Decline of the Mayas

Examines the history of the Mayan civilization and its ultimate downfall.

Historians have pieced together several scenarios as to the reasons why the Mayan civilization practically disappeared after the height of its glory in the jungles of Guatemala. This paper shows that it is generally accepted that, by about AD 900, a decline had set in with the Mayan people because of warring invaders and diseases. The paper examines theories and archaeological evidence to show the history of the Maya and the occurrences that brought them to general decline.
“Archaeologists have determined that the Mayan civilization was destroyed by the ultimate breakdown of its society. Some evidence uncovered by archaeological studies show that the Mayan civilization reached a crisis point in the 9th century. “With the increasing complexity of society, more and more people were withdrawn from farming to become administrators, craftsmen and priests, all of whom had to be fed from the produce of the land.” (Bray, 102) Some of the Mayan cities had grown so large that food production in the surrounding lands had dwindled and many skeletons of Mayans that have been studied show signs of malnutrition. “Food production could not be indefinitely increased and the short-term expedient of reducing the fallow period could lead to long-term disaster as the impoverished soil became less and less fertile.” (Bray, 102-103)”