A report on Mesoamerica

Mesoamerica and its cultural areas
Ballgame court at Monte Albán
A pair of swinging Remojadas figurines, Classic Veracruz culture, 300 to 900 CE.
Page 9 of the Dresden Codex (from the 1880 Förstermann edition)
El Mirador flourished from 600 BCE to 100 CE, and may have had a population of over 100,000.
Landscape of the Mesoamerican highlands
Yojoa Lake in Honduras.
Tikal is one of the largest archaeological sites, urban centers, and tourist attractions of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. It is located in the archaeological region of the Petén Basin in what is now northern Guatemala.
Olmec Colossal Head No. 3 1200–900 BCE
Pyramid of the Moon viewed from atop of the Pyramid of the Sun.
Xochicalco, Temple of the Feathered Serpent, 650–900 CE
Detail of the Nunnery Quadrangle at Uxmal, 10th century
Mesoamerica and Central America in the 16th century before Spanish arrival
Examples of the diversity of maize
The Aztec Empire in 1512
K'inich Kan B'alam II, the Classic period ruler of Palenque, as depicted on a stele
Illustration that recreates the structures of the archaeological site of Yarumela or El Chircal in Honduras, this place reflects the Olmec influence that existed in Central America in the pre-classic period.
"Head Variant" or "Patron Gods" glyphs for Maya days
The emblem glyph of Tikal (Mutal)
One of the earliest examples of the Mesoamerican writing systems, the Epi-Olmec script on the La Mojarra Stela 1 dated to around 150 CE. Mesoamerica is one of the five places in the world where writing has developed independently.
The xoloitzcuintle is one of the naguales of the god Quetzalcoatl. In this form, it helps the dead cross the Chicnahuapan, a river that separates the world of the living from the dead.
Zapotec mask of the Bat God.
Ritual human sacrifice portrayed in Codex Laud
A small ceremonial ballcourt at Uaxactun.
Ballgame marker from the classic Lowland Maya site of Chinkultic, Mexico depicting a ballplayer in full gear
The Avenue of the Dead in Teotihuacan, an example of a Mesoamerican settlement planned according to concepts of directionality
Art with ideological and political meaning: depiction of an Aztec tzompantli (skull-rack) from the Ramirez Codex
Holy Spirit Grotto
Joya de Cerén
Casa Blanca
San Andres
Sculpture of "The Acrobat" from Tlatilco
Pyramid of the archaeological site of La Venta 1000-400 BCE
Cuicuilco 800–600 BCE
The partly excavated main structure of San José Mogote 1500–500 BCE
Monte Albán, Building J in the foreground. 200 BCE – 200 CE
Great Goddess of Teotihuacan 200–500 CE
A reconstruction of Guachimontones, flourished from 200 to 400 CE
Temple of the Owl, Dzibanche 200–600 CE
Acanceh, 200–300 CE<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.mesoweb.com/features/acanceh/history.html|title=Mesoweb Articles|work=mesoweb.com}}</ref>
Mask located on the "Temple of the Masks" Kohunlich c. 500 CE
Main palace of Palenque, 7th century AD
K'inich Janaab Pakal I of Palenque 603–683 AD
Copan Stela H commissioned by Uaxaclajuun Ubʼaah Kʼawiil 695–738 AD
Jaina Island type figure (Maya) 650–800 AD
Cacaxtla, Mural depicting the Bird Man 650–900 AD
Chichen Itza, Temple of the Jaguars 900–1000 AD
Governor's Palace rear view and details, 10th century CE, Uxmal
Codz Poop, 7th–10th centuries CE Kabah
Sayil, three-story palace, 600–900 CE
Chichen Itza, "Temple of Three Dintels" 600–1000 CE
Palace of Mitla, Oaxaca 12th century
The Calendar temple of Tlatelolco, 1200 CE
Detail of page 20 from the Codex Zouche-Nuttall, 14–15th century
Pectoral mixtec, Shield of Yanhuitlan.
Aztec sun stone, early 16th century
A small ceremonial ballcourt at Tikal.

Historical region and cultural area in southern North America and most of Central America.

- Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica and its cultural areas

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The Maya area within Mesoamerica

Maya civilization

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The Maya area within Mesoamerica
Remains in Joya de Cerén, a Classic-era settlement in El Salvador buried under volcanic ash around 600 AD. Its preservation has greatly helped in the study of everyday life in a Maya farming community.
Maya area
Stela D from Quiriguá, representing king Kʼakʼ Tiliw Chan Yopaat
Calakmul was one of the most important Classic period cities.
Chichen Itza was the most important city in the northern Maya region.
Zaculeu was capital of the Postclassic Mam kingdom in the Guatemalan Highlands.
Mayapan was an important Postclassic city in the northern Yucatán Peninsula.
Page from the Lienzo de Tlaxcala showing the Spanish conquest of Iximche, known as Cuahtemallan in the Nahuatl language
Drawing by Frederick Catherwood of the Nunnery complex at Uxmal
1892 photograph of the Castillo at Chichen Itza, by Teoberto Maler
Stela from Toniná, representing the 6th-century king Bahlam Yaxuun Tihl
Classic period sculpture showing sajal Aj Chak Maax presenting captives before ruler Itzamnaaj Bʼalam III of Yaxchilan
Lintel 16 from Yaxchilán, depicting king Yaxun Bʼalam in warrior garb
The Puuc-style Labna gateway. The passage is formed by a corbel arch, a common element in Maya architecture.
Reconstruction of the urban core of Tikal in the 8th century AD
Fired bricks with animal designs from Comalcalco. Made from brick since there was a lack of readily available stone, it is unique among major Maya sites.
Terminal Classic palace complex at Sayil, in northern Yucatán
Temple I, at Tikal, was a funerary temple in honour of king Jasaw Chan Kʼawiil I.
Model of a triadic pyramid at Caracol, Belize
Map of Mayan language migration routes
Pages from the Postclassic period Paris Codex, one of the few surviving Maya books in existence
Maya script on Cancuén Panel 3 describes the installation of two vassals at Machaquilá by Cancuén king Taj Chan Ahk.
Ceramic vessel painted with Maya script in the Ethnologisches Museum, Berlin
Reading order of Maya hieroglyphic text
Representation of an astronomer from the Madrid Codex
Relief sculpture of a decapitated ballplayer, adorning the Great Ballcourt at Chichen Itza
Maize was a staple of the Maya diet.
The Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología, in Guatemala City

The Maya civilization was a Mesoamerican civilization developed by the Maya peoples, and noted for its logosyllabic script—the most sophisticated and highly developed writing system in pre-Columbian Americas—as well as for its art, architecture, mathematics, calendar, and astronomical system.

Aztec calendar (sunstone)

Mesoamerican chronology

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Aztec calendar (sunstone)
Vessel from the Capacha culture, found in Acatitan, Colima.
Several of the most prominent Formative Period sites in the central Mexican plateau and Gulf Coast regions.
A typical Pre-Classic figurine from central Mexico, Tlatilco culture.
The Olmec heartland.
Olmec head, La Venta
Important Classic Era settlements, circa 500 CE
Central Plaza of Monte Albán, a city constructed on a hill that dominates the Central Valley of Oaxaca
Temple 2, Tikal, Guatemala
Mural of the Portic A, in Cacaxtla, Tlaxcala
View of the Calzada de los Muertos (Avenue of the Dead) from the Pyramid of the Moon, Teotihuacan, Mexico
Location of the Mayan people and their principal cities
Bas-relief in the museum of Palenque, Chiapas
Codex vessel of the Aztatlan culture of Nayarit, in the LACMA
Present day view of the chinampas of Xochimilco, in the Federal District
Pillars of Tula, in Hidalgo
Mesoamerica and Central America in the 16th century before the arrival of the Spanish.

Mesoamerican chronology divides the history of prehispanic Mesoamerica into several periods: the Paleo-Indian (first human habitation until 3500 BCE); the Archaic (before 2600 BCE), the Preclassic or Formative (2500 BCE – 250 CE), the Classic (250–900 CE), and the Postclassic ; as well as the post European contact Colonial Period (1521–1821), and Postcolonial, or the period after independence from Spain (1821–present).


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Country in the southern portion of North America.

Country in the southern portion of North America.

