Chichen Itza

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Chichen Itza (Mayan, "At the mouth of the well of the Itza (people)") is a large pre-Columbian archaeological site in Yucatán, Mexico built by the Maya civilization.

From roughly 600 CE in the middle of the Maya Classic period, it was a major city, achieving its greatest growth and power after the Maya sites of the central lowlands to the south had already collapsed. By circa 987 CE a Toltec king, Quetzalcoatl, arrived with an army from central Mexico, and (with local Maya allies) made Chichén Itzá his capital, and a second Tula. The art and architecture from this period shows an interesting mix of Maya and Toltec styles. Revolt and civil war among the Maya in 1221 CE, evidenced by archeological findings of burned buildings, led to Chichen Itza's decline and rulership over Yucatán shifted to Mayapan. It was briefly conquered and occupied by Spanish Conquistador Francisco de Montejo in 1531 CE.

According to the American Anthropological Association, the actual ruins of Chichen Itza are federal property; the land under them, however, is co-owned as communal property by the town of Piste and as private property by the Barbachanos, which has been one of the most powerful families in Yucatan since the early 19th century.

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