- Pre-Hispanic Mexico
- Pre-Classical Period
- Classical Period
- Post-Classical Period
- Spanish Conquest and Colonial Period
- Towards Independence
- War with the U.S. and Recolonization Attempts
- The Mexican Revolution
- The Zapatista Movement
- Mexico Today
Classical Period - 300 AD to 900 AD
The second period is
referred to as the Classical Period and ranged from around
300 AD to 900 AD. It is considered to have been the golden
age of Mesoamerica, as main civilizations all flourished during
this period and reached the height of their development. Religion
was a very important element of all these peoples and determined
organization of the social structure.
The civilization with its cultural center at Teotihuacan,
which means “City of Gods” was very influential
in its time, with a fairly advanced counting, writing and
calendar systems. Later the Cholula, Zapotec and Mixtec cultures
also flourished, at times imposing on each other, at times
intermixing and living side by side. The largest of these
civilizations however was made up of the group of people known
as the Mayas; a group of Indians that lived in the territory
north of what today is Peru.
Of all Mesoamerican civilizations, the Mayans are considered
to have been the most intelligent. They reached the peak of
their development approximately during the 6th century.
These people depended mainly on agriculture for sustenance
and raised a varied range of crops, including cotton, cocoa,
maize and beans among others. Life was very much interrelated
with religion and ceremonial rites and sacrifices were necessary
to appease the gods and secure their favor. Scientifically
the Mayas excelled far beyond any of their contemporaries,
refining the techniques and discoveries that others had left
before them. This included hieroglyphic writing, astronomy
and mathematics. They were able to predict natural events
such as eclipse with great accuracy and the calendar system
they developed and used was actually more precise than the
calendar we know and use today.
These are some of the legacies left behind by these great
people, along with many ruins of temples, palaces and other
buildings and architectural wonders.
The demise of the Mayas is said to have come about due to
a combination of natural disasters such as earthquakes, famine,
epidemics, internal uprisings and foreign invasions.