It is not for lack of effort that collapse of a society is still a nightmare to most people. The study which has been done to elaborate in the historical and social sciences to explaining collapse is substantial and has provided a language which clearly shows the importance of this topic. The collapse of a society can be defined as sudden decline of the cities and its environs. A good example is the southern side Maya lowlands of Mesoamerica within the period of 8th and 9th centuries. The highly developed towns of Maya came into decline and were quickly abandoned. The collapse is greatly attributed to the decline of architectural works. Although many cities collapsed, a number of them still remained intact. The northern side prospered and a state was established which led to many of them coming together (Joseph 34).
The ancient Maya civilization was located in the eastern side of Mesoamerica commonly known as the Yucatan Peninsula. The areas topography greatly varied from volcanic mountain whish consisted of the hills in the south, known as the lowlands in Northern and Southern region. Towards the southern the lands were covered by a rain forest with a relative height of about 155 feet (Joseph 12).
One of the most outstanding and well known civilization to fail, the Maya of the southern side have left a legacy of such things as temples, palaces and entire cities lying abandoned in the jungle. This has created a beautiful image. The rain forest just next has greatly contributed to this good countenance. As observed, civilization is what stands between humanity and the chaos of nature. The picture of the cities which have been overcome by this chaos makes us to think hand. The complex features of the Mayan civilization can be seen far into the new millennium (Benjamin 74). By the last few centuries B.C complex political organization and massive public designs were coming up in many regions.
Throughout most initial stages of the millennium A.D Mayan cities grew in power and size. Big public works were developed, temples and palaces were constructed, artistic work flourished and the land was modified ready for cultivation. These took place successfully in the first half of the eighth century A.D. after all this had taken place, the most surprising and shocking thing is that the Mayan cities began declining. By 899 A.D ceremonial and political activities on the previous stage came to a halt although the people who remained tried to their level best to develop the town life. An outstanding region of the southern lowlands was mysteriously lost either due to increased number of children who were born dying, or people moving from the newly desert areas (Joseph 46).
As time went by, several powerful states rose to being prominent and surprisingly collapsed in the early history of Mesoamerican highlands. These comprised the Teotihuacan in northern part of the Mexican valley and Monte Alban in Oaxaca. The former was the biggest town in the new world with a population of about 126,000. There are more than seventy temples besides the pyramids of the sun and the moon. It got a major influence in the whole of Mesoamerica. The leaders of this town had the ability to influence labor at certain given levels. The people and resources of the Mexican valley and beyond were economically reorganized. Thousands were located in this city and its environs. For over 600 years a big percentage of the population of the northern and eastern of Mexican valley lived in or within the city environs.
In the final era of Teotihuacan the military themes dominated in the field of art. The flow of some of the commodities went down. At around 700B.C the city abruptly came to an end. The ceremonial and politically countenance of the region the street of the dead and its monuments were burned into ashes. The percentage of the population declined within a span of fifty years to no more than a fourth of its climax level. Those who remained sealed off doorways and divided the bigger rooms into small ones. A fragmentation political era soon followed (Benjamin 88).
In another town Oaxaca, the centre of Monte Alban was close to Teotihuacan. It is located on top of a mountain. A bigger part of this was leveled to build a region for monumental architecture and a society. The people over twenty thousand built pyramids, temples among others. Walls to enhance security were put in place and there was craft manufacture in obsidian and other goods. Monte Albana witnessed development around 200 and 500 A.D. sometimes in the 7th century it came to an end due to a series of small states being formed. Within several generations the percentage of people had declined and protective walls continued being built.
Tula is another town in the Maya dynasty. It comprised of over thirty five thousand individuals with pyramids, palaces and ball courts. It was big in size and existed between 1000 to 1250 B.C. specialists in craft work comprised scribes, potters, spinners, metal and wood work. Like other towns it comprised mainly the Mexicans from the basin. They imported raw materials from far. They were equally interested in military. Its collapse was witnessed in the 1160 and 1200 A.D. accompanied by burning to ashes of the outstanding regions.
