What Caused the Disappearance of the Mayan Civilization?

2582 words 11 pages
It is still a great mystery how the Mayan civilization disappeared. This complex society reached its zenith around approximately 750 AD. However, within the next two hundred years, this civilization which was epic in its time collapsed and disappeared leaving minimal traces and even more scanty detail about what could have caused this disappearance. This knowledge gap has led to a lot of debate among scholars over the various possible reasons behind what seems to us to be the abandonment and desertion of these sites. Some of these explanations are suppositions made without convincing proof. It has been understood widely that the collapse of Late Classic Maya civilization involved more than the disintegration of political structure and that …show more content…

This will be highlighted further along in the essay. Climatic changes heavily influenced demographic constraints, and therefore gains primary status as a theory to explain Mayan collapse.

As the Mayan civilization peaked around 750 AD, with it came very complex societal characteristics. These included population explosion in a socially stratified society. With an exponential population curve, land became scarce and this led to greater ruling class control over resources which were also growing scarce. This manipulative tactic conveys the possibility of growing social discomfort, and possibly leading to peasant revolts. On the other hand, lack of resources may have led to the lack of sophistication in farming tools. Agricultural ramifications may have played a contributing role in the collapse of the Mayan civilization (Turner, 1974: 123). This is because “the ensuing breakdowns in trade and agricultural activity would lead to population movements promoting the spread of disease, local overloading of agricultural resources, and hunger. Such disturbances if continued through a century of decline would be sufficient to deplete heavily both the labour force and the reservoirs of skilled economic leaders, even without catastrophic droughts, hurricanes, or wars” (Willey & Shimkin, 1971:13). This theory stands on point that the Mayans brought collapse upon themselves because of the nature of


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    1025 words | 5 pages