Depiction of the founding myth of Mexico-Tenochtitlan from the Codex Mendoza. The eagle perched on a cactus has been incorporated into the Mexican flag since its independence, and was a motif in colonial-era art.
View of the Pyramid of the Sun of Teotihuacan with first human establishment in the area dating back to 600 BCE
Cultivation of maize, shown in the Florentine Codex (1576) drawn by an indigenous scribe, with text in Nahuatl on this folio
1945 mural by Diego Rivera depicting the view from the Tlatelolco markets into Mexico-Tenochtitlan, the largest city in the Americas at the time
Hernán Cortés and his multilingual cultural translator, Doña Marina ("Malinche"), meeting Moctezuma II from the Lienzo de Tlaxcala, a document created ca. 1550 by the Tlaxcalans to remind the Spanish of their loyalty and the importance of Tlaxcala during the conquest of the Aztec Empire.
Smallpox depicted by an indigenous artist in the 1576 Florentine Codex
View of the Plaza Mayor (today Zócalo) in Mexico City (ca. 1695) by Cristóbal de Villalpando
New Spain was essential to the Spanish global trading system. White represents the route of the Spanish Manila Galleons in the Pacific and the Spanish convoys in the Atlantic. (Blue represents Portuguese routes.)
Silver peso mined and minted in colonial Mexico, which became a global currency
Viceroyalty of New Spain following the signing of the 1819 Adams-Onís Treaty
Luis de Mena, Virgin of Guadalupe and castas, showing race mixture and hierarchy as well as fruits of the realm, ca. 1750
Father Hidalgo used this banner of the Virgin of Guadalupe as their emblem
Siege of the Alhondiga de Granaditas, Guanajuato, 28 Sept. 1810.
Flag of the Army of the Three Guarantees, the force formed by ex-royalist Iturbide and insurgent Vicente Guerrero in February 1821
Flag of the First Mexican Empire under Agustín I, 1822-23, with the eagle wearing a crown
Flag of the First Republic of Mexico, with the eagle without a crown, signaling the new republic
General Antonio López de Santa Anna
Portrait of Liberal President Benito Juárez
The Execution of Emperor Maximilian, 19 June 1867. Gen. Tomás Mejía, left, Maximiian, center, Gen. Miguel Miramón, right. Painting by Édouard Manet 1868.
President Porfirio Díaz linking himself to independence hero Hidalgo and liberal hero Juárez September 1910.
Francisco I. Madero, who challenged Díaz in the fraudulent 1910 election and was elected president when Díaz was forced to resign in May 1911.
Revolutionary Generals Pancho Villa (left) and Emiliano Zapata (right)
General Álvaro Obregón (far left) shown with a cigar in his left hand and his right arm missing, center with the white beard is First Chief Venustiano Carranza
Logo of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which incorporates the colors of the Mexican flag
Pemex, the national oil company created in 1938 for reasons of economic nationalism; it continues to provide major revenues for the government
NAFTA signing ceremony, October 1992. From left to right: (standing) President Carlos Salinas de Gortari (Mexico), President George H. W. Bush (U.S.), and Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (Canada)
Zapatista leader Comandanta Ramona
Vicente Fox and his opposition National Action Party won the 2000 general election, ending one-party rule.
Topographic map of Mexico
Mexico map of Köppen climate classification
Mexican wolf
Gray whale
The National Palace on the east side of Plaza de la Constitución or Zócalo, the main square of Mexico City; it was the residence of viceroys and Presidents of Mexico and now the seat of the Mexican government.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador President of Mexico
Alfonso García Robles diplomat who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1982
A Mexican Navy Eurocopter
Demonstration on 26 September 2015, in the first anniversary of the disappearance of the 43 students in the Mexican town of Iguala
The territorial evolution of Mexico after independence: secession of Central America (purple), Chiapas annexed from Guatemala (blue), losses to the U.S. (red, white and orange) and the reannexation of the Republic of Yucatán (red)
A proportional representation of Mexico's exports. The country has the most complex economy in Latin America.
Historical GDP per capita development of Mexico
Mexican Stock Exchange building
Telmex Tower, Mexico City.
The Central Eólica Sureste I, Fase II in Oaxaca. The Isthmus of Tehuantepec is the region of Mexico with the highest capacity for wind energy. (see Tehuantepecer, a strong wind that affects the region)
Guillermo Haro Observatory in Cananea, Sonora.
Cancun and the Riviera Maya is the most visited region in Latin America
The Baluarte Bridge is the highest cable-stayed bridge in the world, the fifth-highest bridge overall and the highest bridge in the Americas.
El Cajon Dam