Insufficient response to circumstances is seen as having widely contributed towards the collapse of Maya. This entails fundamental declination of social, political and economic setups preventing appropriate response to situations. The argument here is that more productive environment can produce more complex societies. The levels to which a specific culture can grow depend on how potential a place is agriculturally. Rainforest where Maya is located is not withstanding in this case. The Maya community civilization should have been brought, and the history of Mayan occupation should represent the decline. When you introduce civilization into a rather unsuitable region, the environment will carry the day. Maya community could not respond to its circumstances.
Catastrophes such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes and such things as epidermis are widely not to blame for decline of certain Mayan towns. The appearance of yellow fever was apparent in some towns. The Maya lowlands were infected with maize virus known as mosaic causing crop reduction, this was brought by hurricane. The collapse of such towns as Teotihuacan is attributed to earthquakes and plagues.
Resource depletion is also to blame to a larger extent. This is mainly brought by human mismanagement and wide loss of resources due to climate shift. These are believed to cause collapse through decline of resources on which a society thrives. Economic decline is the latest one and together with resource decline are suspected to have brought the collapse of Maya fraternity (Benjamin 123). Collapse to trade links, external resources and goods from other countries is by far to blame. Economic set ups become weak when it largely depends on exchanges from other countries over which it cannot control. This is what happened with most towns in the dynasty of Maya. Since Maya civilizations were always depending on these markets which are foreign, they were greatly affected.
Invasions by other communities are equally to blame for the decline of Maya civilization. The recent research shows that the lowlands in the southern side were ambushed by the group whose residential places were located in the gulf coastal lowlands. The ambush started in the 9th century and within a specific period a good part of Maya had been destroyed. The ambush is believed to have emanated from the Mexicans occupying the inner region. Although it is speculated to have contributed to the collapse most people from Maya dynasty seem to disagree with this disposition. They with no simple terms say that no amount of soldiers could have invaded the kingdom to that extent. It is also believed that Teotihuacan fame across the Maya location could have associated some invasion by the military but it is observed that their interactions date back (Benjamin 232)
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Social upheavals are largely to blame for the collapse of Maya. Evidence shows that Maya structures and projects were at their climax around 780 A.D without any use of technical assistance. Around this period signs predicting the collapse of Maya were being seen. Although these ideologies appeared to be good explanations of the immediate collapse of Maya dynasty, problems can still be seen. Thompson's ideology does not address such questions of where all the occupants went. Webster David observed that the number of people would have gone up due to lack of education.
Secondly the question that still begs for answer is why the authority departments were not improved to counter revolts which occurred almost the same time as that of China (Joseph 99). Thirdly, after a research was carried out, by one Elliot Abrahams, he made an observation that structures, studied by Copan, required not a lot of time and laborers to finish the buildings. Although in a similar disposition Thompson came up with an ideology that it was in the era when there were fewer people from Maya civilization than known. Social upheavals bring transition and are followed by wars from other places. All the same, there is nothing indicating an entire location which has been abandoned.
