC, although it did not match El Mirador; the Late Preclassic cultural florescence collapsed in the 1st century AD and many of the great Maya cities of the epoch were abandoned. In the highlands, Kaminaljuyu emerged as a principal centre in the Late Preclassic, linking the Pacific coastal trade routes with the Motagua River route, as well as demonstrating increased contact with other sites along the Pacific coast. Kaminaljuyu was situated at a crossroads and controlled the trade routes westwards to the Gulf coast, north into the highlands, along the Pacific coastal plain to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and El Salvador.
This gave it control over the distribution networks for important goods such as jade and cinnabar. Within this extended trade route, Takalik Abaj and Kaminaljuyu appear to have been the two principal foci; the early Maya style of sculpture spread throughout this network. Takalik Abaj and Chocolá were two of the most important cities on the Pacific coastal plain during the Late Preclassic, Komchen grew to become an important site in northern Yucatán during the Preclassic; the Classic period is defined as the period during which the lowland Maya raised dated monuments using the Long Count calendar. This period marked the peak of large-scale construction and urbanism, the recording of monumental inscriptions, demonstrated significant intellectual and artistic development in the southern lowland regions; the Classic period Maya political landscape has been likened to that of Renaissance Italy or Classical Greece, with multiple city-states engaged in a complex network of alliances and enmities. During the Classic Period, the Maya civilization achieved its greatest florescence.
The Maya developed an agriculturally intensive, city-centred civilization consisting of numerous independent city-states – some subservient to others. During the Early Classic, cities throughout the Maya region were influenced by the great metropolis of Teotihuacan in the distant Valley of Mexico. In AD 378, Teotihuacan decisively intervened at Tikal and other nearby cities, deposed its ruler and installed a new Teotihuacan-backed dynasty; this intervention was led by Siyaj Kʼakʼ, who arrived at Tikal on 184.108.40.206.12. The king of Tikal, Chak Tok Ichʼaak I, died on the same day. A year Siyaj Kʼakʼ oversaw the installation of a new king, Yax Nuun Ayiin I; the new king's father was Spearthrower Owl, who possessed a central Mexican name, may have been the king of either Teotihuacan, or Kaminaljuyu. The installation of the new dynasty led to a period of political dominance when Tikal became the most powerful city in the central lowlands. At its height during the Late Classic, the Tikal city polity had expanded to have a population of well over 1
Spanish conquest of Petén
The Spanish conquest of Petén was the last stage of the conquest of Guatemala, a prolonged conflict during the Spanish colonisation of the Americas. A wide lowland plain covered with dense rainforest, Petén contains a central drainage basin with a series of lakes and areas of savannah, it is crossed by several ranges of low karstic hills and rises to the south as it nears the Guatemalan Highlands. The conquest of Petén, a region now incorporated into the modern republic of Guatemala, climaxed in 1697 with the capture of Nojpetén, the island capital of the Itza kingdom, by Martín de Ursúa y Arizmendi. With the defeat of the Itza, the last independent and unconquered native kingdom in the Americas fell to European colonisers. Sizeable Maya populations existed in Petén before the conquest around the central lakes and along the rivers. Petén was divided into different Maya polities engaged in a complex web of enmities; the most important groups around the central lakes were the Yalain and the Kowoj.
Other groups with territories in Petén included the Kejache, the Acala, the Lakandon Chʼol, the Xocmo, the Chinamita, the Icaiche and the Manche Chʼol. Petén was first penetrated by Hernán Cortés with a sizeable expedition that crossed the territory from north to south in 1525. In the first half of the 16th century, Spain established neighbouring colonies in Yucatán to the north and Guatemala to the south. Spanish missionaries laid the groundwork for the extension of colonial administration in the extreme south of Petén from 1596 onwards, but no further Spanish entry of central Petén took place until 1618 and 1619 when missionaries arrived at the Itza capital, having travelled from the Spanish town of Mérida in Yucatán. In 1622 a military expedition set out from Yucatán led by Captain Francisco de Mirones and accompanied by Franciscan friar Diego Delgado. In 1628 the Manche Chʼol of the south were placed under the administration of the colonial governor of Verapaz within the Captaincy General of Guatemala.
The Manche Chʼol unsuccessfully rebelled against Spanish control in 1633. In 1695 a military expedition tried to reach Lake Petén Itzá from Guatemala; the modern department of Petén is located in northern Guatemala. It is bordered on the west by the Mexican state of Chiapas. On the north side Petén is bordered by the Mexican state of Campeche and on the northwest by the Mexican state of Tabasco; the Petén lowlands are formed by a densely forested low-lying limestone plain featuring karstic topography. The area is crossed by low east–west oriented ridges of Cenozoic limestone and is characterised by a variety of forest and soil types. A chain of fourteen lakes runs across the central drainage basin of Petén; this drainage area measures 100 kilometres east–west by 30 kilometres north–south. The largest lake is Lake Petén Itzá, near the centre of the drainage basin. A broad savannah extends south of the central lakes; the savannah features a compact red clay soil, too poor to support heavy cultivation, which resulted in a low level of pre-Columbian occupation.
