Page:Appleton's Guide to Mexico.djvu/63

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35
RUINS.

Baldwin, in Ancient America, p. 101, says: "Near the ruins, . . . in Yucatan, are frequently found the remains of many finely-constructed aguadas, or artificial lakes. The bottoms of these lakes were made of flat stones laid in cement, several layers deep. In Yucatan traces of a very ancient paved road have been found. This road ran north and south, and probably led to cities in the region now covered by the great wilderness. It was raised above the graded level of the ground, and made very smooth."

The same author, on pp. 125, 126, states: "The remains of ancient cities are abundant in the settled portion of Yucatan which lies north of the great forest. Charnay found 'the country covered with them from north to south.' Stephens states, in the preface to his work on Yucatan, that he visited 'forty-four ruined cities or places,' in which such remains are still found, most of which were unknown to white men, even to those inhabiting the country . . .

“Previous to the Spanish Conquest, the region known to us as Yucatan was called Maya. It is still called Maya by the natives among themselves.[1] . . .

"At that time the country was occupied by the people still known as Mayas. . . . Yucatan was then more populous than at present. The people had more civilization, more regular industry, and more wealth. They were much more highly skilled in the arts of civilized life. They had cities and large towns. . . . This peninsula had been the seat of an important feudal monarchy, which arose probably after the Toltecs overthrew the very ancient kingdom of Xibalba. It was broken up by a rebellion of the feudal lords about a hundred years previous to the arrival of the Spaniards. According to the Maya chronicles, its down-fall occurred in the year 1420. Mayapan, the capital of this kingdom, was destroyed at that time, and never afterward inhabited."

  1. The Maya language is spoken in Yucatan at the present day.—A. R. C.