American Indian APACHE
If a group of people deserve the label of "mother culture" or "mother civilization" Mesoamerica, this would be that of the Olmecs of the jungles, grasslands and marshes of the Gulf Coast of Mexico. In the Olmec culture developed the villages, though not quite as true of the city, at least as great centers of economic and ceremonies. The tribes became complex social structures. The crafts and manual work evolved into art, and architecture became refined and colossal proportions. The rituals were transformed into numerical systems, and calendar events in hieroglyphic writing.
Agriculture is extended through a network of trade relations.
This culture flourished, known as the Olmec, it influenced all other cultures arose later in Mesoamerica: the Maya, the Teotihuacan, the Totonachi, the Zapotec and, through them, the Toltecs, Mixtecs and Aztecs, like most other people north and south.
Like all major Mesoamerican civilization Olmec society was theocratic, with fixed classes of priests, bureaucrats, merchants and artisans in the towns. The agricultural population practiced agriculture based on ground-breaking (tearing down and burning trees to make way for fields) in order to support the other classes of society.
As for the artifacts, the Olmec are known for the giant basalt heads (some with a weight of 20 tons) with thick features and a hat like a helmet, and even statues of jade, pottery and stone-faced feline , the "baby-faces, which represented the Olmec descendant of a god, the jaguar, the rain god, and his human companions. The great feathered serpent, a recurring theme in Mesoamerica, is another common representation. The Olmecs are Also known for the large stems (carved stone slabs), for paving covered with mosaics of serpentine, magnetite for concave mirrors to light fires and ceramics edged in white.
The Olmecs, progressing, developed a number system and invented a calendar, as well as a hieroglyphic writing, which were then in vogue among the Maya for centuries to come. Indeed, given the linguistic and cultural ties between the two peoples, and not knowing what happened after the decline of the Olmec culture, some scholars have speculated that they are migrating south-east and became the direct ancestors of the Maya. The Maya have been called the "Greeks of the New World": This comparison expresses the high level of civility and intellect of these people. The Maya inherited a rich cultural legacy from the early Mesoamerican peoples and particularly to the Olmecs. Their greatness comes not so much innovation as the improvement of existing ways of life, as revealed by their complicated systems of mathematics, astronomy, calendar, their hieroglyphic writing, which is pictographic and ideographic perhaps even with glyphs that represent sounds and syllables, their realistic art style, is what the painting is that of the bas-reliefs, and finally their fine architecture, including the pyramids from the steep sides, the shelves at times, the ridges of the roofs.
The world of the Maya (link) of the Mayan and profeziecome Oltechi, revolved around ceremonial centers, you know at least 116 areas of the Maya in Mexico today, Guatemala, Honduras and San Salvador, many of these towns were magnificent structures stone, pyramid-shaped temples, platforms or astronomical observatories, palaces, monasteries, baths, fields for playing ball, squares, bridges, aqueducts and reservoirs. Tikal, for example, one of the most important of the classical culture of the plains, found in Guatemala, had six of 3,000 structures including temples, pyramid-shaped, stretched for about 2 square miles and had a population of about 100,000 inhabitants.
Although Mayan society was strictly organized according to different classes (priests, hereditary oligarchies, artisans and peasants), there is no evidence of a broader policy that would combine the various population centers, or a dominant capital. They were not belligerent and did not try to fight their neighbors. Stipulated, however far-reaching trade relations. They were a seafaring people and traders traveling with some large canoes, carved from a single trunk, with a maximum of 25 rowers.
Do you know the reason why the Maya centers of the classics of the plain have fallen into a state of cultural decline around 900 AD A credible theory indicates this decline as a consequence of the decline of agriculture and because of growing population and the depletion of the soil which also led to an uprising of peasants against the priests and nobles regents. In any case, from that moment on the Mayan culture flourished mainly in the south, in the highlands of Guatemala.
After the 1000 A.D. developed another strain of the Mayan culture in Yucatan Peninsula, as a result of an invasion of people who joined the Toltecs and Mayans adopted their traditions and their aesthetic. Then arose of ceremonial centers like Chichen, Itza, Mayapan, and Tulum.
The Chichimecs nomads or "sons of dogs" arrived in the valley of Mexico from the northern regions, in small groups and the eighth century onwards. But only in the tenth century one of these nomadic tribes, the Tolteca-Chichimeca, managed to take over the others. Their leader was called Mixcoatl.
Studying the local cultures, it was discovered that they built a great city, Tula, situated on top of a mountain and well defended. In 968 Topiltzin, son of Mixcoatl, came to power. It 'hard to distinguish fact from legend, since most of what we know about the history of Toltec, was passed down through myths and Aztec poems, in which both father and son are treated as gods: Mixcoatl as a god of hunting, Topiltzin as Quetzalcoatl, the Plumed Serpent which is the oldest of which took its name. And 'well known, however, that Topiltzin-Quetzalcoatl established the Toltec empire with an independent city-states. sought to increase the cultural level of his people and thanks to his work as "Toltec" became synonymous with "civilized" follows in the tradition. Topiltzin-Quetzalcoatl encouraged architecture, the Toltecs became excellent builders: they built palaces and halls of columns and frescoes, huge pyramids, gardens, surrounded by a wall to the ball game. Topiltzin encouraged the processing of metals, the Toltecs modeled objects of gold and fine silver. New ceramic forms appeared in the Toltec culture: weaving, feather work and hieroglyphic writing developed further. He gave impetus to agriculture, which gave results in the production of better types of maize, cassava and cotton.
