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08_Aztec - The Conquest of Mexico AZTEC AZTEC BACKGROUND...

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The Conquest of Mexico The Conquest of Mexico
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AZTEC AZTEC BACKGROUND BACKGROUND
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The Aztecs were part of Meso- American culture. The Olmecs were primarily artists and traders. They invented the hieroglyphic writing system that the Mayans adapted to their language, and the basic Meso-American calendar. Its roots lie in the Olmec culture that flourished 3500 years ago in southern Mexico. They discovered chocolate. Cocoa is an Olmec word. Meso-American culture is very old.
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The descendants of the Olmecs are the Zoques and Mixes who live in the region of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Most modern Mexicans don’t want to believe this because Zoques and Mixes are among the lowest status of all the indigenous groups.
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From 1500 B.C. to 400 B.C. Olmec culture developed: • Corn is a Western Hemisphere grass developed into a food plant originally in Peru, from which it spread north. • Sophisticated agriculture — primarily corn and beans
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From 1500 B.C. to 400 B.C. Olmec culture developed: • Sophisticated agriculture — primarily corn and beans • The Meso-American calendar
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• Sophisticated ceramics From 1500 B.C. to 400 B.C. Olmec culture developed: • Sophisticated agriculture — primarily corn and beans • The Meso-American calendar
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In the same general time period important ritual development was beginning centered around Monte Albán. Monte Albán was first developed by the ancestors of Zapotecs and was taken over in its waning period by Mixtecs.
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Monte Albán is situated on top of a hill in the current Mexican state of Oaxaca. The pyramids here are small in comparison to the later pyramids of Meso-America, both Mayan and those in the Valley of Mexico (including Aztec).
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Meso-American Culture spread north to the Valley of Mexico The most important center was Teotihuacán, which rose to prominence around 200 B.C. The identity of the Teotihuacanos, is unknown. My personal guess is that they were Otomí.
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Teotihuacán was a large city. The ceremonial plaza alone covers 38 acres, and there were 300 palaces for priests. Teotihuacán exerted enormous influence over much of central and southern Mexico.
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