Caste War of Yucatán
The Caste War of Yucatán (1847–1901) began with the revolt of native Maya people of Yucatán, Mexico against the population of European descent, called Yucatecos, who held political and economic control of the region.
A lengthy war ensued between the Yucateco forces in the north-west of the Yucatán and the independent Maya in the south-east. It officially ended with the occupation of the Maya capital of Chan Santa Cruz by the Mexican army in 1901, although skirmishes with villages and small settlements that refused to acknowledge Mexican control Continue reading
The Mayan Class Structure
The social structure of ancient Mayan society
By Xolotl Huascar, 2002
The Mayan social stratification was very tightly knit into a multi-layered structure. It seemed to have incorporated the caste system, which meant that membership was hereditary and difficult to change caste. However, there were others who had more freedom and were able to freely move among the communities.
The top of the society was large and complex, consisting of the ruler, his family, their retainers, Continue reading
The term Five Suns in the context of creation myths, describes the doctrine of the Aztec and other Nahua peoples in which the present world was preceded by four other cycles of creation and destruction. It is primarily derived from the mythological, cosmological and eschatological beliefs and traditions of earlier cultures from central Mexico and the Meso-american region in general. The Late Postclassic Aztec society inherited many traditions concerning Meso-american creation accounts, while however modifying some aspects and supplying novel interpretations of their own. Continue reading
OLMEC ART AT DUMBARTON OAKS
Pre-Columbian Art at Dumbarton Oaks, No. 2
by Karl A. Taube, 2004 (Edited)
See part 1
The Olmec of Early Formative San Lorenzo
San Lorenzo, Veracruz, appears to have been the preeminent Early Formative Olmec center.
The Ojochi phase (1500–1350 B.C.) marks the earliest pottery at San Lorenzo, and is roughly contemporaneous with the Mokaya Barra phase ceramics, of which it shares many traits (Blake et al. 1995: 168).
The nearby site of El Manatí reveals that, by the Ojochi phase, elaborate rites concerning water, rain, and, likely, agriculture were already being performed in the Olmec heartland. A freshwater spring at the base of Cerro Manatí was a locus of ritual activity that included the deposition of offerings in the water during much of the Early Formative period. Among the earliest items placed in the sacred spring were fine jadeite celts and rubber balls (Ortíz and Rodríguez 1994: 78, 86; 2000). Continue reading
OLMEC ART AT DUMBARTON OAKS
by Karl A. Taube, 2004 (Edited)
THE DEVELOPMENT OF OLMEC RESEARCH
José María Melgar y Serrano (1869) had published the first account of an Olmec monument, a colossal stone head, Monument A, at the site of Tres Zapotes, but Melgar y Serrano saw [African] features and linked the figure to Africa, rather than recognizing it as a product of Pre-Columbian peoples. Subsequently, Alfredo Chavero (1887) also identified the head as [African], but additionally noted that a motif on the brow resembled certain Asian signs. To this day, the Olmec continue to be traced to the distant regions of Africa and China. Continue reading
Native American Feathers
Native American feathers are an important symbol of the Indian way of life. It is used to represent freedom, power, wisdom, honor, trust, strength, and much more. Feathers were seen in wardrobes, headpieces, adorning their homes, and tattooed on their bodies.
The Native American feather was given as a sign of respect and honor. A Native American who had a personal accomplishment or achieved something great for the tribe was often given feathers by chiefs or elders as a symbol of strength. The Native American with the most feathers in his headdress is usually the chief. Continue reading
[This article does not mention the Olmecs being African (or at least of African descent). 7M]
The Olmecs are deemed the first major civilization in Mexico. They lived in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, in the modern-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco.
The name “Olmec” comes from the Nahuatl word for the Olmecs: Ōlmēcatl (singular) or Ōlmēcah (plural). This word is composed of the two words ōlli, meaning “rubber”, and mecatl, meaning “rope” or “people”, so the word means “rubber lineage or people”. [Olmecs: ol means old (ancient), and mecs means mex (mexico/mexicans). 7M]
The Tuxtlas Mountains rise sharply in the north, along the Gulf of Mexico’s Bay of Campeche. Here the Olmec constructed permanent city-temple complexes at San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán, La Venta, Tres Zapotes, and Laguna de los Cerros. In this region, the first Mesoamerican civilization emerged and reigned from c. 1500–400 BCE. The rise of civilization was assisted by the local ecology of well-watered alluvial soil, as well as by the transportation network provided by the Coatzacoalcos River basin.
One of the earliest and most enduring scribal traditions in Mesoamerica developed in the central valleys of Oaxaca. Seemingly a logo-syllabic system since its inception, ca 600 BCE, several lines of evidence strongly suggest that the script encoded an ancient version of the contemporary Zapotecan family of languages.
The early societal uses of writing that can be elicited from what survives in the archaeological record were to promote group identities in the genesis of widening social inequalities, differential access to power, political centralization, and urbanism.
Through time, the script spread over a wide portion of southwestern Mesoamerica, at times imposed by groups with hegemonic interests, or appropriated by aspiring elites to form part of increasingly wider networks of interaction. These processes led the script in a trajectory that minimized phoneticism (confined as time went on to renditions of personal names and toponyms) but maximized logophonic, semantic, and hence multilingual encoding. Continue reading