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*** Chapter 5 *** The Maya Collapses 
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Post *** Chapter 5 *** The Maya Collapses
This thread is for discussing Ch. 5 - The Maya Collapses.

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Edited by: misterpessimistic  at: 4/25/05 9:47 am



Sat Mar 26, 2005 12:59 am
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Post The Spanish and the Collapse
The beginning of this chapter presents the Maya civilization with the wonder and romanticism of modern day people since the re-discovery of this lost civilization. The passage from John Stephens's writings is very poignant in regard to this approach.

One thing disturbed me in the early pages of this chapter and that is the story of the Spanish conquest and domination of the Mayan civilization, in particular, the religious arrogance that resulted in the loss of the majority of Maya manuscripts. Whatever the excuse anyone gives, it still makes me ill.

When Diamond applies his 5 point framework to this societal collapse, I find myself a bit surprised that he does not include the conquest of the Spanish. He does include the 'Hostile Neighbors", but applies this to the Maya when he states: "Hostilities among the Maya themselves did play a large role." Does this mean the Spanish did not count as a "Hostile Neighbor"? Did the Spanish conquest play no part in the Maya collapse? I cannot see how this can be the case.

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Mon Apr 25, 2005 10:22 am
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Post Re: The Spanish and the Collapse
The Mayan civilization had collapsed by the time the Spanish invaded. The Spanish still encounted the Mayan people, but they were disparate rather than unified. This from the article in the online version of the Columbia Encyclopedia:

The period following A.D. 900 was one of rapid decline, and many of the major cities were abandoned. In the heartland of the lowland Maya, most major centers had been abandoned, probably more gradually than has been supposed, by around A.D. 1100. In the Yucatan highlands settlement persisted, with a probable colonization of the site of Chichen Itza by Toltec from Central Mexico. By the time of Spanish conquest, most Mayan populations were centered around small villages.




Mon Apr 25, 2005 8:08 pm
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Post Re: The Spanish and the Collapse
I just got to this part in the chapter...that is what I get for posting early in a chapter. With that said, can we say the Spanish conquered them at all? They just moved in basically.

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Mon Apr 25, 2005 9:27 pm
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Post Re: The Spanish and the Collapse
MadArchitect has the right answer. And mr. p, I would agree that the spanish probably didn't 'conquer' the maya, they were already gone.

Got to visit Tezcal and another Maya city in Belize a couple of years ago at xmas. Wow, what a place. The knowledge of astronomy and other sciences was amazing. Further, it is very clear that there are many other Maya cities that just haven't been uncovered yet. The jungle has overgrown everthing so much, it is possible that every hill is actually a buried ruin.

I'm not sure I buy the author's comment about not being able to conquer other cities because of the lack of supply lines. Many armies in history have 'lived off the land' as they marched from one point to the next. Perhaps the best example of this is the conquests of Alexander the Great.




Wed Apr 27, 2005 12:15 am
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