To date, scientists are yet to agree on a single theory to explain the collapse of the Mayan civilization. However, some factions associate the fall with climate change while other consider ecological changes as the reasons for the fall of the civilization (Mckillop, 2003). According to Fitch (2006), the changes in climatic conditions contributed to the decline of the civilization. Long term and intermittent periods of severe droughts during the classic period led to the disease, death and subsequent migration of the citizens resulting in the collapse of the empire.
A second theory associates the collapse of the Mayan civilization with systemic ecological changes as a consequence of the unfavorable shift in the climatic conditions. The dense population in Maya heavily relied on the natural resources for sustainability (Armstrong, 2014). However, the increased population interfered with the environment as a result of overexploitation as well as population. There was no enough food as the fertility of the soil, as well as the flow of rivers, were adversely affected. In the long run, the ecology could not support the increasing population leading to scattering thus the collapse.
Of the two theories proposed by researchers, the most reliable one is the climate changes. In any geographical location, severe drought directly interferes with the existence of humans, and in most instances, people migrate from the drought-prone regions in search of favorable climatic conditions. The case of the Maya people was no different. With repeating episodes of severe drought, they were bound to abandon what they had built plus a vibrant civilization to guard their lives as well as that of the future generations.
- Armstrong, K. (2014). The Classic Maya Collapse: The Importance of Ecological Prosperity. Earth Common Journal, 4(1).
- Fitch, E. K. (2006). Rapid Climate Change and the Collapse of the Maya Civilization. Rapid climate Change and the Collapse of the Maya Civilization.
- McKillop, H. I. (2003). The ancient Maya: New perspectives. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.