Disappearance of the Mayan Civilization
The disappearance of the Mayan Civilization has always been a very interesting mystery to me. What happened to the Mayan people? This question has baffled many scientists, researchers, as well as historians since they disappeared of the face of the earth it seems. NASA-funded researchers believe that the Mayans themselves are responsible for their own extinction. The Mayans were supposedly a great culture that constructed pyramids and pavilions throughout Mesoamerica beginning around A.D.300 and disappearing around A.D. 900 (Harvey, D.A. 1977).
By around A.D. 900, the Mayan civilization was in steep decline. New building stopped and the pyramids and ball courts were gradually abandoned to the jungle. Around this time the lowland population dropped by around 90 percent. There has been a lot of debate about what caused the collapse of the classic-era Mayan culture. Research by Stuart ...view middle of the document...
Most of the history of the Mayan speaks to how it took approximately 20 trees to melt one square meter of lime plaster in order to construct their extravagant temples, reservoirs, and monuments (2009). The loss of trees caused a 3-5 degree rise in temperature while dropping the climate’s rainfall amount by 20-30%. The Mayans stripped their land of trees at such a fast rate the land could not replenish the trees and other vegetation quick enough to preserve the land in which the Mayans needed to survive. The drought from the lack of rainfall made it difficult for the Mayans to reserve water during the dryer seasons and with the lack of water, there was little chance of being able to grow food on the desecrated land. While there is no soul reason for the sudden disappearance of the Mayan people, NASA funded researcher believe the greatest contributor in the extinction of the Mayan was because they stripped their natural habitat.
The question of what happened to the Mayans still remains. The most likely explanation is that the Mayan system of agriculture, which relied upon a system of clearing rain forest and burning the vegetation to enrich the soil, broke down under the weight of their population. As soon as they surpassed a critical mass, the fields couldn't be left fallow long enough for them to return to fertility (Harvey, A. D. 1977). This led to a downward spiral; fields were overworked and the carrying capacity of the Mayan system of growing corn simply collapsed. The lesson of the Mayan’s demise could serve as a reminder that civilizations that use vital resources at an unsustainable rate face the same fundamental issues. However great the architecture, learning, or history of a people, if there is no food, everything comes to a halt and the balance of nature returns.
The Mysterious Disappearance of the Mayan Empire. (2004. August 08. In Ancient Mexico.biz. Retrieved 18:32. July 25, 2013 from http://www.ancientmexico.biz/ancient-mexico-blog/the-maya-and-the-mysterious-disappearance-of-their-empire/
Stuart. G., Stuart, G. S. Stuart., & Otis, A. H., (1977). The Mysterious Maya. New York, NY: The National Geographic, 1st edition p. 1-199.