Tag Archives: Meso-America

Maya Caste War of Yucatán

yucatan-map-yrCaste 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

Maya Caste System

maya-society - hwsThe 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

Five Suns

5 suns - mexicoloreFive Suns

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

Back to the Olmec (2)

Olmec_mask_in jade 802OLMEC ART AT DUMBARTON OAKS
Pre-Columbian Art at Dumbarton Oaks, No. 2
by Karl A. Taube, 2004

See part 1

The Olmec of Early Formative San Lorenzo

Archaeological excavations by Michael Coe and Richard Diehl (1980) and Ann Cyphers (1997, 1999) at San Lorenzo, Veracruz, have provided crucial insights into the Early Formative development of the Olmec. Composed of the San Lorenzo plateau and the nearby sites of Tenochtitlán and Potrero Nuevo, San Lorenzo appears to have been the preeminent Early Formative Olmec center and quite possibly for then-contemporaneous Mesoamerica as a whole.

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 Continue reading

Back to the Olmec

Olmec-San_Lorenzo_Monument_3_cropOLMEC ART AT DUMBARTON OAKS
by Karl A. Taube, 2004

INTRODUCTION

THE ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF OLMEC RESEARCH

 In 1912, when Robert Woods Bliss acquired a fine Olmec statuette as his first Pre-Columbian object, little was known of the Olmec and their relation to other cultures of ancient Mesoamerica.

In fact, when Bliss purchased this jade sculpture (Pl. 8), it was described as Aztec. Decades earlier, 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 Continue reading

Eagle Spirit Feathers

intricate-feather-cutouts-chris-maynard-10Native 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

Olmecs of Old Mexico

Olmec-San_Lorenzo_Colossal_Head_8
The Olmecs

[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.

 

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