Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed?

Running Head: COLLAPSE 1

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
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Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
1. Who were the Anasazi and how do we know what we do about them? According to Jared Diamond, what is Chaco’s message?
a) Anasazi
The Anasazi are believed to be the ancestors of the present Pueblo Indians. This community resided in the Four Corners region which is in the Southern part of Utah. They also occupied other regions such as: northwest of the New Mexico and also northern Arizona. The community lived between 200-1300 A.D (Diamond, 2005). They used logs to construct houses and other structures. Their main economic activities included farming, hunting, and gathering. The Anasazi are famously remembered for their flexibility in culture. In this light, therefore, they were associated with numerous cultural changes which have been grouped by researchers into periods such as Basketmakers and Pueblos. Some of the different Anasazi cultures include: Kayenta Anasazi and Virgin Anasazi.
Today, we can learn about the history, facts, and culture of the Anasazi using a couple of ways, first, the Magnificent Cliff Palace structure discovered in Mesa Verde in 1888 by Colorado cowboys shows the history and the culture of the Anasazi. Secondly, the archeological materials such as; pots, potsherds, and cliff dwellings in Four Corners and the Southwestern and Arizona and Utah region show the presence of the Anasazi in the past.
b) Chaco’s Message on the Collapse of Anasazi
Chaco’s Message attempted to explain the reason why the Anasazi community collapsed even after a series of stability and flexibility in culture and change. First, according to J. Diamond, the Asanazi Great Drought of 1275 to 1300 drew back the farmers of the Anasazi community (Diamond, 2005). Eventually, the entire community exited the Four Corners region. Secondly, invasion of politics and religious beliefs which were extreme and opposed to Anasazi beliefs contributed much to the decline of the community. Lastly, Chaco Canyon’s social-control cannibalism weakened the strength of the community (Diamond, 2005). They demanded an economical share of the farm produce from the community even during drought and famine. This weakened the community.
2. Who were the ancient Maya and what was the geographical extent of their civilization? According to Jared Diamond, why did their society collapse?
a) Ancient Maya
The Maya people are famous due to their culture and religion. The Maya Empire was found in the tropical lowlands of the South America regions of Mexico, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. The Maya’s agriculture, pottery, hieroglyph writing, mathematics, and own calendar are famous even up to today. The Early Maya lived from 1800 B.C. to 250 A.D. while the Classic Maya lived from 250 A.D. to 900 A.D. The community was associated with high quality architecture and symbolic artwork. Maya people were also associated with immense geographical dispersal (Diamond, 2005). This led to evolution of numerous languages, wisdom, and cultures. The rise of different cultures and languages as well as increase in the level of wisdom led to civilization of the entire empire.
b) The Maya Collapse
Over the years, there have been many questions as to why Maya, a civilized society with a population of over 19 million people, just collapsed and disappeared in the 9th Century (Diamond, 2005). Despite the unity, strong culture, and civilization, Maya eventually collapsed due to a couple of reasons. First, a major drought struck Guatemala region where the empire claimed its settlement. The drought was as a result of deforestation of the whole area where Maya people for agriculture. Secondly, the community was associated with massive cutting down of the tress which were needed wood to fuel the fires that cooked the lime plaster for their construction (Diamond, 2005). Lastly, cultures from other regions such as America, which came with missionaries and other travellers, corrupted the ancient cultural practices and beliefs leading to decline.

Diamond, Jared. Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed. Penguin, 2005.

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