Questions tagged [mesoamerica]

Questions related to the people and culture of a period before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th Century, in the region of Central America extending from the Tropic of Cancer in modern Central Mexico to Costa Rica.

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Why is the Maya civilization not considered one of the cradles of civilization?

I don't have a background in history, but I've been doing some reading about the Mayans on Wikipedia, and there's something I'm confused about. The "cradles of civilization" page on ...
T Hummus's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer

What is this tool/thing in an Aztec painting?

In between the warrior on the right, and the serpents in the center, is a small object. I’ve circled it in blue. This is from page 57 of the Codex Borgia. Full scans can be seen here. What is it? ...
New Alexandria's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer

How far did climate affect civilisation development in the Americas?

The shapes and orientations of Eurasia and Africa result in the former having larger regions of similar climate. This video discusses the hypothesis that: regions of similar climate can more readily ...
J.G.'s user avatar
  • 625
7 votes
2 answers

Why was it Spain, not Tlaxcala, that dominated over Mesoamerica despite the Tlaxcaltecs being the major force in the conquest of Tenochtitlan?

It has been a question that makes me wonder, since the very first time I read about the history of the Aztecs. In the fall of Tenochtitlan, as commonly known, the Tlaxcalans (Tlaxcaltecs) was the ...
armamoyl's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer

What mesoamerican culture used long, "pike-like" spears?

A while back, I read about some Mesoamerican tribe or culture that armed many of its warriors with extremely long spears, that either the Spanish invaders or the article I read itself compared to the ...
Cowrie's user avatar
  • 161
3 votes
1 answer

Why did the maize-based society that Spain found in the Central Valley of Mexico not dominate over Europe?

· Was there something in the Mesoamerican cultures that put obstacles to growth and development? · Did American crops such as maize, cacao beans, and tobacco, compete unfavorably with European ...
No need's user avatar
  • 31
-6 votes
1 answer

Mesoamerican and Giza's Pyramids [closed]

I am not a history major but I am very interested in Pyramids and their origin. Is there any theory that says Mesoamerican and Giza's pyramids were build before continental drift ?? If so, can you ...
Racaio Cmoto's user avatar
7 votes
5 answers

Was there contact between the Inca, Maya and Aztecs?

Were these three cultures aware of each others existence? Did they trade with one another?
user22453's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer

What type of name did the common Mayans use?

We know that most of the lord (ajaw) used to have names related to the sun, the earth or important animals. See for example the rulers of Copan. Do we have any idea if it was the same for every ...
JSFDude's user avatar
  • 63
2 votes
2 answers

What were the major ethnic / cultural / politcal divisions of pre-conquest Mesoamerica?

Background: I've started a bit of side reading on Mesoamerica immediately prior to the Spanish conquest. The Maya, the Aztecs, and (to the south) the Inca all seem very straightforward to me, but (as ...
Random's user avatar
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2 votes
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What was a "Teuctli" in Mesoamerican history

What was a "Teuctli" in Mesoamerican history? I do not know how to spell it. I know that was some kind of leader.
Feuergeist's user avatar
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What does the Aztec word "calpuleque" mean?

What does the Aztec word "calpuleque" mean? Who does it refer to? What is its relationship with the words "calpulli", "alteptl" and "tlaotani"?
Feuergeist's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer

How were Mesoamerican inks produced?

One thing that always strikes me when the long progression of wikipedia-clicks takes me from something like 'Tumulus' all the way to 'Mixtec writing' or, more specifically, 'Codex Zouche-Nuttall' is ...
Christopher's user avatar
23 votes
3 answers

Why was the Aztec Empire known as an Empire?

Wikipedia defines an Empire as following: The term "empire" does not have a precise definition, but is generally applied to political entities that are considered to be especially large by the ...
NSNoob's user avatar
  • 8,185
5 votes
2 answers

What led to the romantic perception of the Mayan civilization?

When the territories of the Mayan civilization were conquered in Mesoamerica, the European priests burnt all the books and references they could find about the Mayan culture. It was not until 1839 ...
Pierre Arlaud's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer

What is the archaeological evidence for the Aztecs' use of entheogens?

A recent Skeptics question, Was honey used preserve psychoactive mushrooms in the ancient past?, caught my attention and I came upon the Wikipedia article on the Aztec use of entheogens. The article ...
yannis's user avatar
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35 votes
8 answers

Did Native Americans ever fight the indigenous people living in Mexico before Europeans arrived?

From elementary school, my history teacher used to talk about the fighting between native American tribes. Then, later in the semester, we would briefly discuss the rise of Aztecs, Olmecs, Mayans, etc....
damx's user avatar
  • 473
6 votes
1 answer

How did the Mayans get cacao?

Did the Mayans have plantations of cacao trees, or did they simply gather the fruit from cacao trees in the wild?
Joe's user avatar
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22 votes
7 answers

Is there any documentation that indicates the Aztecs were as violent as they are made out?

The iconography of the Aztecs lead us to believe that they were an especially blood-thirsty culture. But consider the scenario where there was some major catastrophe in the USA, reducing the ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers

Which days in the Mayan calendar were most auspicious for performing sacrifices?

In Classic Mayan civilization, human sacrifices were performed. I've read that there were days that were more and less auspicious for sacrifices, but I haven't been able to find out which days those ...
Joe's user avatar
  • 10.5k
8 votes
1 answer

Did the Mayans view the gods as antagonistic to humanity?

How did the precolonial Maya view their gods' relationship to mankind, specifically: were they considered benevolent, neutral, or antagonistic? I've seen a number of hints that they may have ...
Joe's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers

Was Classic Mayan civilization really so gruesome?

(I don't really know how to ask this question, so help in editing it to better fit the StackExchange format would be quite welcome.) From what I can tell, Classical Mayan civilization was ...
Joe's user avatar
  • 10.5k
18 votes
1 answer

What really happened to the Maya civilization?

Are there any reliable sources that explain the "disappearance" of the Maya? I am highly skeptical about the following account as it states that the cities were destroyed by the war when in ...
Jose Luis's user avatar
  • 369