- from The Maya
Most of the more than 6 million modern Maya live in rural areas of Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize—areas where their ancestors lived.
Their culture is a mixture of pre-Columbian Indian, European, and modern elements, not purely one or another. (Pre-Columbian means “before Columbus.”)
Today, the Maya are not very well off economically. During a civil war in Guatemala, thousands of highland Indians were killed. Tens of thousands were forced to flee into Mexico. The Maya of Mexico, like many Mexicans, suffer from overpopulation, unemployment, and periods of political unrest. In many places, the Maya have been forced to abandon their native language and dress, and only in rural areas can they continue their past traditions. In Guatemala, Mayan farmers have been crowded onto mountainous areas with poor land. Laborers must work for extremely low wages.
Will the Maya survive this latest onslaught or not? That remains to be seen.