The Maya

  • Anabel FordEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51726-1_3194-1

The conventional story of the magnificent Maya civilization ends after 2,000 years with environmental destruction and consequent disappearance of the people. This myth persists despite historical accounts to the contrary. Cortés, on his march to Lake Petén Itzá, describes the area as sufficiently populated to feed and house his retinue of more than 3,000 Mexica, gathered from Montezuma’s troops, and Spanish conquistadors under arms. Moreover, thirty centuries of population development in the Maya lowlands – stretching from Preclassic to Terminal Classic and through Colonial and present times – represent long-lasting continuity.

The source of Maya wealth lay in their landscape and their profound understanding of how to use it. In fact, the Maya’s subtle patterns of land use are embedded within the forest today. To understand the complex historical ecology of the Maya forest requires an examination of contemporary agroecology, traditional farming methods, and the paleoenvironmental...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Exploring Solutions Past – The Maya Forest Alliance; ISBER/MesoAmerican Research CenterUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Marcel Otte
    • 1
  1. 1.Service of PrehistoryUniversity of LiègeLiègeBelgium