According to tradition, the peaceful Topiltzin-Quetzalcoatl fell from power when he tried to abolish human sacrifices, which were practiced on a large scale. As a result, his followers, namely those of the Feathered Serpent benign, were overwhelmed by those of the god Tezcatlipoca, the god of the night.
It is not known the exact nature of this power struggle. You do not even know what happened to Topiltzin-Quetzalcoatl and his entourage after the alleged loss. Perhaps the two deities represented theocratic and militaristic elements of Toltec society. Maybe they were those Toltecs who invaded Yucatan and contributed to the rebirth of the Mayan culture, the period would correspond. If the great king still living do not know, the legend of Quetzalcoatl, however, became so popular throughout Central America that still centuries later, Montezuma II, emperor of the Aztecs believed Cortes, the Spanish conquistador, was the god returning.
Regarding the Toltecs who remained in power in Tulare and the valley of Mexico, it is known that they were haunted by a series of disasters such as drought, fire and invasions of the nomads of the north. They were back to square one, once were the "sons of dogs", the conquerors, now it was their turn to be conquered. Tula was destroyed in 1160.
As the Toltecs before them, which now became tributary, the Mexica were a people chichimeco, migrated from the north in the valley of Mexico. The date of their arrival in the region is 1168. During the following years they lived as nomads on the margins of local cultures and sometimes served as mercenaries of the army, with their bows and arrows deadly. Supposedly founded two settlements on marshy islands in Lake Texcoco, Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco, ie, approximately 1325. Tenochtitlan, the area where Mexico City stands today, is extended; wicker baskets were laid down on the lake bottom and loaded with silt and other plant materials by creating chinampas, artificial islands for agriculture. It 'possible that Tenochtitlan conquered and absorbed Tlateloco. The inhabitants of Tenochtitlan, which is called Tenocha, tenaciously fought for dominance over rival city-states of the valley. The most salient was the alliance with Texcoco Alcohua against Tepanec, other people recently arrived in the valley and great rival of Tenocha.
Tenocha I took the new name of the legendary Aztec Aztlan, which presumably are derived, and began to subdue many of the other peoples of central Mexico. Tenochtitlan became a city with hundreds of buildings and connected with a complex system of channels, with an estimated population of about 300,000 inhabitants. The entire Aztec empire came to include approximately 5,000,000 individuals. The conquests of the Aztecs were useful for two reasons: first it was kept the business empire they had created. In fact, gold, silver, copper, pearls, jade, turquoise and obsidian were important products for their business, as well as cereals, beans, pumpkins, tomatoes, cotton, cocoa, mango, papaya and avocado plus domesticated dogs and turkeys. The same goods were sometimes delivered as tribute from defeated peoples who did not receive anything in return. But the Aztecs demanded much more from conquered peoples: in addition to their property, they also wanted individuals. In fact, secondly, their military activity aimed to make the prisoners for human sacrifice, which they performed state functions to maintain order.
Religion compenetrò the life of the Aztecs. Each of their deities, many of which already worshiped by the early Mesoamerican peoples, such as the Quetzalcoatl, had its own cult. Huitzilopochtli, god of war, was invented by the Aztecs demanded tribute and more. Thousands of prisoners were murdered at the top of the pyramid-temples and their hearts torn by the priests. The Aztecs did not give rise to human sacrifice in Central America, but developed it to unusual extremes of cruelty and fanaticism. The priests, though they represented the central function of Aztec society, were not as powerful as in other Mesoamerican theocracies. At the height of the class system was the Chief of Men, chosen by a royal family from the noble clan of people, from wealthy merchants and chiefs. Below were ordinary citizens, including farmers and artisans and the group of unskilled workers, even as there were slaves.
Of all the "lost civilizations", that of the Aztecs is the best known because it was at its peak when the Europeans arrived. Although the Spanish have quickly destroyed the Aztec culture, temples, sculptures, writings, have valuable information stored on it. However, despite all that is known of the Aztecs, remains a puzzling paradox: on the one side there was a culture complex, sophisticated, highly intellectual purpose and a refined sense of aesthetics, the other a fierce culture of death that fed ritualistic individuals.
The Olmecs, Mayans, Toltecs and Aztecs were great rulers during their heyday and culture are described along with their main centers. Teotihuacan was a city-state, and it is unknown which was the people who founded it and brought it to its important role in the classical period. Whoever they were, the Teotihuacan culture peaked in the valley of Mexico, while the Maya flourished in the Southeast. The cross-influence between the two peoples had its share in the greatness of both. Teotihuacan, in addition to develop as a ceremonial center, became the first true cities of Central America, a well-designed city covering an area of 20 km2 with a population that reached to 125,000 units. The villagers made squares, avenues, canals, parks, sewers, markets, shops, apartment buildings (blocks consist of adobe and plaster to a floor with many rooms), and temple pyramids. Two massive pyramids, the Pyramid of the Sun 60-meter high the smaller Pyramid of the Moon, were connected with the city's main thoroughfare, the Avenue of the Dead, 4,800 m long. The citadel, a fence and a large square of buildings that included the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, had joined the avenue.