January 27, 2017

Maya Chinampas and Permaculture

Tenochtitlan chinampas

Tenochtitlan chinampas
Copycats of the Ancient Maya

Maya chinampas were used successfully by the ancient Maya to support a million Maya in Peten Guatemala. There are no machines to buy to cultivate as did the ancient Maya with their chinampas. Maya wove permeable walls of sticks anchored to trees to grow their food. Some ancient Maya chinampas even floated, exactly like today’s modern hydroponic rafts.

One of the most famous Maya chinampas was implemented by the Aztecs, copied from the ancient Maya, at Tenochtitlan. All that’s left of Tenochtitlan was destroyed by the Spanish in 1524 and Mexico City is built upon the ashes of the ancient paradise. Had it not been for the small pox brought to the New World by the Spaniards, they would have probably never conquered anything in Latin America.

raft hydroponics - modern chinampas

raft hydroponics – modern chinampas

Once you have visited la Danta pyramid of the el Mirador Complex in Peten Guatemala, it’s incredibly easy to imagine a scene very similar to what the Spanish found in Tenochtitlan when they arrived at what they called, “the most amazing city in the world” in 1517. Please notice the map of Tenochtitlan’s chinampas, superior in every way to European agricultural techniques at the time, is written in Latin (sacred language of the Catholic clergy for hundred of years)and not Spanish – undoubtedly top-secret new world information, encrypted.

The Maya chinampas of Peten Guatemala, as well as the chinampas at Tenochtitlan, were fertilized with night soil. Night soil integration created very productive crops in the chinampas. The chinampa is also a great reservoir for native fish. There are several species of fish native to Peten who can enter a state of suspended animation for months at a time, waiting for the rains and water to return to the reservoirs of the chinampas.

Maya Wild is building anicent Maya chinampas at our Permaculture Compound in Peten Guatemala. We have a small seasonal creek that runs right through the middle of the propery – along the banks of the creek are our Maya chinampas. We’re very excited to replicate the food security success of the Maya right here at Maya Wild. Maya Wild does chinampas.

Maya chinampas in Peten Guatemala

Anicent Maya Chinampas of Peten Guatemala