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Uxmal, Nunnery Quadrangle
The Maya people constitute a diverse range of the Native American people of southern Mexico and northern Central America . The overarching term "Maya" is a collective designation to include the peoples of the region who share some degree of cultural and linguistic heritage; however, the term embraces many distinct populations, societies, and ethnic groups, who each have their own particular traditions, cultures, and historical identity. There are an estimated 6 million Maya living in this area at the start of the 21st century. [ 1 ] Maya of Guatemala , southern Mexico and the Yucatán Peninsula , Belize , El Salvador , and western Honduras have managed to maintain substantial remnants of their ancient cultural heritage.
Mesoamerica and its cultural areas. Mesoamerica ( Spanish : Mesoamérica ) is a region and cultural area in the Americas , extending approximately from central Mexico to Belize , Guatemala , El Salvador , Honduras , Nicaragua , and northern Costa Rica , within which a number of pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries. [ 1 ] [ 2 ] As a cultural area, Mesoamerica is defined by a mosaic of cultural traits developed and shared by its indigenous cultures.