Created By Madison Starr and Emma Korman
The Anasazi, were a small group of people whose civilization lasted from 100 B.C. to 1300 A.D.. Sometimes, the Anasazi are called the Ancient Puebloans. The Anasazi lived in the area today known as Four Corners. This area of the United States is where the four states of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah meet.In the late 1200’s these people had abandoned their homeland for reasons such as drought, warfare, and failure of economy.
After the sixth century A.D., the Anasazi civilization in the Chaco Canyon's abandoned hunting and gathering and turned to relying on the cultivation of crops such as maize (corn). In order to grow maize, they needed rain, but the area was dry and rain was scattered. They made the mistake of trying to rely on rain even though it was unpredictable. Water was clearly a huge importance to the survival of the Anasazi civilization and they had trouble getting this resource. In the period between 1125 A.D. and 1180 A.D., very little rain fell in the Anasazi region. After 1180 A.D., rainfall briefly returned to normal which helped the Anasazi civilization last a little longer. From 1270 A.D. to 1274 A.D., there was another long drought. This was then followed by another period of normal rainfall. In 1275 A.D., yet another drought occurred which lasted 14 years. Since the Anasazi civilization was densely populated, they were using their land to its limits. Without rain, it was impossible to grow enough food to support the growing population. this caused a widespread famine to occur. The Anasazi people left the area in large groups and migrated to the south and east to join other pueblo peoples. They abandoned the Chaco Canyon. This lead the Anasazi civilization into a long period of migration and decline after these years of drought and famine. By the 1300's, it had all but died out in Chaco Canyon.
Even though times became difficult for the Anasazi, otherwise known as the ancient Puebloans, there had to have been a bigger reason for hundreds of little communities to all abandon their homeland. One of these reasons could have been warfare. Warfare could be a common issue occurring in this time period, especially with a small population of only 4,000 people in the whole community of the Southwest region to defend themselves from any danger. This wasn't only difficult because of the small population but because of how secluded the Anasazi were from the rest of the world did not make them as technologically advanced as other people were for that time period. There could be a few possibilities to why war broke out. It could have been invaders trying to take their land and their resources such as using the Povo and the San Juan Rivers, which were known for not drying up even in the driest of dry spells which were very common in this region. Or, even taking some of their goods such as the pottery they made which was their main income of money for their economy. Another prediction for why and how warfare broke out was between the Anasazi themselves. With their small population, it made it hard to bring in an income, thus causing problems. The Anasazi could have rebelled against one another causing people to flee and for some of the population to even die out.
By A.D. 1200 horticulture had assumed a significant role in the economy. their economy and population relied on horticulture in order to survive. They also used raw materials for building houses, manufacturing clothing and tools, creating beautiful pottery, and growing crops were for the most part locally produced. This means that their economy most likely relied on trading inside the civilization making it hard to get other needed items. Also, since they only relied on themselves to produce needed items, they could have run out of materials. This would have left them with no choice but to leave the land they once inhabited. This could have been one of the reasons why they migrated. A thought that was conducted is that they left all their pottery behind and home-made goods. This supports the theory that they ran out of materials and so they just left everything to find a place that could support their people.
"Ancient Pueblo Peoples: Dilemma: Opening." World History Ancient and Medieval Eras. ABC CLIO, 3 Mar. 2014. Web. 3 Mar. 2014. <http://ancienthistory.abc-clio.com/Analyze/Display/1493667?cid=12&terms=anasazi>
"Collapse: Chaco Canyon." Collapse: Chaco Canyon. Annenberg Foundation, 2014. Web. 02 Mar. 2014. <http://www.learner.org/interactives/collapse/chacocanyon.html>.
Diamond, Jared M. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. New York: Viking, 2005. Print.
Hurst, Winston. "Anasazi." Anasazi. Utah History Encyclopedia, 2014. Web. 03 Mar. 2014. <http://historytogo.utah.gov/utah_chapters/american_indians/anasazi.html>.
Diamond, Jared. "Chapter 4." Collapse: How Societies Chose to Fail or Succeed. Toronto: Penguin, 2005. 136-56. Print.
Johnson, George. "Land Use History of the Colorado Plateau-The Anasazi "Collapse"" Land Use History of the Colorado Plateau-The Anasazi "Collapse" N.p., 20 Aug. 1996. Web. 03 Mar. 2014. <http://www.cpluhna.nau.edu/People/anasazi_collapse.htm>.
Johnson, George. "Vanished: A Pueblo Mystery." The New York Times. The New York Times, 07 Apr. 2008. Web. 03 Mar. 2014. <http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/08/science/08anasazi.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0>.
Rick Bell. "The Anasazi." Iconn. N.p., 2014. Web. 3 Mar. 2014. <http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/eds/detail?vid=4&sid=bd40f6d2-f4f0-409b-b4ec-d0366f9326d6%40sessionmgr115&hid=101&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmU%3d#db=f5h&AN=9601231432>.
Steele, James. "Anasazi Kivas." Oxford University, 2014. Web. 3 Mar. 2014. <http://dailylife.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/1589926?terms=anasazi>.