The Maya lived in what we now call Mesoamerica. Their civilization covered southern Mexico and the Yucatan, Guatemala, Honduras, and Belize.
Their history is divided into three periods: the Pre-Classic, Classic, and Post-Classic, lasting in total from about 400 BCE to the arrival of the Spanish in 1520 CE. Most of their great achievements in architecture, astronomy, and mathematics, occured during the Classic period, from about 200-900 CE. Even though the Maya were excellent record keepers, and wrote their history and knowledge on hundreds of figbark paper books called codices, we will never know the full extent of their learning. Eventually, a Spanish priest ordered all the codices he could find burned. Only four books escaped the flames.