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The downfall of the Maya

Oct 20,2018 - Last updated at Oct 20,2018

Amidst the furious inquiry about the changes inflicted on world civilisations by climate change, I came across "Bolivar's Legacy" by Fausto Fernandez Borge, which clearly identifies the downfall of Latin American civilisations during certain stages of history.

It has been discussed in published research that overpopulated civilisatory centres of the Aztecs and Incas, before the time of the European conquest in late 15th century, were suffering from famine due to crop failures, eventually leading to city-states invading each other. Famine reached a status where people resorted to cannibalism, as justified by knife strokes on bone remains of a child under one of the dwellings, as well as other evidences. The latter habit was not unique to Latin America but was documented too during the 11th century Europe, just before the Crusades took off for Palestine, by Zoe Oldenburg in his book “The Crusaders”, translated by Anne carter in 1966.

Between 200BC and 900AD, Fausto Borge mentions in his book, that a great civilisation which rose with a sustainable social structure and a unique heritage of architecture, language and writing system… etc, crumbled down in time. The population density was very high, coupled with a drought that lasted for two centuries and led the population into fierce civil wars, which ended by retreating to higher grounds in the Guatemalan highlands and the hills of the Yucatan.

If we look at the global temperature fluctuation map, we can notice very clearly the warming period that started in the early first century BCE and ended around the seventh century AD, which was enough to cause widespread droughts and failure of crops, eventually forcing the population to migrate to higher grounds or head further north. This heat wave had continued for nearly a millennium and is called the "Roman Warming Period" which pushed the Roman Empire further north as far as Britain, and incited the Arabs to move north to Spain in early 8th century. However, the extreme weather conditions which hit Europe during the "Little Ice Age", which extended from the 14th century until late 18th century, pushed Europe's sea lords west to a warmer climate, but only to ravage what was left of the Latin American civilisation in the 16th century in a manner similar to Genghis Khan’s Army in the 13th century. This savagery was practiced at a time when the Arabs had just left a global heritage in Andalusia, where Muslims, Christians and Jews lived in harmony and produced a wonderful tangible heritage of architecture and a magnificent intangible heritage of poetry, art, science and philosophy that is today considered by scholars as the basis for the European Renaissance.


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