A once formidable civilization, the Mayans thrived economically, politically, and populously. Suddenly, the Mayan civilization disappeared. This essay analyzes the abrupt and mysterious disappearance of the Mayan civilization.
The abrupt and mysterious disappearance of the Mayan civilization was due to two factors: war and emigration. The classic Mayan civilization was considered to be a peaceful people; however, their art inscriptions are indicative of an obsession with warfare. In fact, classic murals at the site of Bonampak show battle scenes that are melees of hand–to-hand combat rather than troop formations. The murals of the post classic period depict hundreds of warriors, indicating a grander scale of war. Classic Mayan civilization reached its demographic peak in the eighth century AD. Long established cities and new centers were found. Construction of temples, homes and palaces boomed. Trade also flourished on local and regional scale. During the period of 771 to 830 A.D. many of the Mayan activities had stopped in a great number of cities and towns. The construction ended and most centers and their supporting areas appear to have been either partly or totally deserted.
The Mayan civilization began to decline because of overpopulation, deforestation, and stresses in the social structure. It was weakening at the time of the Spanish Conquest. The Mayans survived longer than the Aztecs and Incas. Disease and social disruption, brought with the Spanish Conquest, destroyed a large part of the native population during the 16th century.
The vanishing of Classic Maya civilization ranges from natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, climatic change, and insect plagues, as well as more complex factors centering on soil erosion, warfare and civil wars. Worse factors include the large-scale forest clearing and of agriculture problems. Decreased food supply and a weakened trade system were caused by the environmental deterioration, territorial...