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Chapter Summary
Highland Mesoamerican civilization stemmed from both indigenous and lowland roots. Olmec influence was strong, but small kingdoms develo
Valley of Oaxaca by at least 1000 B.C.
These coalesced into the Monte Albán state, which reached its heyday during the first millennium A.D. and coexisted with Teotihuacán on the
Basin of Mexico.
Teotihuacán was the dominant political and economic force on the highlands and in the Basin of Mexico for the first seven centuries of the firs
A.D. Its rulers traded constantly with the Maya, and its militaristic philosophies and religious beliefs permeated much of Mesoamerica. The gre
huge pyramids and sacred precincts was an intensely sacred place, credited with being the birthplace of Aztec civilization.
Toltec civilization, also based on the Valley of Mexico, filled the political vacuum left by the collapse of Teotihuacán, but fell apart in A.D. 1200
By the fourteenth century, the Aztecs, who originated to the northwest of the Basin of Mexico, were becoming the dominant force in the highl
next two centuries, their rulers created a vast tribute-paying empire, which extended into the lowlands and as far south as Guatemala. Aztec
depended on militaristic doctrines and human sacrifice to further the ambitious goals of the sun god Huitzilopochtli.
The empire was already showing signs of strain when Hernan Cortés and 600 conquistadors entered the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlán, in 1519. T
later, the city was in ruins after a bitter siege. Aztec civilization collapsed abruptly in the face of superior military technology helped by rebellio
who rose against their hated masters.