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(MAYA, AZTEC, INCA and INUIT before COLUMBUS – continued)

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MAYA, AZTEC, INCA and INUIT before COLUMBUS (2 of 7)

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Fall of Teotihuacán and the Toltecs, 750-1150 CE

How the great city in south-central Mexico, Teotihuacán, was connected with the demise of Maya civilization is unknown. But around the year 750, Teotihuacán was among those cities destroyed and left in ruins. Great palaces were burned to the ground. Major temples were abandoned. And the city's population was reduced to a few people living in hovels in a few sections of the city.

At least some of the towns around Teotihuacán survived, the most influential of which was Xochicalco. It was a city with writing and some signs of Mayan influences, a city protected by walls and ditches, as were a couple of lesser cities in the area: Cacaxtla and Teotenange. In these towns were stone carvings and painted murals depicting militarism and human sacrifices.

After the fall of Teotihuacán and its empire, communities around Teotihuacán warred against each other, as cities are inclined to do when they were not dominated by a central power. In the 800s and 900s a people called Toltecs invaded the region from who knows where, and they established themselves at a city called Tula. And around the year 900 a people called the Mixtecs, who had been in the Oaxaca area since the 600s, became dominant there and in an adjacent area called Pueblo.

By the year 1000 the Toltecs had wandered from the Tula- Teotihuacán area into what had been Maya country, to Chichén Itzá, where they built their own monuments, including a great pyramid, and a ball court. From Chichen Itza the Toltecs acquired control over the northern half of what had been Mayan lands. And for about a century the Toltecs of Chichen Itza maintained contact with the Toltecs of Tula.

Tula had grown into the largest city on the continent, with a population of about 50,000. People there had agriculture, but they were still in the Stone Age – their tools and weapons still made of wood and stone. They had copper, but it was cold pounded and used for jewelry. They wore cotton fabrics, and they wore feathers as ornaments. Cocoa was a popular drink, and cocoa was used by the wealthy to buy slaves.

Tula imported goods from afar, more than had Teotihuacán, but apparently, according to archaeologists, Tula had no empire as had Teotihuacán. Then in the 1100s drought came. Around the year 1150, Tula was abandoned and destroyed. And, beginning around the year 1200, another people, the Aztecs, began drifting into the area.

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