The Mayans considered jade the most precious material.


One subject looked at in KS2 history is the Maya civilisation which flourished in South-Eastern Mexico and other parts of Central America prior to the Spanish conquest.

The Maya are best known for the stepped pyramids they built and their calendar, among other things. The Maya civilisation developed around 1500 BCE. Over the years the Maya created many kingdoms and small empires in what is now South-Eastern Mexico and some smaller countries in Central America. They built huge palaces and temples, and developed a hieroglyphic writing system similar to that used by the Ancient Egyptians. Their pyramids and their hieroglyphs are both like those of Egypt but the two civilisations are separated by thousands of years and thousands of miles of ocean.

How much do you know about the Maya civilisation of Mexico and Central America? Find out with our quiz.

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  1. What did Mayans make books from?
    The bark was processed into a kind of paper called amatl
  2. What did the Mayans consider the most precious material?
    Jade was used to make jewellery and religious objects
  3. Which is the most famous Mayan city?
    The ruins of Chichen Itza still exist and are visited by over a million people a year
  4. What was the Mayan name for a year?
    The Mayan developed their own calendar
  5. What was the name for Mayan writing?
    Hieroglyphic writing was developed by the Mayans before the 3rd century BC and was the most advanced form of writing in the Americas before Europeans settled there
  6. What are the Mayans famous for building?
    They had never seen the Egyptian ones so they cannot have copied
  7. Which was not a food of the Maya?
    Coffee originated in Africa, not the Americas
  8. When did the Maya begin to decline?
    No one knows why some of the Mayan cities began to decline
  9. Who conquered the Maya?
    The Spanish first arrived in the Yucatan in 1517
  10. Where did the Mayans live?
    The Mayans lived in what is now South-Eastern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and the western parts of Honduras and El Salvador

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