Mexican states by population density
Las castas. Casta painting showing 16 racial groupings. Anonymous, 18th century, oil on canvas, 148×104 cm, Museo Nacional del Virreinato, Tepotzotlán, Mexico.
Colonial caste painting of Mexican family in Viceroyalty of New Spain
Octavio Paz was awarded the 1981 Miguel de Cervantes Prize, the 1982 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, and the 1990 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico. This painting of her at the Basilica of Guadalupe is among her most notable depictions. Scientists debate if it should be dated 1531, the year of the first apparition was said to appear, or the 1550s.
Cathedral of Zacatecas
General Hospital of Mexico in Mexico City.
Central Library of the National Autonomous University of Mexico
Olga Sánchez Cordero, Minister of the Interior (Gobernacion) in President López Obrador's cabinet
Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts), with murals, other artwork, and a major performance space
Mexican Muralism. A cultural expression starting in the 1920s created by a group of Mexican painters after the Mexican Revolution.
Monument to Cuauhtémoc, Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City (1887)
Teotihuacán, State of Mexico
The colonial-era Cathedral Mexico City dominates one side of the main square of the capital
Museo Soumaya in Mexico City building
David Alfaro Siqueiros by Héctor García Cobo at Lecumberri prison, Mexico City, 1960.
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, "The Tenth Muse." Posthmous portrait Juan Cabrera
Actress Dolores del Río, Hollywood star in the 1920s and 1930s and prominent figure of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema in the 1940s and 1950s
Mole sauce, which has dozens of varieties across the Republic, is seen as a symbol of Mexicanidad and is considered Mexico's national dish.
Portrait of composer Carlos Chávez by Carl van Vechten
Azteca Stadium, Mexico City.
Logo for the 1968 Mexico Olympics
Plaque in Mexico City commemorating Lucha libre as an intangible cultural heritage
View of the Pyramid of the Sun of Teotihuacan, the first human establishment in the area dating back to 600 BCE
View of the Pyramid of the Sun in the ancient city-state of Teotihuacan, which was the 6th largest city in the world at its peak (1 AD to 500 AD)
Temple of Kukulcán (El Castillo) in the maya city of Chichen Itza
A proportional representation of Mexico's exports. The country has the most complex economy in Latin America.
Storming of the Teocalli by Cortez and his Troops (1848)
Telmex Tower, Mexico City.
New Spain was essential to the Spanish global trading system. White represents the route of the Spanish Manila Galleons in the Pacific and the Spanish convoys in the Atlantic. (Blue represents Portuguese routes.)
The Baluarte Bridge was the highest cable-stayed bridge in the world, the fifth-highest bridge overall and is the highest bridge in the Americas.
Map of the First Mexican Empire
Central Library of the National Autonomous University of Mexico
Students in a burned bus during the protests of 1968
Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, two of the most famous mexican artists
Pico de Orizaba, the highest mountain in Mexico
Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts), with murals, other artwork, and a major performance space
Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Congress of Mexico
Alfonso Cuarón, the first mexican filmmaker to win the Academy Award for Best Director
Andrés Manuel López Obrador President of Mexico
Televisa headquarters in Mexico City
Headquarters of the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs
El Santo, one of the most iconic Mexican luchadores
Mexican Federal Police celebration.
Mexico City, the financial center of Mexico
Mexican Stock Exchange building
Large Millimeter Telescope in Puebla.
The Baluarte Bridge is the highest cable-stayed bridge in the world, the fifth-highest bridge overall and the highest bridge in the Americas.
Lake Chapala is Mexico's largest freshwater lake.
Regional variation of ancestry according to a study made by Ruiz-Linares in 2014, each dot represents a volunteer, with most coming from south Mexico and Mexico City.
Map for the year 2000 of the indigenous languages of Mexico having more than 100,000 speakers.
Mexico–United States barrier between San Diego's border patrol offices in California, USA (left) and Tijuana, Mexico (right)
Secretary of Health, Mexico City, Mexico.
Central Library of the National Autonomous University of Mexico
Frida Kahlo, the most famous woman artist in Mexican history.
Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts), with murals, other artwork, and a major performance space
Octavio Paz was awarded the 1990 Nobel Prize in Literature
Azteca Stadium, Mexico City.
El Santo, one of the most famous and iconic Mexican luchadores

