This article comes largely from the Historical Association website

Around 900AD, most of the Maya disappeared from the historical record. Many of their cities were deserted. No more stelae [special commemorative columns] were built after 845AD. It is a real history mystery. Historians disagree about the reasons. There are many interpretations of events at the time. [Interpretation: one historian’s idea or argument as to what happened, based on the evidence they have found and used.] Here are some of the different interpretations used by historians to try to explain the mystery of the disappearance of most of the Maya around 900AD. You could probably discover many more if you search on the internet!


There was a long drought in the region, from around 820 AD to about 940 AD, and again from around 1000AD to around 1100 AD. The Maya were using more water than was falling as rain. This meant they were unable to grow enough food to feed everyone, so many people starved, or moved out of the cities into the countryside to try to grow their own food.

The actions of rulers of the cities

Some historians say there is evidence that at this time

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