When the Spanish conquistadores sailed for Central America in 1517, their goal was to vanquish the resident Maya civilisation. But the colonists arrived to find that much of their work had been done for them. The Maya's towering limestone cities were already being reclaimed by the jungle.
The question of how the Maya met their end is one of history's most enduring mysteries. The Maya people survived, but by the time the Spanish made landfall, the political and economic power which at one time sustained a population of some two million people, had vanished.