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2012 - Will the World End on December 21, 2012?

Updated on February 7, 2012
2012 - End of the World
2012 - End of the World
Mayan Calendar
Mayan Calendar

Mayan Calendar and 2012

Will the world end in 2012? Some people believe that the ancient Mayans predicted the end of the world on December 2012. They base this belief on the fact that the Mayans calculated the years based on a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mayan Long Count calendar

The end of each long cycle corresponded to the end of one world. The Mayans believed that they (and we) were living in the Fourth World and that there had been three previous, somewhat unsuccessful worlds or ages, that had been created and then destroyed by the gods. This Fourth World would also come to an end when the long cycle of 5,125 years was completed. Obviously the Mayans did not use the same system of dating as we do, and so the year 2012 has no meaning or direct correspondence to any specific Mayan date. In other words, there is no Mayan calendar that explicitly says that the Fourth World or Age will end on December 21, 2012. So why then do some people believe that the world will end in 2012?

End of the World

The Last Judgment
The Last Judgment


Even assuming that the end of the Mayan long calendar correspondence with or predicts the end of the world, how do we know when that will be, in relation to our own calendar? Some historians and archaeologists have attempted to translate the Mayan calendar or convert it into our system of dating in order to place Mayan history into context. They have done this by a number of methods, but mainly by trying to locate known events and astronomical markers such as eclipses within the Mayan calendar. Based on these deductions, many believe that the Mayan Long Calendar ends on December 21, 2012. However, there is no consensus on exactly how the Mayan calendar corresponds with our notion of dates.

So even if the world will end with the last year of the 5125 year cycle, it is by no means certain that we know that the last year is in fact 2012. If we are off by one year it may end in 2011 or 2013.

The Maya
The Maya

Did the Mayans Really Predict the End of the World

Did the Mayans actually predict the end of the world?

Much of the unease about the upcoming 2012 date arises from the belief that the end of the world cycle means that our world will end and we will all be dead. But that is not necessarily an accurate interpretation of the Mayans' concept of World Ages. While it is true that the Mayans believed that there had been previous worlds which had been created and then destroyed, it is not certain that they believed that we wold all be dead after the the end of this latest cycle. Some Mayan codices have been found which refer to future dates and events beyond the end of the current world age. If the Mayans had expected the world to end in 2012 (or whatever other date corresponds to the end of the Fourth Age) they presumably would not have bothered to calculate the date of even more distant astrological and astronomical events.

Will 2012 Usher in Hell on Earth
Will 2012 Usher in Hell on Earth | Source

Can the End of the World be Predicted?

A better question might be, even if the Mayans thought that the world would end in 2012, so what? Why should we assume that they were right?

There have been many predictions of the world ending on a specific date. During the Middle Ages, the approach of the year 1000 was widely seen as the coming of the Apocalypse and the end times. Many people were gripped by panic as they believed Doomsday was at hand.

Such panics have usually been created by the approach of significant dates. For example, the ancient Romans were fearful that the world would end in 634 B.C. and then experienced a similar panic as the year 389 B.C. approached because these dates were significant anniversaries in the foundation of Rome. These panics have continued into recent times, and have fueled great tragedies including the Heaven's Gate suicides.

Since you are reading this article, it is obvious that these predictions have proved false in the past? Why then should we assume that the Mayans had any better skill in predicting the future?

While it is true that the Mayans were great builders and had sufficient knowledge of astronomy to create a sophisticated calendar, they were not a truly advanced society. The Mayans practiced human sacrifice (though not in the same scale or with the same blood thirsty zeal as the Aztecs) and they did not have any concept of the wheel. They were primitives who did not know that the world was round. Whatever their powers of prognostication, the Mayans failed to predict the demise of their own civilization, which collapsed suddenly even before the Spanish conquistadors arrived.

