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The Mayan Decline

fsernamayan.weebly.com
by

Frank Serna

on 12 March 2013

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Transcript of The Mayan Decline

The Mayans are a Mesoamerican civilization, commonly known for their contribution to art, architecture, astronomy and mathematics. The Mayans established their society around 2000 BCE to 250 CE (considered as the Pre-Classic period). According to the Mesoamerican timeline for the Mayans, development peaked during 250 CE to about 900 CE (considered the Classic period), after which it continued in the Post-Classic period until its collapse and transformation into modern Mayan civilization.
The following slides will cover Post-Classic period and theories about what contributed to ancient Mayan civilization collapse. The Mayans Post-Classic Period timeline Overpopulation/Environmental exhaustion Proposed theories for decline of the Maya 900 The Classic Period of Maya history ends, with the collapse of the southern lowland cities. Maya cities in the northern Yucatán continue to thrive. Development of the Puuc style in Uxmal, Kabah and Labná.
1200 Northern Maya cities begin to be abandoned.
1224 The city of Chichén Itzá in Yucatan is abandoned by the Toltecs. The Itzá people settle in the deserted area.
1244 The Itzá leave Chichén Itzá Mexico for unknown reasons
1263 The Itzá begin building the city of Mayapán.
1283 Mayapán becomes the capital of Yucatán
1441 Mayapán is abandoned by 1461. After this, warring groups compete to rule over the others.
1517 The Spanish first arrive on the shores of Yucatán under Hernández de Córdoba, The arrival of the Spanish brings diseases to the Maya including smallpox, influenza and measles. Within a century, 90 per cent of Mesoamérica's native populations will have died. Proposed Reasons for Decline of the Maya From the late eighth through the end of the ninth century, something unknown happened to shake the Maya civilization to its foundations. One by one, the Classic cities in the southern lowlands were abandoned, and by A.D. 900, Maya civilization in that region had collapsed. The reason for this mysterious decline is unknown, though scholars have developed several competing theories. Some believe that by the ninth century the Maya had exhausted the environment around them to the point that it could no longer sustain a very large population. From the late eighth through the end of the ninth century, something unknown happened to shake the Maya civilization to its foundations. One by one, the Classic cities in the southern lowlands were abandoned, and by A.D. 900, Maya civilization in that region had collapsed. The reason for this mysterious decline is unknown, though scholars have developed several competing theories. List of competing theories Overpopulation/Overuse of land
Environmental change
Endemic warfare (infighting)
Spanish invasion/conquest
Disease Environmental Change Some catastrophic environmental change--like an extremely long, intense period of drought--may have wiped out the Classic Maya civilization. Constant infighting Other Maya scholars argue that constant warfare among competing city-states led the complicated military, family (by marriage) and trade alliances between them to break down, along with the traditional system of dynastic power. Spanish invasion/conquest The Spanish set out to explore new lands in the Americas. The Mayans firmly resisted the Spanish, but failed to achieve victory against their invaders. Disease The European invaders brought diseases along with the that helped wipe out a large portion of the Mayan population. Due to their lack of exposure to the diseases and lack of immunity, many Mayans died. Environmental change cont. Drought would have hit cities like Tikal--where rainwater was necessary for drinking as well as for crop irrigation--especially hard. Question to consider: If adapting to the environment initially led to their success, how could they have adapted to this environmental change? Environmental exhaustion cont. Question to consider: What would this mean for their resources? Spanish invasion/conquest cont. Unlike the Aztecs and Incas, the Mayans were organized into multiple city-states with no political center. Question to consider: How did this organization benefit and work against them in regards to the invaders? Disease cont. Because of their climate, the spread of disease (foreign and domestic) could spread through environment and parasitic means. Question to consider: How could the Mayans have limited the spread of disease? Constant infighting cont. Research suggests the culture collapsed not from drought, as some experts believe, but from the loss of the royal court. Question to consider: Would peace among kingdoms or a unified Mayan nation been a better alternative? Assignment Students will write one paragraph about what they believe to be the main contributor(s) that caused Mayan civilization to decline out of proposed theories and support their reasoning. Students will write a second paragraph discussing what the Mayans could have done to slow down or prevent their decline according to what students chose to write about in the first paragraph. Works Cited A&E Television Networks. "The Rise and Fall of the Maya Empire." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 1996. Web. 03 Mar. 2013.
BBC. "Ancient Apocalypse - The Maya Collapse 5/5." YouTube. YouTube, 25 Aug. 2008. Web. 9 Mar. 2013.
Kennett, D. J. "Extreme Weather Preceded Collapse of Ancient Maya Civilization." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 08 Nov. 2012. Web. 8 Mar. 2013.
Lovgren, Stefan. "Was Royal Infighting Behind Maya City's Fall?" National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 6 Oct. 2003. Web. 8 Mar. 2013.
Mayan Kids. "TIMELINE: Mayan Kids.com." TIMELINE: Mayan Kids.com. Mayan Kids, 2008. Web. 10 Mar. 2013.
Mott, Nicholas. "Why the Maya Fell: Climate Change, Conflict-And a Trip to the Beach?" National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 09 Nov. 2012. Web. 8 Mar. 2013.
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