The Causes Of The Maya Collapse

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The Cause of the Maya Collapse When the Spaniards arrived in Mesoamerica in the 1500s, only the bones of the once great civilization remained. The Mayans had abandoned what they once had called their home. Although, this disappearance leads to the following question: what had caused the Maya Collapse? The ancient civilization of Maya had collapsed because of political conflicts, war, and drought that had set in Mesoamerica; however, the fall was predominantly due to the overpopulation in Mayan cities and, in conjunction, the overuse of land. Before its fall, Maya had once been a flourishing and significant civilization. It inhabited southern Mexico, Belize, and parts of Central America (Murray). The civilization centered itself around what …show more content…
Evidence suggests that Maya induced their own collapse through these two factors. This occurs when resources are not enough and too scarce to support a group. Where Maya had been located and the territory resulted in difficulties while farming, causing them to use a method of farming in which they burn forests for crops, known as slash-and-burn agriculture. (Bialo). The Mayan people had done as much to also build cities and farms to make room for more people; although, in doing so, the Mayans devastated their land, exhausting a substantial amount of their resources (Mott). Environmental destruction and overcropping wreaked havoc on extensive land, leading to drought. “Widespread deforestation reduced the flow of moisture from the ground to the atmosphere, interrupting the natural rain cycle and in turn reducing precipitation,” notes Cook (qtd. in Mott) in his studies. This means exposure in forests changes the rain cycle, making it difficult to farm because of the dry soil and weather. Consequently, the moisture in the atmosphere, provoked by the deforestation that the Mayan people had conducted, decreased five to fifteen percent per year, Mott also notes, and that this much can truly destroy an environment-- ten percent would even be considered calamitous. It also prompted social and political …show more content…
The people did not vanish like the cities had-- the buildings and monuments were left crumbling as they had become overgrown long before the Spanish arrived (Mott). Mott, the writer of “Why the Maya Fell: Climate Change, Conflict-And a Trip to the Beach?”, also mentions how the climate, after the drought, had returned to the way it had been originally with plenty of rainfall soon after the fall; although, the people did not return with it. Mott then suggests how they fled to the coasts, where there were no conflicts, no famine, and much better trade. Perhaps, the cities were not at all kept in mind once they drifted to the beaches and countrysides of the what had once been an expansive and distinguished civilization

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