Though isolated, it is clear that Mesoamerican civilization achieved some very impressive mathematical, architectural, engineering and calendrical advances. In terms of urban population, for example, the city of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico not too far from present-day Mexico City reached a size of well over , by ce; that size easily rivaled anything that had existed anywhere else in the ancient world.
The Olmec: The First Great Mesoamerican Civilization.
Note that there are still scholarly disputes over details who actually inhabited the city, maybe the Olmecs, before the city's decline by 8th century. One feature that Mesoamerican society had in common with its Near Eastern and later West European counterparts was a proclivity to violence. There was almost continuous violence as societies rose and fell; again very much like he history of Mesopotamia.
Some similarities to pre civilizations:. Starting in approximately ce, Mesoamerican society confronted the arrival of Europeans.
Tamoanchan – In Search of the Lost Cradle of Mesoamerican Civilizations
Initially that was Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors, but eventually French, British and Dutch also made their way to the New World. The latter three had much less of a presence in Central and South America. The year was not a sharp break point in the development of American culture; it was the introduction of a new culture that would take a lot of years to assimilate.
Note that I say nothing here about the population disaster that befell Mesoamerican societies. This is controversial issue and one on which there is no scholarly consensus, the wiki entry is as good as any for a starting point for further investigation. The past and present live side by side in much of present day Mexico, Central and South America. The reminders of the past are everywhere from the preserved remnants of Mesoamerican society to the linguistic merger of native dialects and Spanish.
The inhabitants also struggle to find different meanings in the past and actually to discover the true past. You may send me any suggested corrections or additions. Evans For information contact cevans nvcc. Some similarities to pre civilizations: Writing existed; Mayan script was hieroglyphic based like in Egypt or China A priestly temple class was a very powerful element in society such as in Egypt, Mesopotamia or India. San Lorenzo , the oldest known Olmec centre, dates to about bce , a time when the rest of Mesoamerica was at best on a Neolithic level.
The period known as the Middle Formative — bce , during which the La Venta urban complex rose and flourished, was one of increased cultural regionalism. However, at this site, as well as in the Valley of Mexico, the Olmec presence can be widely detected. The Maya, for example, brought astronomy , mathematics , calendar making, and hieroglyphic writing , as well as monumental architecture, to their highest expression in the New World.
Following Toltec decline, a further period of unrest in the Late Postclassic Period lasted until , when the Aztec defeated the rival city of Azcapotzalco and became the dominant force in central Mexico.
Mesoamerican civilization. Article Media. Info Print Cite.
Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback.
See Article History. Read More on This Topic. The term Mesoamerica denotes the part of Mexico and Central America that was civilized in pre-Spanish times. In many respects, the American…. Start your free trial today for unlimited access to Britannica.
Origin theories of Mesoamerican civilizations
Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. In many respects, the American Indians who inhabited Mesoamerica were the most advanced native peoples in the Western Hemisphere. The northern border of Mesoamerica runs west….
The outstanding cultural achievements of the pre-Columbian civilizations are often compared with those of Old World civilizations. An understanding of Mesoamerican agricultural origins is hampered by the fact that few archaeological sites pertinent to the question have been explored.