Dwayne Sinclair 1 Taking Sides paper Prof John Dunn History 1111 02/26/2012 THE FALL OF MAYA CIVILIZATION DUE TO ENVIROMENTAL FACTORS. The collapse of the Maya civilization was a result of environmental factors which eventually led to warfare as a way of coming up with solutions to avoid the inevitable collapse of this civilization. Environmental factors like over population, agricultural scarcities, disease, natural disasters, were the major factors for the collapse of the Maya civilization.
Judging from rcheological evidence from the lost chronicles of the Maya kings, by David Drew (university of California press, 1999). David focuses on the bones of the Maya people throughout the region in sites such as Tikal, Lamilpa, and Altar de sacrificios, with similar stories of an unhealthy and stressed population, shrunk skeletons, decrease in life expectancy of children which had not occurred in earlier societies of the Maya. The fact that similar patterns of deterioration was found in more than one area shows a pattern that spread all across the maya region.
According to David, the Maya’s view of their universe saw a ruler as having divine powers. Also in the text from Warfare in Ancient Mesoamerica by Payson D Sheets (AltaMira press, 2003) who argues that the collapse of the Maya civilization was a result of military expansion agrees with the view point that the rulers divine powers could influence the gods by by bloodletting sacrifices, essential for the proper functioning of the Maya society. Sacrifices in various forms like food and drink, human sacrifice in the form of captives needed to appease he gods for the purpose of receiving rainfall which led to a good crop harvest, and recovery from diseases. 2 Over a period, this unquestioned belief in the rulers wore thin, because of a series of natural disasters in the form of environmental factors like dense populations, famine, diseases, natural disasters like droughts, hurricanes, earthquakes which caused a lot of ecological stress that made agriculture almost impossible, leading to food shortages to an already overpopulated region.
In an attempt to salvage the situation of the Maya’s, the rulers felt their powers were failing and the gods needed more blood sacrifices that led to expansive militarization for the purpose of capturing neighboring warriors who were offered as sacrifices to the gods, to take over antagonistic city states for the purpose of claiming new fertile agricultural land, because their land had been devastated by a combination of natural disasters that rendered their land unsuitable for agriculture. The only option that could keep the rulers in power and feed their assive population was to take land very scarce resources from neighboring states through violence in the form of war. The Maya’s belief system could not hold up due to changes in environmental factors that were out of their rulers control, and this led to chaos in the form of wars and violence in desperation to turn their fortunes around. Environmental factors were the reasons that led to the excessive militarization that brought about wars, and brought about the collapse of the Maya civilization.