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So were the 4 main Mesoamerican cultures

So were the 4 main Mesoamerican cultures

July 14, 2024

Much is said, vaguely, about the aboriginal cultures of the American continent, especially the center and south of it. The Mayan or Aztec cultures are the most important at historical level, due to the great influence they had. However, there are more than a dozen Mesoamerican civilizations and cultures , which have more than 20000 a.C. years in some cases.

According to the findings and expert archaeologists, Mesoamerican cultures existed in this area of ​​the planet, such as the Huastecas, Tlaxcaltecas, Chichimecas, Toltecs and Zapotecs, among others. In this sense, it seems America was discovered long before the arrival of Christopher Columbus (1492) and the Spanish Empire that arrived to settle its foundations for the wealth of these lands.


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The origins of Mesoamerica

As we have indicated in the introduction, the Mesoamerican culture or civilization goes back to the pre-Hispanic era of the regions that now make up countries like Mexico, El Salvador, Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica. The beginning of the cultural and demographic proliferation occurred in the thaw, around 7000 BC, a fact that meant the development of agricultural activity so that the inhabitants could subsist.

Over the years (millennia) and as the different aboriginal communities were evolving, other more complex skills were developed, such as architecture and the establishment of cities. As it happened in the beginnings of almost any type of society, they were laying the foundations of a religion in which to lean , perform rituals and worship the gods who were asked for help in difficult times.


The most important Mesoamerican cultures

Although it may seem that these societies emerged at the same time, the investigations point to a temporary disparity between them. Below you will find a brief explanation about the most important Mesoamerican cultures.

1. Aztecs

Interestingly, in its beginnings the Aztecs they were considered a lower Mesoamerican culture due to their nomadic nature , until the 15th century came and decided to settle their own empire. They worked the land to improve the cultivation, built boats to resort to fishing and invented an irrigation system to supply water to the territory where they ruled.

The Aztecs began to use the term Mexihco, which in their language means "in the navel of the moon," whose city -which ended up being the capital city- founded in 1325 as Tenochtitlán, would end up being the current capital of Mexico. As the dominant tribe, the Aztecs decided to assimilate the weakest, creating a homogeneous community that would end up bringing together 38 provinces , all of them tributary for the development of the economy.


The religion they professed was considered bloodthirsty because of the offerings they had to make to their gods, which often meant the sacrifice of human lives, prisoners of tribal wars or even family. According to their belief, they had to feed the sun god, fertility and water to survive.

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2. Mayas

This is one of the most brilliant civilizations of Mesoamerican cultures. They attribute this characteristic of exceptional because they influenced the development of knowledge in the region. As regards the American continent, of them came astrology, mathematics or writing . The Mayans were considered at the same time the merchant community par excellence, and were pioneers with cocoa, silk and cotton cultivation.

Religion was equally polytheistic, alluding to the worship of various gods, especially that of corn, which was the basic source of income and food. Coinciding with the Aztec culture, we also resort to human sacrifice to please the gods, especially to avoid chaos and destruction.

3. Olmecs

One can consider the Olmec culture as the mother of the two previous ones, the architect of what encompasses the settlement of Mesoamerican cultures. They are attributed the creation of writing and epigraphy, the invention of the zero and the Mesoamerican calendar . As for the artistic section, the Olmec culture is easily distinguished from the rest, because its most emblematic iconography is formed by large statues in the form of heads.

The Olmec society was governed exclusively on the basis of theological laws. It is considered a theocracy of antiquity . The worship of the gods (it was also polytheistic) were represented in temples dedicated to them and sculptures of idolatry.In addition, there was an authority to regulate the creed: the figure of the Shaman, the equivalent of the Roman Pope.

4. Teotihuacan culture

Perhaps it is the least known civilization and the most enigmatic of them all, since it is believed that it disappeared long before the Spanish invasion . There is very little data about her. The knowledge that is had of the teotihuacanos arises the foundation of the city of Teotihuacán, that means "place of the gods".

The archaeological works led to the discovery of the city, which at its height was considered a prestigious metropolis and the nerve center of Mesoamerica. Religion once again takes a leading role in this civilization, and the temples of Quetzalcoatl, the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon are witnesses of this.


History Summarized: The Maya, Aztec, and Inca (July 2024).


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