Download e-book for iPad: A Brief History of Mexico by Lynn V. Foster

By Lynn V. Foster

ISBN-10: 0816071713

ISBN-13: 9780816071715

ISBN-10: 1438108273

ISBN-13: 9781438108278

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Some estimate these monumental stones required crews of 1,000 people to move them. It remains unknown why the Olmec civilization ended. Their hallmark art style—jade bas-reliefs of snarling jaguar-human figures (probably part of a shamanistic cult) and more portrait-like freestanding sculptures of rulers with slanting eyes, flaring noses, and thick lips— gradually disappeared. The monolithic sculptures were ritually mutilated, then carefully buried. Olmec political centers were abandoned one by one.

Some archaeologists have argued that overpopulation and deforestation caused the collapse of their civilization. Examination of skeletal remains at some sites suggests malnutrition among the poorer classes and, in some instances, among the elite as well. The fact that the southern lowlands were abandoned by the end of the Classic period certainly suggests problems with the environment. The degradation of the ecosystem, even if not the sole cause of the collapse of the lowland Maya, could have rendered them vulnerable to other pressures, including prolonged warfare and drought.

The Aztec empire was so powerful it rendered other regions weaker. D. 1446, for example, the Yucatec Maya no longer built grand cities of stone and plaster, but rather lived in the older ones of their ancestors or built smaller shrine-like centers, such as Tulum. Although never conquered by the Aztecs, these Maya seemed diminished and peripheral to the main course of Mesoamerican events. The Mixtecs of Oaxaca, however, flourished during the Late Postclassic period. The longtime occupants of the mountainous regions of Oaxaca, they had been overshadowed by both Monte Albán and Teotihuacán in the Classic period.

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A Brief History of Mexico by Lynn V. Foster

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