It is surrounded by hills with gentler northern approaches. To the north of the lakes region bajos become more frequent. In the far north of Petén the Mirador Basin forms another interior drainage region. To the south Petén reaches an altitude of 500 metres as it rises towards the Guatemalan Highlands and meets Paleozoic metamorphic rocks; the climate of Petén is divided into wet and dry seasons, with the rainy season lasting from June to December, although these seasons are not defined in the south. The climate varies from tropical in the south to semitropical in the north. Mean temperature varies from 24.3 °C in the southeast around Poptún to 26.9 °C around Uaxactún in the northeast. Highest temperatures are reached from April to June, January is the coldest month. Annual precipitation is high, varying from a mean of 1,198 millimetres in the northeast to 2,007 millimetres in central Petén around Flores; the extreme southeast of Petén experiences the largest variations in temperature and rainfall, with precipitation reaching as much as 3,000 millimetres in a year.
The first large Maya cities developed in Petén as far back as the Middle Preclassic, Petén formed the heartland of the ancient Maya civilization during the Classic period. The great cities that dominated Petén had fallen into ruin by the beginning of the 10th century AD with the onset of the Classic Maya collapse. A significant Maya presence remained into the Postclassic period after the abandonment of the major Classic period cities.
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin is a public research university in Austin, Texas. It is the flagship institution of the University of Texas System; the University of Texas was inducted into the Association of American Universities in 1929, becoming only the third university in the American South to be elected. The institution has the nation's eighth-largest single-campus enrollment, with over 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students and over 24,000 faculty and staff. A Public Ivy, it is a major center for academic research, with research expenditures exceeding $615 million for the 2016–2017 school year; the university houses seven museums and seventeen libraries, including the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum and the Blanton Museum of Art, operates various auxiliary research facilities, such as the J. J. Pickle Research Campus and the McDonald Observatory. Among university faculty are recipients of the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, the Wolf Prize, the Primetime Emmy Award, the Turing Award, the National Medal of Science, as well as many other awards.
As of October 2018, 11 Nobel Prize winners, 2 Turing Award winners and 1 Fields medalist have been affiliated with the school as alumni, faculty members or researchers. Student athletes are members of the Big 12 Conference, its Longhorn Network is the only sports network featuring the college sports of a single university. The Longhorns have won four NCAA Division I National Football Championships, six NCAA Division I National Baseball Championships, thirteen NCAA Division I National Men's Swimming and Diving Championships, has claimed more titles in men's and women's sports than any other school in the Big 12 since the league was founded in 1996; the first mention of a public university in Texas can be traced to the 1827 constitution for the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas. Although Title 6, Article 217 of the Constitution promised to establish public education in the arts and sciences, no action was taken by the Mexican government. After Texas obtained its independence from Mexico in 1836, the Texas Congress adopted the Constitution of the Republic, under Section 5 of its General Provisions, stated "It shall be the duty of Congress, as soon as circumstances will permit, to provide, by law, a general system of education."On April 18, 1838, "An Act to Establish the University of Texas" was referred to a special committee of the Texas Congress, but was not reported back for further action.
On January 26, 1839, the Texas Congress agreed to set aside fifty leagues of land—approximately 288,000 acres —towards the establishment of a publicly funded university. In addition, 40 acres in the new capital of Austin were reserved and designated "College Hill." In 1845, Texas was annexed into the United States. The state's Constitution of 1845 failed to mention higher education. On February 11, 1858, the Seventh Texas Legislature approved O. B. 102, an act to establish the University of Texas, which set aside $100,000 in United States bonds toward construction of the state's first publicly funded university. The legislature designated land reserved for the encouragement of railroad construction toward the university's endowment. On January 31, 1860, the state legislature, wanting to avoid raising taxes, passed an act authorizing the money set aside for the University of Texas to be used for frontier defense in west Texas to protect settlers from Indian attacks. Texas's secession from the Union and the American Civil War delayed repayment of the borrowed monies.
At the end of the Civil War in 1865, The University of Texas's endowment was just over $16,000 in warrants and nothing substantive had been done to organize the university's operations. This effort to establish a University was again mandated by Article 7, Section 10 of the Texas Constitution of 1876 which directed the legislature to "establish and provide for the maintenance and direction of a university of the first class, to be located by a vote of the people of this State, styled "The University of Texas."Additionally, Article 7, Section 11 of the 1876 Constitution established the Permanent University Fund, a sovereign wealth fund managed by the Board of Regents of the University of Texas and dedicated for the maintenance of the university. Because some state legislators perceived an extravagance in the construction of academic buildings of other universities, Article 7, Section 14 of the Constitution expressly prohibited the legislature from using the state's general revenue to fund construction of university buildings.
Funds for constructing university buildings had to come from the university's endowment or from private gifts to the university, but the university's operating expenses could come from the state's general revenues. The 1876 Constitution revoked the endowment of the railroad lands of the Act of 1858, but dedicated 1,000,000 acres of land, along with other property appropriated for the university, to the Permanent University Fund; this was to the detriment of the university as the lands the Constitution of 1876 granted the university represented less than 5% of the value of the lands granted to the university under the Act of 1858. The more valuable lands reverted to the fund to support general educat