Centers of Progress: Chichen Itza (Team Sports)
The Mesoamerican city of Chichen Itza is home to the best-preserved, and largest playing court for the first ball sports played in a team.
The popular sport is known as the "Ball Game" and has been played since 1650BCE. It was played by all its major civilizations from the Olmecs to the Maya to the Aztecs.
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The earliest athletic competitions seem to be simple wrestling contests that are represented in cave paintings.
Other popular sports included foot-races, chariot-races, boxing, swimming, and archery. The Ball Game was probably the first sport that resembled modern team ball sports.
Chichen Itza was founded by the Itza, a Mayan tribe, and was once one of the greatest Mayan centers of the Yucatan peninsula. The Mayan civilization created the most highly developed writing system in the Americas before Columbus landed. The Mayans are also known for a sophisticated calendar and huge architecture.
Today Chichen Itza is a sprawling ruined city in the northern part of the Yucatan Peninsula in modern Mexico. Several prominent stone structures of the city are well-preserved, such as the Warrior's Temple, the Temple of Kukulcan, and the El Caracol - a circular observatory.
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