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Peachdog Jones: Poet Runner Guy

Mayan Contributions to Our World

Current Events, Education, History

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OK, time to step back from the satire a bit and deliver some facts:

There has been plenty of ridicule thrown at the Maya regarding the fact that the “end of the world” did not occur on December 21, 2012, as has been overhyped for several years now.  But the Maya were not (and are not) ignorant.  According to some interpretations, December 21, 2012 marked the end of the Maya “long count,” a calendar system that tracked 5,128-year periods.  But the long count system had fallen out of use prior to European intervention in the Western Hemisphere anyway.

Regardless, the “end of the world” that supposedly was associated with last Friday was not the Western interpretation of the end of the world, complete with fireballs, destruction, and apocalyptic chaos.  This was merely the end of a cycle, and thus a new beginning–the start of a new era.  This is a positive thing.

But most of all, indigineous peoples should not be blamed for the idiocy of those who misinterpreted the Maya, or for the idiocy of those who believed or acquiesced in those misinterpretations.  The fact is that the Maya, like the thousands of other groups of American Indian peoples that existed and still exist, contibuted and continue to contribute much to our world–this is an idea quite the opposite of what the typical textbook and classroom perpetuates.  Unfortunately, it’s no surprise that blame has been cast on Native peoples for this failed apocalypse, with the rampant ignorance of the non-Native world toward the histories of the original peoples of the Western Hemisphere.

For the record, below is a list of Mayan contributions to our world.  The list does not necessarily reflect the Maya as the sole contributors as these items; some contributions are shared with other Native groups.  For details on these contributions and other excellent information about the Maya and other American Indian peoples, see Emory Dean Keoke & Kay Marie Porterfield, American Indian Contributions to the World: 15,000 Years of Inventions and Innovations (2003).

List of Mayan Contributions to Our World

Abacus

Abstract Art

Agriculture

Raised Bed Agriculture 

Recorded American History

Aquaculture

Corbeled Arches

Architects

Aromatheraphy

Arrowroot

Astronomy

Avocados

Rubber Balls

Balsa Wood

Barbecues

Base 20 Mathematical System

Basketball

Beans

Beekeeping

Blowguns

Board Games

Books

Cacao

Calendars

Cat’s Cradle

Chewing Gum

Chiles

Chocolate

Cigars

America’s First Cities

Cochineal

Colanders

Concrete

Cornmeal

Cotton

Crop Storage

Dental Inlays

Dentistry

Dog Breeds

Metal Drill Bits

Bow Drills

Muscovy Ducks

Embroidery

Fans

Terraced Farming

Featherworking

Flintknapping

Food Coloring

Food Preservation

Geometry

Sports Helmets

Hominy

Indigestion Medications

Insect Repellents

Instant Foods

Jade Work

Turquoise and Silver Jewelry

Jicama

Lighthouses

Mercury

Milpa

Mummies

Murals

Musical Instruments

Orchards

Paper

Parrot Breeding

Tobacco Pipes

Pottery

Prescriptions

Pulleys

Pyramids

Road Systems

Sandals

Squash

Steam Rooms

Stonemasonry Techniques

Stretchers

Tamales

Tarpaulins

Tax Systems

Tobacco

Tomatoes

Tortillas

Toys

Traction and Countertraction

Trade

Trephination

Copper Tubing

Turkey Breeding

Umbrellas

Urban Planning

Water Conservation

Weaving Techniques

Women’s Rights

Writing Systems

 

 

 

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