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Essay: What Happened to the Mayan Civilization?

The Mayan Empire occupied vast territories from the south of Mexico to the north of Honduras. It consisted of numerous city-states, which created a single powerful empire. The last recorded information about Maya culture dates back to 800 A.D. At that time, this ancient empire was on its peak. It had mighty army, well-developed economy and rich culture. They created their famous calendars, which astonish us with their accuracy even today. Suddenly, the Mayan civilization stopped existing without any noticeable reasons. No one knows about the actual fate of Mayas and it is probably the most controversial and mysterious question of all times.

Many anthropologists have different points of view about the fate of Mayas. They name at least five factors, which could cause the collapse of this civilization. Some experts say that Mayas could disappear because of the severe natural disaster. This theory is very weak, because there were no serious earthquakes or volcanic eruptions, which could ruin the whole empire. Furthermore, this disaster had to destroy all neighbors of Mayas, but it did not. Some scholars suggested the idea of a serious local epidemic disease, but the possibility of this factor is very low.

Another theory is connected with wars. The Mayan Empire consisted of numerous city-states. Logically, every state wanted to obtain independence. No wonder, the entire empire was at war with its own cities all the time. Possibly, these wars could exhaust the whole country and lead to its collapse. The idea is very strong, because every city had to pay and feed its warriors well. The economy of the state was exhausted and the city could not exist any longer, because its citizens did not have anything to eat and could not work properly.

The next theory is based on hunger and overpopulation. Obviously, the Mayan civilization existed due to agriculture.

People grew crops and their life depended on climate and weather. It is possible that the country suffered from climatic changes, which caused hunger and epidemics. People could not grow their crops ad could not provide themselves with the basic amount of food. Consequently, the country stopped its existence because of hunger. The problem of overpopulation has its right for existence. The population of every city grew so much, that people could not supply themselves with food.

The most reasonable theory is based on the complex of problems. One can say that many civilizations collapsed because of constant wars and economic reduction. It is possible that constant wars exhausted the Mayan Empire. Exhaustion caused hunger and epidemics. Another variant is even more logical. Climate change caused problems in the sphere of agriculture.

The cities were overpopulated and people suffered from the shortage of food. No wonder, they began fighting against other city-states to conquer their lands and provision. Furthermore, they wanted to invade new territories for agriculture.

Constant wars consumed money and resources and made the entire empire vulnerable.

Unfortunately, nobody knows about the actual reasons of the collapse of the Mayan Empire. There are many theories, which have sense, but they cannot give the right answer to this question. The leading anthropologists have been trying to solve this complicated puzzle for decades but they have not found the best explanation yet. I suppose that the Mayan civilization collapsed because of several factors. I should mention the problem of overpopulation, hunger and war. Very few countries could survive constant internal wars; the Mayan Empire is not the exception. Military conflicts always cause hunger, poverty, epidemics and reduction of the quality of life.