The greatest Maya enemy was in fact, each other. War between Mayan city-states was common because resources were scarce and conflict was the best way
Drought would have hit cities like Tikal–where rainwater was necessary for drinking as well as for crop irrigation–especially hard. All three of these factors–overpopulation and overuse of the land, endemic warfare and drought–may have played a part in the downfall of the Maya in the southern lowlands.
For many years, archeologists thought the Mayans a peaceful people, capable of war, but rarely indulging in it. However, as archeologists explored more Mayan cities and more evidence was uncovered, they realized that Mayans often fought wars, especially during the Late Classical era of 600 to 900 A.D.
Maya polities engaged in violent warfare for political control of people and resources. Some scholars have suggested that the capture of sacrificial victims was a driving force behind warfare. Among the most critical resources were water and agricultural land.
After assembling a record-setting 154 radiocarbon dates, the researchers have been able to develop a highly precise chronology that illuminates the patterns that led up to the two collapses that the Maya civilization experienced: the Preclassic collapse, in the second century A.D., and the more well-known Classic
There is universal agreement that some Mesoamerican people practiced human sacrifice and cannibalism , but there is no scholarly consensus as to its extent.
The Maya have lived in Central America for many centuries. They are one of the many Precolumbian native peoples of Mesoamerica . In the past and today they occupy Guatemala, adjacent portions of Chiapas and Tabasco, the whole of the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize, and the western edges of Honduras and Salvador.
Blood was viewed as a potent source of nourishment for the Maya deities, and the sacrifice of a living creature was a powerful blood offering. By extension, the sacrifice of a human life was the ultimate offering of blood to the gods, and the most important Maya rituals culminated in human sacrifice .
Mel Gibson’s road to rehabilitation after his anti-semitic outburst last summer appears to have hit a pothole: his Mayan epic Apocalypto has been condemned by a Guatemalan official for painting Mayan people in a derogatory light.
The Maya had a system of serfdom and slavery . Serfs typically worked lands that belonged to the ruler or local town leader. There was an active slave trade in the Maya region, and commoners and elites were both permitted to own slaves .
Maya historians have generally settled on a combination of three main factors which could have caused the Maya collapse: warfare between city – states , overpopulation, and drought. Previously, warfare had often been token, in that defeat might result in only a small number of important figures being taken as captives.
The Maya believed that when people died, they entered the Underworld through a cave or a cenote. When kings died, they followed the path linked to the cosmic movement of the sun and fell into the Underworld; but, because they possessed supernatural powers, they were reborn into the Sky World and became gods.