What happened to Mayan civilization?

What Happened to the Ancient Maya?
September 11, 2017 – 11:37 am
Chichen Itza, Mayan empire

They had a series of overlapping calendars which were quite accurate. They had a well-developed religion and divine pantheon, some of which is described in the Popol Vuh. In the cities, stonemasons created stelae, statues which recorded the greatness of their leaders. Trade, particularly for prestige items like obsidian and jade, flourished. The Maya were well on their way to becoming a powerful empire when suddenly the civilization collapsed and the mighty cities were abandoned.

The Collapse of Maya Civilization:

The fall of the Maya is one of history’s great mysteries. One of the mightiest civilizations in the ancient Americas simply fell into ruin in a very short time. Mighty cities like Tikal were abandoned and Maya stonemasons stopped making temples and stelae. The dates are not in doubt: deciphered glyphs at several sites indicate a thriving culture in the ninth century A.D., but the record goes eerily silent after the last recorded date on a Maya stela, 904 A.D. There are many theories as to what happened to the Maya, but little consensus among experts.

The Disaster Theory:

Early Maya researchers believed that some catastrophic event may have doomed the Maya. An earthquake, volcanic eruption or sudden epidemic disease could have destroyed cities and killed or displaced tens of thousands of people, bringing the Maya civilization crashing down. These theories have been discarded today, however, largely because of the fact that the decline of the Maya took about 200 years: some cities fell while others thrived, at least for a while longer. An earthquake, disease or other widespread calamity would have snuffed out the great Maya cities more or less simultaneously.

The Warfare Theory:

The Maya were once thought to have been a peaceful, pacific culture. This image has been shattered by the historical record: new discoveries and newly deciphered stonecarvings clearly indicate that the Maya warred frequently and viciously among themselves. City-states such as Dos Pilas, Tikal, Copán and Quirigua went to war with one another quite often: Dos Pilas was invaded and destroyed in 760 A.D. Did they war with one another enough to cause the collapse of their civilization? It’s quite possible: war brings with it economic disaster as well as collateral damage that could have caused a domino effect in the Maya cities.

Source: latinamericanhistory.about.com
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