In particular, the Mesoamerican region was home to many intertwined civilizations; including the Olmec, Maya, Zapotec, Teotihuacan, and Purepecha.

The Aztec Empire in 1519 within Mesoamerica


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The Aztec Empire in 1519 within Mesoamerica
Aztec metal axe blades. Prior of the arrival of the European settlers, see: Metallurgy in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica
Large ceramic statue of an Aztec eagle warrior
A page from the Codex Boturini depicting the departure from Aztlán
The Valley of Mexico with the locations of the main city states in 1519
The coronation of Motecuzuma I, Tovar Codex
Ahuitzotl in Codex Mendoza
The meeting of Moctezuma II and Hernán Cortés, with his cultural translator La Malinche, 8 November 1519, as depicted in the Lienzo de Tlaxcala
"The Martyrdom of Cuauhtémoc", (1892) painting by Leandro Izaguirre
Folio from the Codex Mendoza showing a commoner advancing through the ranks by taking captives in war. Each attire can be achieved by taking a certain number of captives.
Jaguar warrior uniform as tax pay method, from Codex Mendoza
Folio from the Codex Mendoza showing the rearing and education of Aztec boys and girls in an ages list, how they were instructed in different types of labor, and how they were harshly punished for misbehavior
Pre-Hispanic "Tepeyac" Road of city-state of Tlatelolco ruins with semi-underground unidentified small and simply built buildings, probably houses (left). Tlatelolco archaeological site.
The maximal extent of the Aztec Empire
Cultivation of maize, the main foodstuff, using simple tools. Florentine Codex
Typical Aztec black on orange ceramic ware
Diorama model of the Aztec market at Tlatelolco
A folio from the Codex Mendoza showing the tribute paid to Tenochtitlan in exotic trade goods by the altepetl of Xoconochco on the Pacific coast
Map of the Island city of Tenochtitlan
Mexico-Tenochtitlan urban standard, Templo Mayor Museum
Great Temple in Historic center of Mexico City
The deity Tezcatlipoca depicted in the Codex Borgia, one of the few extant pre-Hispanic codices
Aztec cosmological drawing with the god Xiuhtecuhtli, the lord of fire in the center and the four corners of the cosmos marked by four trees with associated birds, deities and calendar names, and each direction marked by a dismembered limb of the god Tezcatlipoca. From the Codex Fejérváry-Mayer
The "Aztec calendar stone" or "Sun Stone", a large stone monolith unearthed in 1790 in Mexico City depicting the five eras of Aztec mythical history, with calendric images.
Ritual human sacrifice as shown in the Codex Magliabechiano
Ma (hand) and pach (moss). In Nahuatl, handmoss is synonym of raccoon.
Frame drum huehuetl played by a youth in Aztec-themed costume in Amecameca, State of Mexico, 2010
Page from the pre-Columbian Codex Borgia a folding codex painted on deer skin prepared with gesso
The Coatlicue statue in the National Museum of Anthropology
Aztec feather shield displaying the "stepped fret" design called xicalcoliuhqui in Nahuatl (c. 1520, Landesmuseum Württemberg)
Codex Kingsborough, showing the abuse by Spaniards of a Nahua under the encomienda Spanish labor system
Depiction of smallpox during the Spanish conquest in Book XII of the Florentine Codex
José Sarmiento de Valladares, Count of Moctezuma, viceroy of Mexico
Motecuhzoma II's Teocalli of the Sacred War emblem, this depiction mythologically describes the reason when Aztecs searched an eagle on a cactus hunting a rattlesnake for begin the new city, the founding myth of Mexica.
Tezontle is a material for elements in architectural styles.
Virgin of Guadalupe and the symbols of the founding of Tenochtitlan, Josefus De Ribera Argomanis. (1778)
Monument to Cuauhtémoc, inaugurated 1887 by Porfirio Díaz in Mexico City
Detail of Diego Rivera's mural depicting the Aztec market of Tlatelolco at the Mexican National palace
President Porfirio Díaz in 1910 at the National Museum of Anthropology with the Aztec Calendar Stone. The International Congress of Americanists met in Mexico City in 1910 on the centennial of Mexican independence.
Metro Moctezuma, with a stylized feathered crown as its logo
Las Tortilleras, an 1836 lithograph after a painting by Carl Nebel of women grinding corn and making tortillas.
Chapulines, grasshoppers toasted and dusted with chilis, continue to be a popular delicacy.
Urban standard details; Mexico-Tenochtitlan wall remnants stone bricks in Templo Mayor Museum (Mexico City)
The Mask of Xiuhtecuhtli; 1400–1521; cedrela wood, turquoise, pine resin, mother-of-pearl, conch shell, cinnabar; height: {{convert|16.8|cm|in|abbr=on}}, width: {{convert|15.2|cm|in|abbr=on}}; British Museum (London)
The Mask of Tezcatlipoca; 1400–1521; turquoise, pyrite, pine, lignite, human bone, deer skin, conch shell and agave; height: {{convert|19|cm|in|abbr=on}}, width: {{convert|13.9|cm|in|abbr=on}}, length: {{convert|12.2|cm|in|abbr=on}}; British Museum
Double-headed serpent; 1450–1521; Spanish cedar wood (Cedrela odorata), turquoise, shell, traces of gilding & 2 resins are used as adhesive (pine resin and Bursera resin); height: {{convert|20.3|cm|in|abbr=on}}, width: {{convert|43.3|cm|in|abbr=on}}, depth: {{convert|5.9|cm|in|abbr=on}}; British Museum
Chalchihuite relief of Ehecatl Temple; basalt; overall: {{convert|31.4|x|33.82|cm|in|abbr=on}}; discovered in August 2005 during repairs on the Mexico City Cathedral's floor; Ehecatl Temple in Cathedral archeological site (Mexico City)
Page 12 of the Codex Borbonicus, (in the big square): Tezcatlipoca (night and fate) and Quetzalcoatl (feathered serpent); before 1500; bast fiber paper; height: {{convert|38|cm|in|abbr=on}}, length of the full manuscript: {{convert|142|cm|in|abbr=on}}; Bibliothèque de l'Assemblée nationale (Paris)
Aztec calendar stone; 1502–1521; basalt; diameter: {{convert|3.58|m|ft|abbr=on}}; thick: {{convert|98|cm|in|abbr=on}}; discovered on 17 December 1790 during repairs on the Mexico City Cathedral; National Museum of Anthropology (Mexico City)
Underground Great Temple's Chacmool statue; 1440–1469; painted earthenware; length: {{convert|1.26|m|ft|abbr=on}}; Templo Mayor (Mexico City)
Tlāloc effigy vessel; 1440–1469; painted earthenware; height: {{convert|35|cm|in|abbr=on}}; Templo Mayor Museum (Mexico City)
Kneeling female figure; 15th–early 16th century; painted stone; overall: {{convert|54.61|x|26.67|cm|in|abbr=on}}; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
Frog-shaped necklace ornaments; 15th–early 16th century; gold; height: {{convert|2.1|cm|in|abbr=on}}; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
The Coatlicue statue in the National Museum of Anthropology

