Yesterday I borrowed a book by Mike Davis (2001) called Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño and the Making of the Third World. The reason why I will read it is because it seems to fit my own hypothesis that the Spanish presence in the Maya area during the Colonial period led to changes that in itself created worse conditions for the Maya than those that led to the so-called Maya collapse. Hence, any attempts of trying to explain the societal effects of Prehispanic droughts by analogies drawn from the post-conquest era are highly problematic. Davis shows how droughts caused by El Niños in the 19th century synchronized with the rapid integration of “peripheral” regions into the global markets during the European colonialism. I quote a review of the book:
“Mike Davis charts the unprecedented human suffering caused by a series of extreme climactic conditions in the final quarter of the 19th century. Drought and monsoons afflicted much of China, southern Africa, Brazil, Egypt and India. The death tolls were staggering: around 12m Chinese and over 6m Indians in 1876-1878 alone. The chief culprit, according to Davis, was not the weather, but European empires, with Japan and the US. Their imposition of free-market economics on the colonial world was tantamount to a “cultural genocide”.“
There are differences between the 16th and 17th centuries in Yucatan and these later colonial politics, such as there being little to no free-market in Yucatan until the Bourbon reforms in the 18th century. However, for me the main goal is to point out the abstract machine(s) that selected the various assemblages under discussion in this book and in my study. I will make more substantial comments once I have read it (but I have to read some cave articles first).