Mayan civilization developed in the lowlands of Guatemala, Belize, Mexico and Honduras. There staple food was maize. They slowly developed a series of city-states. By 700 CE there were about 25 independent states each numbering around 30,000. The Mayans developed large tomb pyramids as high as 250 feet. The largest of the Mayan cities was Tikal it covered 32 square miles and included six temple complexes.

A ruler who was supposed to have descended from the gods ruled the Mayan civilization. He or in some cases she bound the universe together. The Mayans believed in ritual human sacrifice. The shedding of blood was especially important to Mayan rituals.

The Mayan city-states often waged war against each other. Their wars were many times conducted to secure captives for ritual sacrifice.