Mayan Disappearance Alternatives, Essay Example

The Mayan civilization covered a large geographic area in Central and South America around 2000 B.C. until 1500 A.D.  The Mayans were exponentially advanced in comparison to other pre-Columbian American civilizations in areas of architecture, social and political order as well as their grasp on medicine, astronomy, mathematics and written language.  With all of these advancements to heal the sick, build advanced shelter, plan for war and increase the quality of life of the society how did the Mayan’s decline into non-existence?  There are many theories but the ones I will focus on now are the overpopulation and exhaustion of resources and a theory that there was a drought that lasted approximately 200 years which dispersed the civilization into areas that were more fertile and inhabitable.

The advancements made by the Mayans in agriculture and medicine allowed more people to be fed, more children born healthy as well as the life expectancy increasing for those in the upper tiers of the society.  The increase in population would lead to an exhaustion of resources and the area could not renew itself fast enough to support the society for the long term.  The geographic limitations of fertile land and potable water were over sourced and the nutrients were stripped rapidly from the land and there was not enough water to fulfill the thirst of the people and the agricultural needs simultaneously.

The second although similar was not caused by the Mayan’s advancements but by that of the world in which they lived.  Climate change in the region could have caused major droughts to occur in the normally wet areas in which the Mayan’s lived.  In a research study by the University of Potsdam in Germany there is scientific evidence of major droughts between approximately 800 A.D. and 900 A.D (Lovgren 2003).  While the Mayans thrived through most of the droughts the longer and more intense could have led to the disbursement and collapse of the Mayan culture.


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Day, N. (2000). Your travel guide to the ancient mayan civilization. Runestone Printing.

Lovgren, S., (2003) Climate change killed off maya civilization. National Geographic News

Sayre, H. M. (2008). The humanities volume i prehistory to 1600, culture, continuity, and change. Boston: Prentice Hall.