The Aztecs were a Mesoamerican culture that flourished in central Mexico in the post-classic period from 1300 to 1521.

View of the Avenue of the Dead and the Pyramid of the Moon.


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View of the Avenue of the Dead and the Pyramid of the Moon.
Front view of the Pyramid of the Sun
Teotihuacan and other important Classic Era settlements
View of the Pyramid of the Moon from the Pyramid of the Sun
Platform along the Avenue of the Dead showing the talud-tablero architectural style
Restored portion of Teotihucan architecture showing the typical Mesoamerican use of red paint complemented on gold and jade decoration upon marble and granite.
Felid head, Teotihuacán, Mexico.
Teotihuacán-style mask, Classical period. Walters Art Museum.
Incensario Lid, Teotihuacan style, 400–700 CE, Brooklyn Museum
A mural showing what has been identified as the Great Goddess of Teotihuacan
Human sacrifices found at the foundations of La Ciudadela.
Pyramid of the Sun and the Teotihuacán Diorama at the Teotihuacán Museum.
Teotihuacan - Temple of the Feathered Serpent - architectural detail to the right of the steps.
Avenue of the Dead, Teotihuacán, Mexico.
Vessel of the Coyotlatelco type.
A recreation of a map of the city featured in the June 1967 issue of Scientific American and the captioned source.
Toilet in Teotihuacan.
View from the Pyramid of the Sun
View from the Pyramid of the Moon
Courtyard of the Palace of Quetzalpapálotl
Figurines at the local museum
Puma mural in the Avenue of the Dead
Marble mask, 3rd–7th centuries
Serpentine mask, 3rd–6th centuries
Alabaster statue of an Ocelot from Teotihuacan, 5th–6th centuries, possibly a ritual container to receive sacrificed human hearts (British Museum)<ref>British Museum Collection</ref>
Detail of a collective burial of those sacrificed humans as part of the rites of consecration for the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent (phase Miccaotli, c. AD 200) In this case, all buried bodies had their hands tied behind their backs. The necklace is made of pieces that simulate human jaws, but other subjects buried wore necklaces with actual jaws.
Detail of the murals of the palace of Atetelco, dated in Xolalpan phase (c. 450–650).
A wall painting in Teotihuacan
Green Bird Procession, Temple of the Feathered Serpents
From Pyramid of the Sun

Teotihuacan (Spanish: Teotihuacán) is an ancient Mesoamerican city located in a sub-valley of the Valley of Mexico, which is located in the State of Mexico, 40 km northeast of modern-day Mexico City.

The ball in front of the goal during a game of pok-ta-pok.

Mesoamerican ballgame

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The ball in front of the goal during a game of pok-ta-pok.
Map showing sites where early ballcourts, balls, or figurines have been recovered
View into the ballcourt at Chichen Itza
Relief of the Crown showing a scene from the Mesoamerican Ball Game.
Some ballcourts had upper goals, scoring on which would end the match instantly.
The yoke and kneepads identify this molded ceramic Maya figurine as a ballplayer. Like many of these Jaina Island style figurines, it also functions as a whistle. 600–900 CE.
A modern Sinaloa ulama player. The outfit is similar to that worn by Aztec players.
Two palmas from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. These palmas were equipment used in the Mesoamerican ballgame and come from Veracruz, Mexico, ca. 700 - 1000 CE/AD. They are approximately 1½ feet (50 cm) high.
National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City – a figure of a pelota player
A solid rubber ball used or similar to those used in the Mesoamerican ballgame, from Kaminaljuyu, 300 BC to 250 AD, with a manopla, or handstone, used to strike the ball.
this relief
Ballcourt at Uaxactun, in the Petén Basin region of the Maya lowlands
Classic I, heavily serifed.png-shape ball court in Cihuatan site, El Salvador
Ruins at Wupatki National Monument, Arizona. There is disagreement among archaeologists whether these structures in the American Southwest were used for ballgames, although the consensus appears that they were. There is further discussion concerning the extent that any Southwest ballgame is related to the Mesoamerican ballgame.
Cross sections of some of the more typical ballcourts
Stela from El Baúl in the Cotzumalhuapa Nuclear Zone, showing two ballplayers.
One of a series of murals from the South Ballcourt at El Tajín, showing the sacrifice of a ballplayer
decapitated ballplayer stelae
In this detail from the late 15th century Codex Borgia, the Aztec god Xiuhtecuhtli brings a rubber ball offering to a temple. The balls each hold a quetzal feather, part of the offering.
Ballcourt marker, from the Maya site of Chinkultic, dated to 591. The ball itself displays the finely incised portrait of a young deity.
Great Ballcourt at Chichen Itza
An I-shaped ballcourt with players and balls depicted in the Codex Borgia Folio 45. Note that the four players are all holding batons, perhaps indicating that they are playing a type of racquet- or stick-ball.
Aztec ullamaliztli players performing for Charles V in Spain, drawn by Christoph Weiditz in 1528.
Pok-ta-pok player in action
Ballplayer painting from the Tepantitla murals.
Ballplayer painting from the Tepantitla, Teotihuacan murals. Note the speech scroll issuing from the player's mouth.
Detail of a Tepantitla mural showing a hip-ball game on an open-ended ballcourt, represented by the parallel horizontal lines.
Ballcourt at Tikal, in the Petén Basin region of the Maya lowlands

