Early Civiliza+ons in Mesoamerica Henry Lesperance Alvarez 1
Major Mesoamerican Civiliza+ons • The Olmec 1200 B.C. to 400 B.C. • Teo+huacan 100 A.D. to 650 A.D. • The Mayan 250 A.D. to 900 A.D. • The Toltec 900 A.D. to 1200 A.D. • The Aztec 1300 A.D. to 1521 A.D.
CRITERIA MANIFISTATION PERIOD DATE PaNern of Sedentary PRECLASSIC EARLY 2500 B.C. Subsistence Agricultural Produc+on Rela+on Social Stra+ﬁca+on PRECLASSIC MIDDLE 1200 B.C. Regional Economic Powerful Capitals PRECLASSIC LATE 400 B.C. & Poli+cal Rela+ons Dis+nc+on between Urbanism CLASSIC EARLY 150/200 A.D. City and Fields Intraregional Decline of Large CLASSIC LATE 650 A.D. Economic and Hegemonic States Poli+cal Rela+ons and Prolifera+on of Regional Capitals Hegemonic Poli+cal Forma+on of POSTCLASSIC EARLY 900 A.D. Rela+ons Alliances Among States Poli+cal Rela+ons of End of Alliances POSTCLASSIC LATE 1200 A.D. Central Control End of Mesoamerica Conquist COLONIAL 1521 A.D. 6
Na+ve Language Groups of Mexico at the +me of the Spanish Conquest 7
Casas Grandes and the Northern Trade Route • Central to any interac+on with the southwest during this period would have been Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, not far south of the border with New Mexico.
Casas Grandes, (Chihuahua) • Warehouses ﬁlled with rare Southwestern minerals, such as turquoise, were found at the site. A substan+al amount of these must have found its way south, where turquoise grow in importance for the Tarascans and other Mesoamericans.
What Traveled North? • The Pueblo Indians have a deep ritual need for feathers from tropical birds like parrots and macaws, since they symbolize fer+lity and the heat of the summer sun. Codex Mendoza
The World System in 1519 • Mesoamerica was an interconnected world that was integrated and in which events taking place in one social unit aﬀected those in another over an extended region.
The Olmec 1200 B.C. to 400 B.C. • The mysterious “rubber people” describe by the Aztec informants as inhabi+ng jungle country of the Gulf Coast; Thus the name became established. • All later civiliza+ons in Mesoamerica, whether Mexican or Maya, ul+mately rest on the Olmec base 16
• While linguis+c diversity and regional varia+ons persisted, common cultural elements can be traced back to the Olmec civiliza+on. • They include polytheis+c religions in which dei+es had dual (male/female) natures, • Rulers who exercised both secular and religious roles, • Use of warfare for obtaining sacriﬁcial vic+ms, • And the belief that bloodlehng was necessary for a society’s survival and prosperity. 17
• The use of ritual as well as solar calendars, • The construc+on of monumental architecture including pyramids, • The employment of a numerical system that used twenty as its base, • Emphasis on a Jaguar deity, • And the ubiquity of ball courts in which a game using a solid rubber ball was played were addi+onal characteris+cs of complex Mesoamerican socie+es. 18
Ball Game • In el Mana+, rubber balls found conﬁrm that the ball game is at least as old as the Olmec civiliza+on 19
Teo+huacan 100 A.D. to 650 A.D. • It may have housed more than 150,000 inhabitants, making it the largest city in the world-‐-‐outside of China. • Following the decline of the Olmecs the city of Teo+huacan exercised enormous inﬂuence in the development and spread of Mesoamerican culture. 27