It is arguably said that, collapse of Maya is associated to the indefatigable decline of system in business more so those connected to central city of Mexico. The central city of Mexico is said to have fallen pressurizing the economic relations throughout Gulf Coast and Mesoamerica to restructure. These relationships in civilizations would definitely have brought the collapse of Maya at a later date. After thorough scrutiny in dates it is observed that, Teotihuacan influence appeared around 5th century. To add on that, Teotihuacan civilization was losing power and may be even left the city during CE 550-650. This fails to augur with the earlier observation that its power reduced during C.E 705-760. Their decline coming before that of Maya is seen to have contributed (Alan 89)
One Gann Thomas attributed issues regarding climate as having contributed to the collapse of Maya. Issues related to climate were studied as having greatly contributed to drought which with no reasonable doubt contributed to collapse of Maya civilization (Joseph 47). This ideology on draught provides a rather complex observation because culture related issues and issues not related to environment can be explained by the impact of prolonged drought on Maya civilization. The changes experienced in climate are seen as key issues in the fall and rise of world civilization. In this disposition, abrupt change in climate is to blame for the collapse of Maya civilization. Drought in Mesoamerica is brought by cold in Northern Hemisphere. At the same time when Maya experienced drought, N (Joseph 57). Europe had extremely low temperatures. At the initial stages of 20th century, northern Europe experienced cold the same time when Maya was having drought. Activities related to volcanoes which are not within Mesoamerica result to cold weather bringing draught. Although the Maya was in a tropical rainforest they partly lived in a temporary desert without enjoying clean source of water. They are said to have created civilization in a temporary desert by constructing water storage system and administration which purely depended on rainfall consistently. Constant requirement for water resulted to Maya being kept at the survival edge. Looking at this balancing of cold and dry seasons even a small change in distribution of precipitation yearly can bring serious impacts (Joseph 22).
Another contributing factor of Maya decline is deteriorating agriculture and conditions in resources. As observed most of agricultural system in Maya was greatly depending on a more simple set up. Going by this argument, exhaustion on soil was attributed to soil erosion and competition in savanna grass. Latest observations indicate that, methods applied by the Mayan agriculturally brought the high number of polities in Maya. Latest archaeologists understand that, the intensive complicated and efficient techniques in farming of the old Maya and several other methods of the Mayans have not been proved (Burton 17).
The agricultural methods seen as intensive were brought about and used by the Mesoamericans to improve production of food and allow them an added advantage over those who did not have skills. Such methods included raised fields, terracing, use of individual's waste as fertilizer and canals among others. For over one thousand years Mesoamericans managed to make use of the region full of terrains and the tropical rainforest. Their agricultural methods were highly depending on water (Alan 378). They survived in a region where to many people today would not be suitable to support human life. How they survived for over two millennia was just surprising.
One strange thing known about the Mayans is that they were not given to warfare and they were indeed peaceful. The latest study based on the excavated materials from their tombs show that war and sacrifices were given an upper hand in their religious practices. Because they valued blood from human being, they used all means to get it (Burton 13).
This involved practices like piercing some body parts to get it. They are also associated with cannibalism to show they were superior over those they ate so as to acquire their strength and wisdom (Alan 445). The classic Mayan civilization started going down towards the end of eighth century with some city states equally going down while others remained powerful until the thirteenth century. While suspicions remain widespread explaining why population and culture failed, there is an upcoming acceptance about certain ideologies. A good example is upcoming evidence that a mixture of internal and external pressures led to the eventual death of Maya civilization besides natural impacts.
New resources are also to some extent seen as having contributed to collapse of civilization although not seen by many. The argument here is that new resources led to collapse of civilization. This emanates from the school of integration which looks at complexity as an answer to stress conditions, inequities included. When such inequities are alleviated, need for ranking and social control may break down leading to a lower level of complexity. The argument behind this is that, with the introduction of iron, less expensive and easier to acquire than bronze, farmers and other people could access tools and weapons that allowed them to challenge the soldiers of improved states (Burton 11).
In Maya civilization, both in the political class and priesthood, nepotism was the prevailing condition under which members were chosen. The kings were chosen under the primogeniture as they passed their position to their sons. After the successor was born, the kings conducted a sacrifice of blood from his body to his forefathers. A sacrifice of human being was given when anew king was being put in the office. For one to become a king, one must have taken a victim in a war to be used in his ceremony of accession. This was the most important in a life of a king as it establishes him as the leader in that particular lineage. These archaic religions must have greatly contributed to the collapse of Maya civilization. It is a religion that by far reduced the population of the Mayans. The fact that most leaders were also picked on unclear bases contributes to the decline of this civilization (Alan 343)
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