The Mesoamerican ballgame (ōllamalīztli,, ) was a sport with ritual associations played since at least 1650 BC by the pre-Columbian people of Ancient Mesoamerica.

Great pyramid in La Venta, Tabasco


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Great pyramid in La Venta, Tabasco
Seated figurine; 12th–9th century BC; painted ceramic; height: 34 cm, width: 31.8 cm, depth: 14.6 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
Bird-shaped vessel; 12th–9th century BC; ceramic with red ochre; height: 16.5 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art
Tuxtla statuette
One of the mosaics from the La Venta Olmec site.
The major Formative Period (Pre-Classic Era) sites in present-day Mexico which show Olmec influences in the archaeological record.
the famous ballcourt mural
Olmec tomb at La Venta Park, Villahermosa, Tabasco.
Olmec Chief or King. Relief from La Venta Archaeological Site in Tabasco.
Kunz Axe; 1000-400 BCE; jadeite; height: 31 cm (12 in.), width 16 cm (6 in.), 11 cm (4 in.); American Museum of Natural History (New York, NY, USA). The jade Kunz Axe, first described by George Kunz in 1890. Although shaped like an axe head, with an edge along the bottom, it is unlikely that this artifact was used except in ritual settings. At a height of 11 in, it is one of the largest jade objects ever found in Mesoamerica.
Ornamental mask; 10th century BCE; serpentine; height: 9.2 cm, width: 7.9 cm, depth: 3.2 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
Mask; 10th–6th century BCE; jadeite; height: 17.1 cm, width: 16.5 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art
Mask; c. 900-500 BCE; jadeite; Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas, Texas, US)
Mask with cinnabar "tattoos"; c. 900-300 BCE; jadeite with cinnabar; Minneapolis Institute of Art (Minneapolis, US)
1200-400 BCE; polished green quartz (aventurine); height: 29 cm, width: 13.5 cm; British Museum (London)
900-500 BCE; stone; Dallas Museum of Art (Texas, US)
12th–3rd century BCE; stone; height: 32.2 cm, width: 14 cm, depth: 11.5 cm; Cleveland Museum of Art (Ohio, US)
800-400 BCE; serpentine, cinnabar; Dallas Museum of Art
La Venta stele 19 with an early depiction of a feathered serpent
Olmec Head No.1, 1200–900 BCE
Kneeling human figure, 1200–600 BCE
The "twins" from El Azuzul, 1200–900 BCE
Carved travertine vessel with an incised pattern, 12th–3rd century BCE
Three celts, Olmec ritual objects
Olmec were-jaguar
Olmec style bottle, reputedly from Las Bocas, 1100–800 BCE
Olmec jade mask
Olmec-style painting from the Juxtlahuaca cave
An Olmec "baby figurine"
Olmec-style bas relief "El Rey" from Chalcatzingo

The Olmecs were the earliest known major Mesoamerican civilization.

Tikal Temple I rises 47 m high.


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Ruin of an ancient city, which was likely to have been called Yax Mutal, found in a rainforest in Guatemala.

Ruin of an ancient city, which was likely to have been called Yax Mutal, found in a rainforest in Guatemala.

