Most of the Mayan people were farmers. The main staple of their diet was corn also known as maize. Other things that they grew were beans, squash, avocado pear, avocado, sweet potato, guava, chili peppers, cocoa beans, vanilla beans, papaya and tomatoes. They would also eat fruits from trees.
The Mayans used a farming technique called milpa, also known as slash and burn. They would clear the land by cutting down and burning all of the foliage in the spring before the summer rains. Then they would plant their crops by poking digging sticks into the ground and planting the seeds in the holes. The slash and burn technique means that the fields would only be fertile for a few years. The Mayans practiced crop rotation to get more growing seasons out of the field.
Another farming technique used by the Mayans was terracing. They would build stone walls to level out fields in mountainous areas.
Most of the plants grown by the Mayans were for food. Other plants were grown to make dyes for clothing and chewing gum from the Sapodilla tree. The Mayans also grew plants to make medicines to heal people. They would cut down timber from the jungle to build houses and temples.
In addition to farming the Mayans raised dogs, turkeys and ducks for food. They also used the feathers from the turkeys and ducks for clothes. The Mayans raised bees to make honey. In the wild they hunted deer, rabbits, boar, armadillos and they fished. They also ate fish, turtles, iguanas and insects. The Mayans used every part of the animal for food, clothing and tools. This is very similar to the Native Americans in our country.
The main part of the Mayans diet was corn or maize. The woman would grind the corn into flour and then make a paste. Then they baked it into a tortilla, similar to a taco shell.
The Mayan family all lived together. The men farmed and hunted. The women would cook and weave. The children helped out their mothers with the chores and only went to school if they came from a noble family.
The Mayans had a class system of people, which meant that the people at the top governed over the people at the bottom. At the top were the nobles with the King being the most powerful. The King's power was hereditary which means that the oldest son would become the King when he died. The King appointed the other people. The next most powerful were the priests who helped the king and also lead religious ceremonies. The next level of people was the commoners. Most people were in this commoner category and were farmers. The bottom of the system was the slaves. Slaves were caught during wars or if people broke a law like stealing they would become a slave.