The Maya civilization occupied a wide territory that included southeastern Mexico and northern Central America. This area included the entire Yucatán Peninsula and a territory now incorporated into the modern countries of Guatemala and Belize and the western part of Honduras and El Salvador.
After the Archaic period (8,000 – 2,000 BC), the history of Maya civilization is divided into three principal periods: the Preclassic (2,000 BC – 250 AD), Classic 250 AD – 950 AD) and Postclassic (950 AD – 1539 AD) periods. The contact period and Spanish invasion lasted from 1,511 AD to 1,697 AD. Despite the foreign attack, many Mayan communities remained living according to their traditions and culture. Their old languages are still spoken by millions of descendants.