We have all heard of the Mayans and specially in 2012 concerning the now so famous Mayan end of the world prediction. The Mayans were a meso-American civilization of the Olmec culture. Their existence is listed at between 200 BC and AD 1530 and are attributed with the development of many aspects of a civilized world far ahead of their time. Mathematicians, astronomers, builders and agricultural wonders are only a few of the contributions attributed to the Mayans.
In approximately AD 1530 the Mayan civilization had begun to decline rapidly and what remained of the Mayan cities were modern day ghost towns. This decline has been debated greatly among current historians. Two schools of thought point towards ecological and non ecological reasons for the decline.
There are numerous theories explaining the collapse of the Mayan civilization. Each presents valid, credible points outlining the slow decline and eventual disappearance of one of the most advanced tribes in history.
Mayan Civilization Collapse due to Drought
Many scholars believe the Mayan collapse began due to a series of long drought periods. Such events would hinder the adequate production of food stuff and eventually ending it completely.
Those who discount this theory do so from the position that the Mayans, a far advanced people, would have simply moved to better crop production areas. Because no evidence exists to support this movement, the drought theory loses support.
Mayan Civilization Collapse due to Military Intervention
Possible invasion from outside military is yet another reason proposed for the Mayan collapse. From this viewpoint, historians support the idea that other civilizations could well have invaded the Mayans and captured them thus destroying them. Again this theory has discrepancies as well. Such an invasion would have been unlikely when one considers the period and the sheer undertaking of such an invasion as to destroy a civilization.
Mayan Civilization Collapse Due To Disease
Most recently, scientists have turned their work towards the possibility of disease. The climate was humid and would have supported a host of parasitic activity. As the Mayan civilization grew and spread, disturbances would have occurred which could have placed the people in contact with parasites that would promote disease and death.
If this were the case no member of the Mayans would have been spared. As with many diseases that attacked the human body, death can be a slow process dependent upon the strength and health of the individual attacked.
Mayan Civilization Collapse due to Revolution
Lastly, a possible revolution by the Mayans lower class or peasant class is possible. It was this class that was responsible for the building and development of monuments and temples throughout the culture. The work would have been body breaking in poor conditions and would destroy many.
It is possible that the Mayan civilization collapsed because of a combination of these factors. If droughts came and produced a lack of food, yet monuments were still expected to be constructed, it is likely a revolt took place. When added to the possibility of disease, there would be fewer workers to complete ongoing projects and overtime construction would stop completely.
And what about our current civilization? When it is going to collapse due to our own fault and our own contribution to destroying our planet?
Update: A recent article on our sister site Sparking Dawn confirms a scientific study proving how the Mayans worsened the drought period which lead to their collapse.