The Maya people constitute a diverse range of Indigenous Peoples in southern Mexico and northern Central America. The overarching term “Maya” is a convenient collective designation to include the peoples of the region who share some degree of cultural and linguistic heritage; however, the term embraces many distinct populations, societies, and ethnic groups, who each have their own particular traditions, cultures, and historical identity.
There are an estimated 7 million Maya living in this area at the start of the 21st century. Ethnic Maya of Guatemala, southern Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize, El Salvador, and western Honduras have managed to maintain substantial remnants of their ancient cultural heritage. Some are quite integrated into the majority hispanicized Mestizo cultures of the nations in which they reside, while others continue a more traditional culturally distinct life, often speaking one of the Maya languages as a primary language.
The largest populations of contemporary Maya inhabit Guatemala, Belize, and the western portions of Honduras and El Salvador, as well as large segments of population within the Mexican states of Yucatán, Campeche, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, and Chiapas.
Except where otherwise noted, articles on this website are licensed under a Creative Commons License | IC is a publication of the Center for World Indigenous Studies (cwis.org), a 501C(3) based in the United States | Hosting by May First / People Link | IntercontinentalCry.org too hard to spell? Try ICMagazine.org
Send this to a friend
There are over 5000 Indigenous nations in the world. We tell their stories.