MESOAMERICAN CULTURE | pre-Columbian civilizations.

MESOAMERICAN CULTURE | pre-Columbian civilizations.

MESOAMERICAN CULTURE. The Group of civilizations that gave life to the Mesoamerican culture, constitute invaluable pieces of the so-called Mexican cultural mosaic.
Thus the Mesoamerican peoples, with some distinctive traits among themselves, built a civilization that shared many expressions.
Becoming the region of America with cultures superior to the rest of the continent, until the arrival of the conquest.

One of the characteristics of Mesoamerican culture is that it was never constituted as a political unit;
But their populations were organized socially under the same hierarchical scheme, something that was manifested in the constructions of palaces and temples.
The Mesoamericans Also established religious beliefs, artistic manifestations, and scientific knowledge, which makes them look like a great civilization.

Geographic Perspective of Mesoamerican culture.

The term Mesoamerica is used to refer to the Central American region;
It extends from the middle of Mexico to Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize and the west of Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
This territory has a wide topographical, ecological and climatic variety, forming part of the mountain system called the Pacific Fire Belt.

Within This diversity are the coastal plains and the births of the mountains, which make up the lowlands.
Also, in areas with altitudes greater than 1,000 meters above sea level, are the Highlands.

Under This geographical context, Mesoamerican culture was divided into seven areas, namely.

Central Mexico.

It Was set up as one of the most important areas of the pre-Hispanic period, where the city of Teotihuacán was developed.

Maya.

Characterized as one of the most extensive regions of Mesoamerica, where the ceremonial center of Chichén Itzá flourished.

Oaxaca.

It Is Another important area of Mesoamerican culture, which saw the birth of the city of Monte Alban.

Warrior.

In these lands was marked the beginning of the demonstration pottery, besides leaving traces with the ceremonial center Teopantecuanitlan.

West.

It formed one of the least known territories of Mesoamerica, in addition to its inhabitants fomented traditions very different from the rest of the region.

North.

It Was a plain and deserted place, whose population centers dependent on other cities, were abandoned in the middle of the 8TH century A.D.

Central america.

He Occupied the western area of Honduras, Nicaragua and part of Costa Rica, and like the Northern area, he was part of the Mesoamerican culture temporarily.

History of Mesoamerican culture.

The historical periods of the civilizations of Mesoamerican culture range from the year 1,500 BC until the Spanish conquest.

Preclassic.

It Was developed between the year 1,500 BC and 300 A.D., characterized by the emergence of sedentary tribes devoted to agriculture, hunting, fishing and harvesting.

Slowly these populations were transformed into ceremonial centers with the construction of temples on bases dedicated to their gods.
The Most outstanding cultures during this stage were the Olmec and Zapotecs, apart from other less relevant ones such as Tlatilco.

Classic.

This period came from the year 300 to 900 A.D., and was marked by the consolidation of the urban process.
In this way the big cities were created, among them Teotihuacan, that became the axis of the Mesoamerican culture.

During This phase, apart from the Teotihuacans, also the Zapotec, Toltec and Mayan civilizations reached their maximum development.
All these states were ruled by kings, whose power was based on the social, religious and military hierarchy.

Postclassic.

Approximately, it began in the year 900 A.D., when the great cultures of the classical period collapsed;
Flourishing others like the Aztecs, Mixtecos, Purépecha, Huastecos and Pipiles.
In this sense, the armies acquired much more importance, since they had to monitor the trade routes and conquer other states.

It Was these military societies that found the Spaniards when they began the conquest, in the early SIXTEENTH century.

The main civilizations of Mesoamerican culture.

Of the various civilizations that developed in Mesoamerica, the most highlighted were.

Olmec.

Located in the coastal region of the Gulf of Mexico, the Olmec are considered the mother of Mesoamerican culture.

They stood out as sculptors, being the most important work the so-called Colossal Heads, also contributed the system of logging and burning in agriculture.

Zapotec.

The Zapotecs inhabited primarily in the south of Oaxaca, and had the belief that they were born directly from the clouds.
The set of innovative artistic manifestations laid the aesthetic patterns for the later development of the art in Mesoamerica.

