Maintained by stubborn popular beliefs, the history of the Maya civilization fuels the debates. The practices and customs of this mysterious people continue to intrigue historians. The Maya nation was born around 2500 BC. Archaeologists have found the first traces of this civilization in the Yutucan region. The Maya city-states would flourish until around 800 AD. AD However, around 900 AD. BC begins the decline of the Mayan civilization. Long unexplained, this extinction is the result of a convergence of factors. So, under what circumstances did the Maya disappear?

Disappearance of the Mayas: climatic causes?

The rapid extinction of the Maya raises countless questions. In less than two centuries, the city-states of the South collapsed one after the other. Researchers believe that a sudden climate change would be the cause of this decline. Indeed, according to archaeologists, the Mayan civilization would have experienced intense dry seasons around 800 AD. AD During this era, the Maya nation had nearly ten million inhabitants. The population is growing rapidly. To meet the needs, the Mayas find themselves obliged to overexploit their land (already not very cultivable) and to carry out massive deforestation. Although it is premature to present periods of aridity as a direct consequence of deforestation, it is recognized that this deforestation has had an impact on the climate. From then on, famine gradually gnawed at the Mayan peoples. The populations leave the territory of their ancestors to find refuge in more welcoming lands: those of the North.

Conflicts, an aggravating factor

If drought and climate change were heralds of the fall of the Mayan civilization, archaeologists note that there are nevertheless other factors to this extinction. One of the main causes retained by historians? The wars. According to studies, the annihilation of the population coincides with the hardening of the conflicts between Maya city-states. These internal wars plunge the population into poverty and insecurity. The situation is explosive. It forces the Mayas to an exodus to the cities of the North. From then on, the decline accelerated: one after the other, the city-states of the North suffered a fate similar to those of the South. And the arrival of the Spaniards, in the sixteenth century, will precipitate the process of disappearance already underway. The conquistadors colonize and ransack the last vestiges of this fascinating civilization, whose culture continues, even today, to captivate historians of the Western world.

A total disappearance? Not quite…

The destruction of the Mayan civilization is not limited to a single explanation. This extinction results from a combination of factors (climate, war, etc.). At present, the Maya nation no longer exists. However, his heirs perpetuate the traditions. According to the figures, almost five million people speak the Mayan languages. In addition, archaeologists strive to inscribe in history the traces of this fascinating people. A way to keep the Mayan civilization alive through the ages.


Editor: Vincent Vidal, Adpremier

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