Maya and Aztec

Ancient Mesoamerican civilizations

The Zapotecs and Mixtecs States

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Monte Alban
The first evidence of human activity (economic) of the Zapotecs ancestors are found in the valley of Oaxaca, all sorts of bottles made from pumpkins, dated between 7400 and 6700 BC Between 7000 and 5000’s. BC there are the first agricultural crops, in particular, were found domestic corn (maize), the length of the cob reached 2.5 sm.

The first sedentary settlements in various parts of Oaxaca appeared between 1500 and 1400 BC – These were mostly rural areas. In the period between 1150 and 850 BC the largest settlement in Oaxaca was a San Jose Mogote, which consisted of 80-120 houses – at the site were found crops of maize, chilies and avocados.

Starting from 850 BC the first early towns grew, which were ceremonial and administrative center, where a monumental buildings were created. Defensive walls were erected, underground tunnels were built. Outside the city limits around these centers in the vast expanse were located communal settlements. However, during the period of Rozario (700-500 BC), in the valley of Oaxaca are no archaeological evidence of the elements of the state as such.

Not later than 600 BC in the Valley of Oaxaca Zapotecs formed their own writing, which is older than the Mayan and Mixtecs. At this time the Zapotec are starting to use calendar. There are the first monuments of Zapotec civilization with symbolic signs.

500 +/- BC. – Year of Monte Alban foundation. In the so-called period of the Monte Alban I (500 – 200 BC) is the emergence and formation of Zapotec state in the valley of Oaxaca. During this period were covered with carvings, dedicated to military issues, over 300 stone monuments.

In the period between 250 and 1 BC in Monte Alban was built Building J – it was called so later because of the similarity in shape with a given letter of the alphabet. At this time, the city’s population was about 10,000 residents.

200 BC – 100 AD – Phase Monte Alban II. Zapotec had already formed their own state and the city of Monte Alban was the administrative center of the valley and it covers an area of more than 1 km2. City of San Jose Mogote occupied an area of just over 70 hectares and was the smaller territorial center.

100 – 300 AD Monte Alban occupies an area of over 40 km2. During this time, conventionally known as Phase III-a, in the town was erected a truncated pyramid, which includes eight monuments. In six of these monuments are shown signs of mountains and captives. Two of the monument made in a characteristic style of Teotihuacan.

In 300 – 650 AD in the capital of the Zapotec were already lined up all the major temples and 170 underground tombs with frescoes. According to various estimates, the city population was 50000 people.

600 – 700 AD – End of Phase III-b and the beginning of Phase IV. Zapotecs carved on stone monuments a little signs – a new kind of non-military lineage records, where they describe birthdays, marriages and other events in the life of the rulers and the nobility (perhaps these signs were read together).

By the year 700 AD main area of Monte Alban is dilapidated and was in decline. By 900 AD city actually turned into a small village, but it survives until the arrival of the Spaniards (by 1521) because served as a kind of necropolis for Mixtec rulers – they built their tombs there. Despite the decline of the center of Oaxaca – Monte Alban, the valley itself is the center of the surrounding area up to 1400’s.

900 AD – Mitla city became the capital of the rapidly evolving Mixtec state. At the same time, forms other religious centers – Lambitek, Zaachila, Uiyazoo.

Agriculture suffers a booming through the development of a new method – a method of creating terraces, which is extremely effective in mountainous areas, and allows to gather a large harvest, and use as a field previously unused hills. There is a growth level of fertility.

A distinctive feature of Mixtecs society was clearly hierarchical and structured system of selecting rulers, chiefs. Thus, man’s place in the hierarchy of power was clearly defined. Most important role in man’s belonging to the ruling elite has played his lineage – if his ancestors were noble, then this person belonged to the elite. Exactly because of this mixtecs often enter into marriage with their relatives (they could easily marry their sisters) and made their lineage “perfect.” We know, for example, 4 unions between brothers and sisters – descendants of the ruler 8 Deer “Tiger claw”.

By the XII century Mixtecs, using the weakness of Monte Alban and whole Zapotec society, sometime with the help of a marriage between the elite, and the other time, using military power, invaded the valley of Oaxaca, which later becomes part of their state. This happens during the reign of 8 Deer – in the same way he conquers other surrounding areas.

1496 AD – boundaries of the Aztec Empire are located near the border of Mixtec state. Grandson of Montezuma I – Ahuitzotl can not ignore the territory of Mixtec State – he begins military expansion of the Aztecs, which turns into a protracted one.

In 1503, the Aztecs begin anew protracted and bloody war against Oaxaca. Montezuma II attacks mixtec city Achiotlan and Xaltepec.

Then, from 1505 to 1509 Aztec emperor began a military campaign against the cities Quetzaltepec, Tototepec, Teuctepec, Miauatlan, Yanuetlan and Zozallan.

1511 – 1512 year – a campaign against Napollan, Ikatepec, Tlaxiaco. The Aztecs defeated in the war against Oaxaca.

In 1521, after the conquest of the Aztec capital, the conquistador Hernan Cortes directs his gaze to the valley of Oaxaca, and also submits it.

Stages of development of Monte Alban:

Period Year
I 500-200 BC
II 200 BC-250 AD
III 250-700 AD
IV 700-1000 AD
V 1000-1500 AD

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