Posted by: marjbicknelljohnson | February 10, 2012

Before 1492, th…

Before 1492, the Maya merchant class grew rich as they traveled along the coasts of Central America and the Caribbean Sea. In his ship’s log, Christopher Columbus described an encounter with a Maya trading ship that carried both passengers and cargo, a vessel as long as his galleon and powered by twenty-five pairs of rowers. The Maya valued chocolate and used cacao beans like money, and their rope, made from the fibers of a native cactus, was the best in the world until the invention of synthetic fibers. In fact, their cord was strong enough to carve jade, the toughest mineral in the world.

In the sixteenth century, the Spaniards with their guns and horses made an easy conquest of the Yucatán, even though the Maya resisted them with misinformation, ambushes, and traps. The Maya had a written language and valued books, an advanced culture not appreciated by the conquistadores, who wanted gold. 

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