Humanities - Mayan Culture

In: Historical Events

Submitted By charman2014
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The Maya civilization was one of the most dominant native societies of Mesoamerica; the area of present day southern Mexico and Central America. The earliest Maya settlements date back to around 1800 BCE, but by the late 800 CE to early 900 CE, the Maya civilization in that region had collapsed. The reason for this mysterious decline is unknown, but the theories for their disappearance have varied. Two of these theories include constant warfare and possible invasion by competing city-states, and the other is the exhaustion of their environment no longer able to sustain a large population and it’s constant growth. The latter of these theories was proposed by Atmospheric scientist Bob Oglesby.
According to Oglesby the collapse of the Mayan settlements was in large due to forestation. The evidence he found was based on the thickness of the floor stones in the Mayan ruins. His study revealed that they would have needed about 20 trees to build a fire large enough to make the plaster floor stone that is about one square meter. In the earliest ruins, these stones were as thick as a foot or even more, but these stones progressively got thinner in the more recent built ruins; those were only a few inches thick. Oglesby calls the Mayan deforestation the granddaddy of all deforestation events. Further studies reveal that the Mayan population reached its peak population at 1,800 to 2,600 people per square mile. In comparison, Los Angeles
County averaged 2,300 people per square mile in 2000. Due to this constant growth of the
Mayan Empire, its environment was exhausted of its natural resources for it to further thrive and survive; thus by 950 CE the population crashed and he estimated about 90% of the Maya people died. In my brief research of the Mayan people, this theory is the one that makes the most sense to me, but the…...

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