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  • The Maya today number about six million people, making them the largest single block of indigenous peoples north of Peru. Some of the largest Maya groups are found in Mexico, the most important of these being the Yucatecs (300,000), the Tzotzil (120,000) and the Tzeltal (80,000).
  • The Yucatecs live on the warm and tropical Yucatán Peninsula, and the Tzotzil and Tzeltal live in the highlands of Chiapas.
  • In spite of modernization and intermarriage between the indigenous population and Spanish immigrants, many Maya communities have succeeded in preserving their identity and their ways. This is partly because, throughout their history, the Maya have been confined to a single unbroken area including parts of southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and the western edges of Honduras and El Salvador.
  • The Maya have managed to maintain many of the old ways in agriculture and trade. Like their ancestors, most Maya households engage in corn farming and many produce crafts, such as woven textiles, for sale in markets. Unlike their pre-Conquest ancestors, however, many of the men must also leave their villages for the lowlands where they work part of the year on coffee and cotton plantations.
  • The ancient Maya calendar has also survived remarkably well. In the Maya highlands, many communities still have shaman-priests or "day-keepers", whose job it is to keep track of the round of days according to the Maya calendar, and to conduct traditional rituals for individuals and the larger community.
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