Answer to Question #163715 in History for Feby Abraham

Question #163715

Explain Mayan “collapse”: possible explanations in short

Expert's answer

The classic Maya collapse is the fall of the Classic Maya civilization between the 8th and 9th centuries, at the end of the Classic Maya Period, the Classic cities were abandoned one by one in the southern lowlands, and by A.D. 900, the region's Maya civilization had collapsed. Findings indicate that the Mayans themselves contributed to the downfall of the empire. 

Drought played a key role, the Maya had an immense population, a strong urbanized population, and the environment had changed radically. The Maya cut down forests and gradually exploited wetlands to sustain both farms and cities of 60,000 to 100,000, drawing water from rivers and extending agriculture into lowland wetlands. Since less solar radiation is absorbed by the cleared ground, less water evaporates from its surface, making clouds and rainfall scarce. In the simulation, deforestation decreased precipitation by five to 15 per cent and was responsible for 60 per cent of the overall drying that took place throughout the course of a century as the Mayan civilization collapsed. As a consequence, rapid deforestation intensified an already significant drought. Erosion and soil erosion have also led to the lack of forest cover.




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