Yucatec (Yukatek) and Maya Language, Culture, and History: Resources
- Ethnologue on the Mayan language family and the Yukatek Mayan language
- Wikipedia on Yukatek Mayan and Classical Mayan
- Central American Research Foundation resources on
- Recent History of the Yucatec Maya: The Caste War of Yucatán (1848-1901)
- Mel Gibson's film Apocalypto (official website)
- Jared Diamond's explanation of the collapse of classical Maya
civilization in his 2005 book Collapse:
How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (Penguin)
- Chapter 1 of the book
- Interview with Jared Diamond on the collapse of classical Maya civilization (Video: 2 min)
- Article: "The Last Americans: Environmental Collapse and the End of Civilization ", by Jared Diamond (Harper's June 2003)
- Article: "The Ends of the World as We Know Them", by Jared Diamond (New York Times Jan 1, 2005)
Selection from this article:
- "Mayans of the Yucatán Peninsula and adjacent parts of Central
America developed the New World's most advanced civilization before
Columbus. They were innovators in writing, astronomy, architecture
and art. From local origins around 2,500 years ago, Maya societies
rose especially after the year A.D. 250, reaching peaks of
population and sophistication in the late 8th century.
- "Thereafter, societies in the most densely populated areas of the
underwent a steep political and cultural collapse:
between 760 and 910, kings were overthrown, large areas were
abandoned, and at least 90 percent of the population disappeared,
leaving cities to become overgrown by jungle. The last known date
recorded on a Maya monument by their so-called Long Count calendar
corresponds to the year 909. What happened?
- "A major factor was environmental degradation by people:
deforestation, soil erosion and water management problems, all of
which resulted in less food. Those problems were exacerbated by
droughts, which may have been partly caused by humans themselves
through deforestation. Chronic warfare made matters worse, as more
and more people fought over less and less land and resources.
- "Why weren't these problems obvious to the Maya kings, who could
surely see their forests vanishing and their hills becoming eroded?
Part of the reason was that the kings were able to insulate
themselves from problems afflicting the rest of society. By
extracting wealth from commoners, they could remain well fed while
everyone else was slowly starving.
- "What's more, the kings were preoccupied with their own power
struggles. They had to concentrate on fighting one another and
keeping up their images through ostentatious displays of wealth. By
insulating themselves in the short run from the problems of
society, the elite merely bought themselves the privilege of being
among the last to starve."