Learn What The Mayans Were Actually Like According To Historians

Although some people perceive Mayans as heart-eating barbarians, they were actually one of the most advanced civilizations in world history. On top of their advanced calendar system, they built roads and water irrigation that reached over 60,000 buildings.

Over the course of four thousand years, the Mayans created art, medicine, pyramids, and ball games. Although Spanish invaders destroyed many Mayan artifacts, scholars continue to discover new historical sites as recently as 2019. Learn how the Mayans lived, worshiped, and wrote, according to historians and archaeologists. The truth may impress you.

The Mayans Never Declared That The World Would End In 2012

Mayan calendar disk on the ground at Tonina, a pre-Columbian archaeological site in Chiapas, Mexico.
Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images
Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images

A popular theory about the Mayans arose in the early 2000s that the calendar ended on December 21, 2012, signaling the end of the world. So why didn’t it happen? Among other reasons, historians assert that the Mayans never predicted the end of the world at all.

The Mayan calendar recycles every 8,000 years, or 2,880,000 days. They never claimed the calendar’s restart would cause a doomsday–that theory stemmed from Western culture’s fascination with Armageddon. They also had two more calendars that were more accurate than that one.