Mexico is an interesting blend of many cultures. It is influenced by the Native American cultures of both the Mayans and the Aztecs, along with many other native peoples who inhabited the lands. It is also heavily influenced by the Spanish who originally colonized Mexico, as well as many other European nations who have come since the Spanish. All of these influences are represented in the art, the statues, the culture and life in general of the Mexican people. They are found on Isla de Cozumel too.
I have been sharing our adventures of Cozumel with you since our return home. And I am not done yet. Today, I am sharing some of the art that tells the stories of how Mexico transformed into what it is today. These tributes are all found in the city area of San Miguel.
Cozumel is the land of the swallows, though ironically, I did not see as many swallows as I did other birds.
The Mayans. The Maya developed their first civilization in the Preclassic period. … The northern lowlands of Yucatán were widely settled by the Middle Preclassic. The Maya Empire, centered in the tropical lowlands of what is now Guatemala, reached the peak of its power and influence around the sixth century A.D. The Maya excelled at agriculture, pottery, hieroglyph writing, calendar-making and mathematics, and left behind an astonishing amount of impressive architecture and symbolic artwork. Most of the great stone cities of the Maya were abandoned by A.D. 900. The Maya civilization was one of the most dominant Indigenous societies of Mesoamerica (a term used to describe Mexico and Central America before the 16th century Spanish conquest).
Just like any culture though, the Mayans had their dark side too. There are many scenes of wars, massacres, and human sacrifices carved into stone and left behind on public buildings. The Ancient Mayans were fierce warriors. The warfare between city-states got so bad that many believe that it had much to do with the eventual decline and fall of the Maya civilization.
In the 16th century, the Spanish came to Mexico and brought many cultural changes to the land, including the Spanish language, the religion of Catholicism and many Spanish and European customs. The simple life in Mexico and Cozumel had been forever changed from this time on.
These reminders of bygone days are found all over Cozumel. But there are also signs of what Cozumel is today. Today, it is a major tourist destination and a Mecca to divers from around the world. This too is represented in their art.
Life happens and so does change. Changes can be good and they can be bad, but they are going to happen no matter what course we take. The only constant is change. We adapt and move on. That’s all we can do.