Mayan Collapse

By: Michael Svagdis and George McMahon


Due to a massive growth in population, deforestation, soil erosion, and a lack of advancement in technology, the Mayan civilization collapsed.

Population Growth

Due to the Mayan population spike in 800 AD, the Mayans struggled to support their people. The Mayans were not a particularly advanced civilization. They had not yet domesticated animals like the ox to plow fields to be planted on. This prevented them from mass producing food, which led to huge food shortages. Because of this population growth, fields were over farmed leading to soil erosion and deforestation, as displayed below.

Deforestation and Soil Ersoion

Because of the massive growth in population, the demand for food grew significantly. Mayan fields were notably over farmed. Due to the higher demand, farmers couldn't afford to even take an off season. The soil became dry and coarse. Also, Mayans needed more space to farm. This is where deforestation took part. According to Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, deforestation caused at least 60% of the environmental drying.

Advancement in Technology

Although the Mayans were one of the most advanced civilizations in the Americas at that time, this did not mean they were advanced for their time period. The Mayans had yet to use the wheel and a boat with sails for transportation. They relied on people to transport items. This really limited their ability to trade with other civilizations. Also, because of their massive spike in population, they needed more supplies. As the demand for goods grew, they could not deliver due to a lack of technology.


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