The Collapse of the Maya Civilization

The story of the collapse of Maya, a once remarkable civilization with over 19 million people, has fascinated historians. Although the Maya did not disappear in entirety, a number of core urban areas such as those found in the lowlands of Yucatan peninsula went from once bustling cities into ruins over a time of about 100 years (Demarest, 2011). The collapse of the Maya has led to many theories being advanced by scholars to explain the remarkable collapse of the 8/9th century collapse.

 The theories and hypothesis that have been advanced include the effects of urbanization, impact of draught and human actions. According to (American Geophysical Union, 2017; Gill, 2009), the change in trade routes deprived the lowland elites of source of money to built wealth. According to the author, this forced the craftsmen and peasant into abandoning the lowlands to avoid starvation. The theories of deforestation and massive draught have been have been advanced as the major cause of the collapse of ancient civilization by Jared Diamond (Diamond, 2005).

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            The most plausible reason for the collapse of the Maya civilization is massive draught. According to (Gill, 2009), as the Maya population grew rapidly, there was need for more room for expansion to create urban centers. This in turn needed massive water and fuel for the cooking of lime plaster for their construction. These two factors combined to lead to massive destruction of forests, which affected rainfall resulting to massive draught that caused death due to lack of water and food. Moreover, according to (American Geophysical Union, 2017) cleared lands absorbs less radiation, which leads to reduced evaporation that results in reduced rainfall. The massive clearance of forest cover to meet the food demands of the rapidly increasing population resulted in draught, which led to water loss and starvation caused by inability to produce enough food for the population.

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