Climate Change Made The Maya Civilization Unleash Series Of Wars & Atrocities


A report by Regin Olimberio for the Science Times.

A study linked climate change and subsequent increase in temperature to rising wars and conflicts during the classic Mayan period. The Maya flourishes for 500 years in Mesoamerica from 363 to 888 AD. However, ancient drawings and records reveal that apart from an interesting civilization, the Mayans delved in violence as the region warms.

The Maya civilization is known for its fully developed writing system, art, architecture, mathematics and even astrology. At its peak, the Mayan empire covers much of modern-day Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador. While the Maya is widely considered as civilized by all standards during the pre-Columbian era, they engaged in several internal conquests, conflicts, wars, and violent acts that were attributed to climate change.

In a study published at Science Direct, researchers linked climate change to increased number of wars among Maya civilization. The climatic variables, especially the increase in temperature, coincides with increased atrocities among the Mayans. The study based this observation in the collection of dated monuments which they graphed along the temperature and rainfall records in the region.

According to lead author Mark Collard of the Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, the increase in Maya civilization conflict level is in correspondence with climate change. The decrease in rainfall and increase in summer temperature coincides with 144 unique conflicts among the Mayans. These wars happened at an especially high rate in 30 major Maya centers, the Seeker reported.

Collard also noted that the number of wars and conflicts gradually escalated as climate change yielded hotter temperature in the mid to end part of the Maya period. The Maya civilization initially started with 0 to 3 conflicts in every 25 years, then progressed to 24 major conflicts in every 25 years. The science community initially thought that these wars were mainly because of drought and fight for water supply. Never before did they directly connected these events to climate change.

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