Thursday, February 23, 2012

Drought Doomed The Mayans

A prolonged decline in the frequency of summer storms that produced a drought in Central America (and beyond) lead to the demise of Mayan civilization around 800-950 CE. Their demise, in turn, cleared the way for the ascendancy of the subsequent Aztec civilization, that started to develop in what is now Southern Mexico in the late 1200s CE, which was in place when Columbus arrived in the New World (in 1492 CE) until the Aztec empire of Moctezuma II was toppled by Conquistador Hernán Cortés with the empire having collapsed by 1521 CE. In between, in what is known as the "Post Classical" period, the Mayan empire fragmented into successor city-states that gradually recovered and were consolidated into the renewed Aztec empire. The Mayans were successors to the Olmec civilization from ca. 2000 BCE to 400 BCE.


Maju said...

Typo alert: "Drought" ;)

Do you think that this new hypothesis has any more merit than the previous ones? I have always caressed the old theory that the cities were abandoned as the people kicked their rulers headless down the stairs of their sick pyramids.

However it may be that drought was the trigger of the revolution.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Thanks for the heads up.

I'm pretty sure that drought and regicide are not mutually exclusive options.