Maya Civilization Timeline

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  • 7000 BCE - 2000 BCE
    The Archaic Period in Mesoamerica during which hunter-gatherer culture moved toward agriculture.
  • c. 2600 BCE
    Mayan Culture buries their dead individually under homes.
  • 1200 BCE - 300 BCE
    The Olmec Period which saw the rise of the Olmec culture's work in stone, first major cities appear.
  • c. 700 BCE
    Tomb of Mayan King K'utz Chman of Retalhuleu constructed in Guatemala.
  • 600 BCE - 800 CE
    The Zapotec Period in which writing, mathematics, and astronomy were disseminated. Calendar developed.
  • 331 BCE
    Traditional founding date of Maya Copán.
  • 200 CE - 900 CE
    The Teotihuacan Period in which the city of Teotihuacan dominates as an important religious and cultural center.
  • 250 CE - 900 CE
    The El Tajin Period, so named for the great city of El Tajin. Urban centers proliferate and the game of Pok-a-Tok is developed.
  • 250 CE - 950 CE
    The Classic Maya Period which saw the height of the Maya Civilization in cities such as Chichen Itza, Palenque, Tikal, Copan and Uxmal.
  • 320 CE
    Traditional Maya founding date of Yaxchilan.
  • 331 CE
    Traditional founding date of Maya Copan.
  • 378 CE
    First contact between Teotihuacan and Tikal.
  • 426 CE - 437 CE
    Reign of the first named Copan ruler K'inich Yax K'uk Mo.
  • c. 580 CE - c. 800 CE
    Maya Yaxchilan flourishes.
  • 615 CE - 683 CE
    Reign of Kinich Janaab Pacal I or Pakal the Great, king of Maya Palenque.
  • 682 CE - 734 CE
    Reign of Jasaw Chan K'awiil at Tikal.
  • c. 700 CE
    The Maya city and temple complex of Chacchoben is built.
  • c. 750 CE - c. 1200 CE
    Chichen Itza flourishes in Yucatan, Mexico.
  • c. 800 CE
    The Maya city of Palenque is abandoned.
  • 850 CE - 925 CE
    Uxmal establishes itself as the capital of the Puuc region of Yucatan.
  • c. 900 CE
    Maya Tikal is definitively abandoned.
  • 950 CE - 1524 CE
    The Post-Classic Period in which the cities were abandoned and the region was invaded by the Spanish conquerors.
  • Jul 1524 CE
    The Battle of Utatlan in which the last Maya resistance is crushed by the conquistador Pedro de Alvarado. Traditional date of the end of the Maya Civilization.
  • 12 Jul 1562 CE
    Diego de Landa, Bishop of the Yucatan, burns the books and images of the Maya outside the church at Mani.
  • 1840 CE
    The Maya civilization is discovered by John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood who explore and document the ruins.