It is a measure of our gullibility, and our unease at the warning signs in our own own times that something is not right with the world, that we are so willing to believe that the Mayans may indeed have accurately predicted the end times. Strangely, even some Christian groups have bought into the 2012 hysteria and tied the Mayan predictions to the Christian concept of the Apocalypse. This is odd given the fact that the Mayans were pagans who practiced human sacrifice; their predictions should have no relevance to Christian beliefs.

Will the World End in 2012?

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The End of the World

One thing I can safely predict is that the world will end someday. It may be tomorrow, when a computer glitch unleashes an unintended nuclear holocaust, as has almost happened several times, or it may be billions of years from now when the sun runs out of fuel and becomes a red giant, burning the world into a cinder. Or the end of the world may come from some completely unexpected cause.

But whatever causes the end of the world, and whenever it happens, it will not be on December 12, 2012

What do You Think - Is 2012 the end of the World? Please Leave Your Comments

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      im scared

    • quotations profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert P 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Very true. But I think that it is safe to say that the Mayans had no idea when the world will end, and in fact they never predicted it. These stories about the world ending in 2012 based on a Mayan prophecy are nonsense. It is much like all the other hyped up predictions that fizzled, including the Y2K scam.

    • Sweet Chococarrie profile image

      Sweet Chococarrie 

      6 years ago from My Heart To Yours

      I did had the chance of viewing as much as videos about 2012 end of the world and had come across on a lot of wiki readings too, the lots of videos that explains past and present situations and signs and still i ended up on a reply that 'ONLY GOD KNOWS IN TRUTH'.

    • quotations profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert P 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Actually Nostradamus seemed to predict the end of the world would happen on 1999. His predictions also seem to describe a global war between the West and a unified Islamic power that invades and conquers most of Europe before being defeated by an alliance led by America (whom he describes as the Eagle) and Russia (whom he describes as the Bear), as well as Germany.

      The events predicted by Nostradamus could not happen by December 2012 because Nostradamus describes years of war, on far larger scale than the current low level guerrilla war in Afghanistan. Plus Nostradamus does not actually predict the end of the world as a result of this war; the war ends with the allied western powers defeating the last armies of the Islamic Empire in Saudi Arabia as well as Iran (Persia in his prophecies).

    • anne91 profile image


      6 years ago from india

      bt nostradamus has made a similar prediction..two of these predictions are coinciding pretty well..

    • quotations profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert P 

      6 years ago from Canada

      I don't think you have anything to worry about. If you were older you would remember that people were predicting catastrophe for the year 2000 and nothing happened. The idea that the Mayans, a primitive civilization who had not even discovered the wheel could have been able to accurately predict - to the day - the end of the world many centuries later is pure nonsense.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      im scared very scared and i like living and im only 10 years old! i like living!!!!!!!!!1

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      im scared

    • Jewelz1313 profile image


      7 years ago from Branson, Missouri

      I don't actually think the world will end on that day. I believe what the Bible states about only God knows. However, I do think that something may be brewing. It does seem as if a lot of the things going on today do coincide with the end times. I also have written an article on this subject.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      superwags "Brian Cox"

      you gotta be kiddin.....Right ?

    • The Ski profile image

      The Ski 

      7 years ago from South Africa, Cape Town

      Another great article.

      Check out my hubs for more on this. Also the story of the communicator is a thrilling account of what could be happening right now.


      The Ski

    • quotations profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert P 

      7 years ago from Canada


      You said "Great hub, although you could have shortened your hub to a single two letter word for the purposes of saving time!" True, but Google likes longer word counts:)

    • superwags profile image


      7 years ago from UK

      Great hub, although you could have shortened your hub to a single two letter word for the purposes of saving time!

      Here's theoretical physicist (and personal hero) Prof Brian Cox explaining between filming what a load of crap it is!

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 

      7 years ago from Northeastern United States

      Hmmm. This makes for facinating reading.

      The Bible predicts in the Book of Revelation and Daniel an end of this world and start of a new one. Only God Himself knows if the Mayan calendar pinpointed it right or it's coming sometime later down the road but Biblical prophetic signs do indicate that the end is near.


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