Teotihuacan.

They Were The inhabitants of the consecrated city of Teotihuacán, the first metropolis of Mesoamerican culture, characterized by its monumental architecture.

Among its contributions are the theocratic-militarist state, apart from the control of the means of production and economic activities.

Toltec.

They Were The inhabitants of the consecrated city of Teotihuacán, the first metropolis of Mesoamerican culture, characterized by its monumental architecture.

Among its contributions are the theocratic-militarist state, apart from the control of the means of production and economic activities.

Aztecs.

They Built the dazzling city of Tenochtitlan on an islet of Lake Texcoco, dominating the central-southern region of Mexico.

The Aztec Empire added to its military power, was highlighted in the religious aspect giving emphasis to human sacrifices.

Mixtec.

They Inhabited the mountainous regions of Oaxaca, and distinguished themselves by the pictographic codices made on deer skin, where they narrated social, religious and military aspects.

Religious Characteristics Mesoamerican culture.

A Large part of the civilizations that developed in the geographical area of Mesoamerican culture had similarities in its form of government;
Influenced by the religious aspect, which was later replaced by the military.

Religion Being One of the fundamental elements of these civilizations, it should be noted that each possessed its own deities.
Also within the origin of man there were different versions, but maize was always an essential part of its creation.

The influence of religion on Mesoamerican culture came to such an extent that it was offered as an offering to the gods the human blood through sacrifice.

And under a rigorous system, the different types of rituals were conceived in ceremonial centers like the following.

Monte Alban.

Located in the Oaxacan valleys, it was a huge square that allowed to contemplate through mounds the ceremonies.
In it, the zapotecs exercised religious, political and social control, as well as establishing links with other Mesoamerican populations.

Mitla.

It Was a Zapotec-Mixtec ceremonial Center, which oriented on a north-south axis, allowed by its narrow corridors to appreciate its sumptuousness.

Uxmal.

A Mayan ceremonial center of great proportions, where they highlighted the Pyramid of the Soothsayer and the Quadrangle of the Nuns.

Chichen Itza.

It constituted another important Mayan ceremonial center, which included the Pyramid of Kukulcan;
From where it was appreciated in each equinox the body of the serpent-god lowering its stairways, this as a result of a game of solar lights and shadows.

Teotihuacán.

The most representative ceremonial center of Mesoamerica, named by the Aztecs as the city of the gods, was located in the middle of an urban concentration.
Built with grandiose monuments, they highlighted three pyramids: The Sun, the Moon and the Quetzalcoatl.

Manifestations of Mesoamerican culture.

The development of Mesoamerican culture was extended for several centuries;
Reaching a degree of homogeneity between the different regions that integrated it, the following manifestations were reflected:

260-day Calendar.

It Reflects the evolution of the measurement of time, to know the dates of the crops, religious celebrations or astronomical movements.
The names used to identify both days and months and years came from a magical-religious vision.

Glyphic Writing.

They Used pictographic elements that symbolized a variety of meanings with a religious and cultural vision.

Medicine.

They Had Two sides, a shamanic or priest that cured the diseases of the soul, and another exercised by healers who healed with plants the bodily ailments.

Astronomy.

They Understood that the sky was organized by regular cycles that originated a succession of seasons or natural phenomena.

Political-religious Art.

A tendency of Mesoamerican culture was that they mixed religion with power in art, with the sole purpose of implying the grandeur of a city or the veneration of its gods.

Math.MESOAMERICAN CULTURE

In the mathematical system, they represented the numbers by means of points that were worth one, and bars whose value was 5.
One of the contributions of the Aztecs was the Nepohualtzitzin, an abacus to perform arithmetic operations quickly.

Pottery.

They Used the mud to create pieces like pots or plates that decorated with drawings;

besides carving the stone to achieve decorations in monuments.

Architecture.

The ability to create sumptuous cities is an example of the creativity and skill of mesoamericans in architecture.

the different expressions of Mesoamerican culture represent the way of manifesting the relationship of his life and his conquests with respect to his gods;

Proving thus in a place in the universe that has revealed to us unsuspected secrets.

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