Tikal Temple I rises 47 m high.
Emblem glyph for Tikal (Mutal)
Map of the Maya area within the Mesoamerican region. Both Tikal and Calakmul lie near the center of the area.
The great metropolis of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico appears to have decisively intervened in Tikal politics.
The main plaza during winter solstice celebrations
The site core seen from the south, with Temple I at center, the North Acropolis to the left and Central Acropolis to the right
One of Maudsley's photos of Tikal from 1882, taken after vegetation had been cleared
Map of the site core
The North Acropolis
The Lost World Pyramid in the Mundo Perdido complex
The Plaza of the Seven Temples
Temple II on the main plaza
Contrasting photo, scan shot, and isometric images for the roof comb of Temple IV, using data acquired by a laser scan collected by nonprofit CyArk
Detail of Teotihuacan-related imagery decorating the sloping talud sections of the talud-tablero sides of Structure 5D-43.
A large stucco mask adorning the substructure of Temple 33
The elaborately carved wooden Lintel 3 from Temple IV. It celebrates a military victory by Yik'in Chan K'awiil in 743.
Stela 31, with the sculpted image of Siyaj Chan K'awiil II
A ceramic censer representing an elderly deity, found in Burial 10.

During this time, the city dominated much of the Maya region politically, economically, and militarily, while interacting with areas throughout Mesoamerica such as the great metropolis of Teotihuacan in the distant Valley of Mexico.


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Country in Central America.

Country in Central America.

Maya city of Tikal
The Conquistador Pedro de Alvarado led the initial Spanish efforts to conquer Guatemala.
Criollos rejoice upon learning about the declaration of independence from Spain on 15 September 1821.
The Federal Republic of Central America (1823–1838) with its capital in Guatemala City.
Proclamation Coin 1847 of the independent Republic of Guatemala
Captain General Rafael Carrera after being appointed president for Life in 1854.
Vicente Cerna y Cerna was the president of Guatemala from 1865 to 1871.
Manuel Estrada Cabrera ruled Guatemala between 1898 and 1920.
Guatemala's democratically elected president Jacobo Árbenz was overthrown in a coup planned by the CIA, The United Fruit Company had lobbied the U.S. to overthrow him.
Memorial to the victims of the Río Negro massacres
An outdoor market in Chichicastenango, 2009
Guatemala City is the capital and largest city of Guatemala and the most populous urban area in Central America.
A map of Guatemala.
Köppen climate types of Guatemala
The highlands of Quetzaltenango.
A town along the Pan-American Highway within a volcanic crater.
The Congress of the Republic of Guatemala.
Historical GDP per capita development of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras
A proportional representation of Guatemala exports, 2019
Fields in Quetzaltenango.
Guatemala's population (1950–2010).
Population pyramid in 2020
Tz'utujil men in Santiago Atitlán.
Indigenous Guatemalan women in Antigua Guatemala.
Language map of Guatemala. The "Castilian" areas represent Spanish.
The Catedral Metropolitana, Guatemala City.
A church in San Andrés Xecul.
A Guatemalan woman selling souvenirs.
Author Rigoberta Menchú
Famous singer Ricardo Arjona
Black and red tamales in Guatemala
Estadio Doroteo Guamuch Flores in Guatemala City.

The core of the Maya civilization, which extended across Mesoamerica, was historically based in the territory of modern Guatemala.

An Olmec colossal head at the Xalapa Museum of Anthropology, in Veracruz, Mexico

Pre-Columbian era

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In the history of the Americas, the pre-Columbian era spans from the original settlement of North and South America in the Upper Paleolithic period through European colonization, which began with Christopher Columbus's voyage of 1492.

In the history of the Americas, the pre-Columbian era spans from the original settlement of North and South America in the Upper Paleolithic period through European colonization, which began with Christopher Columbus's voyage of 1492.

An Olmec colossal head at the Xalapa Museum of Anthropology, in Veracruz, Mexico
Schematic illustration of maternal (mtDNA) gene-flow in and out of Beringia, from 25,000 years ago to present
Major cultural areas of the pre-Columbian Americas:
Artist's reconstruction of Poverty Point, 1500 BCE
Hopewell mounds from the Mound City Group in Ohio
One of the pyramids in the upper level of Yaxchilán
Atlantes at Tula, Hidalgo
Maya architecture at Uxmal
Geoglyphs on deforested land in the Amazon rainforest
Muisca raft. The figure refers to the ceremony of the legend of El Dorado.
The ancient city of Caral
Larco Museum houses the largest private collection of pre-Columbian art. Lima, Peru.
Gate of the Sun in Tiwanaku
Simplified map of subsistence methods in the Americas at 1000 BCE
simple farming societies
complex farming societies (tribal chiefdoms or civilizations)

Mesoamerica is the region extending from central Mexico south to the northwestern border of Costa Rica that gave rise to a group of stratified, culturally related agrarian civilizations spanning an approximately 3,000-year period before the visits to the Caribbean by Christopher Columbus.