MESOAMERICAN INDIANS:

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CENTRAL AMERICA AND MEXICO MAIN CULTURES:

Map of Central American Indians
Central America Natives (Physical Map)

THE MONTE VERDE ISSUE: (Chile): Monte Verde is an archaeological site in southern Chile, located near Puerto Montt, Southern Chile, which has been dated to 14,800 years BP. This dating adds to the evidence showing that the human settlement of the Americas pre-dates the Clovis culture by roughly 1000 years. South America Indians Map
- Monte Verde by Tom Dillehay

TAINOS CULTURE: Tai·nos (tìno) noun plural Taino or  Tai·nos are members of an Arawak people of the Greater Antilles and the Bahamas.  The language of this people is also call Taino. Although most of the historians sustain that Tainos people were exterminated by Spaniards by the 17th cent., Genetic studies in Puerto Rico document that a 60% of the population have Taino's genes in their inheritance. Today in Borinquen (Puerto Rico) exist a Taino reservation with natives from that area. There are also people who claim to be Tainos in the Dominican Republic. These are the people who welcomed Columbus in 1492. Maps: Tainos in Bohio and Christopher Columbus 1492.
Book: Christopher Columbus, The Four Voyages  by J.M. Cohen (1992 Edition)
- The word “Guacanagari” is mentioned 5 times vs. King and Queen of Spain 91 times
- The word “Bohio” is mentioned 6 times vs. “Spain” 74 times.
- The words “Holy Faith” (Catholicism) is mentioned 11 times vs. “gold” 83 times.
Central America Natives (Physical Map)

CASAS GRANDES: Casas Grandes is one of the largest and most complex Mogollon culture sites in the region. Settlement began after 1130 CE, and would see the larger buildings developed into multi-storied dwellings after 1350 CE. The community was abandoned approximately 1450 CE. Cases Grandes is regarded as one of the most significant Mogollon archaeological zones in the northwestern Mexico region, linking it to other sites in Arizona and New Mexico in the United States, and exhibiting the expanse of the Mogollon sphere of influence. The Southwest Ancient Map. Satellite Picture (Paquime/Casas Grandes) Paquime Reconstruction

CHOROTEGA CULTURE: The Chorotegas from Nicaragua, northern Costa Rica and southern Honduras were an ancient civilization that developed high skills in pottery and rock carving. The National Museum of Costa Rica contains many artifacts of this ancient culture and it is believed that Nicoya, an ancient Chorotega city was once very active on international native commerce.  This area on Central America was a meeting point of various pre-columbian cultures. The museum contains artifacts with a high Mayan and Aztec influences as other artifact with high influences coming from the Incas and other cultures from Perú and other places in South America. Central America Cultures Map, Central America Natives (Physical Map)

OLMECS CULTURE: Olmecs settled (1500 B.C.) on the Gulf coast of Mexico and soon developed the first civilization in the western hemisphere. Temple cities and huge stone sculpture date from 1200 B.C.. A rudimentary calendar and writing system existed. Olmec religion, centering on a jaguar god, and art forms influenced all later Meso-American cultures. Excellent Pictures by Philip Baird, 1998. Satellite Picture (La Venta) Mesoamerica Cultures Map

MAYAN CULTURE: Mayas. 1  a. A member of a Mesoamerican Indian people inhabiting southeast Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize, whose civilization reached its height around A.D. 300-900. The Maya are noted for their architecture and city planning, their mathematics and calendar, and their hieroglyphic writing system. b. A modern-day descendant of this people. 2.   Any of the Mayan languages, especially Quiché and Yucatec. There are million of Mayan Indians in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica. Excellent Pictures by Philip Baird, 1998. Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Palenque, Izapa, (James Q Jacob, 1999) Satellite Picture (Palenque)  Excellent Satellite Pictures by James Q Jacobs , 1999, Mesoamerica Cultures Map

EL TAJIN CULTURE: El Tajín is a pre-Columbian archeological site in southern Mexico and is one of the largest and most important cities of the Classic era of Mesoamerica. A part of the Classic Veracruz culture, El Tajín flourished from 600 to 1200 C.E. and during this time numerous temples, palaces, ballcourts, and pyramids were built. From the time the city fell, in 1230, to 1785, no European seems to have known of its existence, until a government inspector chanced upon the Pyramid of the Niches. Excellent Pictures. Satellite Picture, Mesoamerica Cultures Map.

TOLTECS CULTURE: Toltecs (Nahuatl, = master builders), was an indigenous civilization of Mexico, probably with ancient links to the Mixtec and Zapotec. The Toltec warrior aristocracy gained ascendancy in the valley of Mexico after the fall (900) of Teotihuacán, making their own capital at Tollán (Tula). Masters of architecture and the arts, they were advanced workers of stone and smelters of metals, had a calendary system, and are said to have discovered the intoxicant pulque. Their religion, centering on the god Quetzalcoatl, incorporated human sacrifice, sun worship, and a sacred ball game. The Toltec dominated the Maya (11th–13th cent.) until nomadic Chichimec peoples destroyed their empire, opening the way for the Aztec. Excellent Pictures by Philip Baird, 1998. Satellite Picture (Tula) Mesoamerica Cultures Map

TEOTIHUACAN CULTURE: Teotihuacán, was an ancient commercial and religious center, 30 mi (48 km) NE of Mexico City, of an influential civilization that flourished between A.D. 300 and 900. The largest and most impressive urban site of ancient America, it is laid out in a grid and dominated by the Pyramid of the Sun. Other notable buildings include the Pyramid of the Moon and the Temple of Quetzalcoatl. The people of Teotihuacán brought sculpture, ceramics, the carving of stylized stone masks, and mural painting to a high degree of refinement. Their designs indicate a complex religious system. At its peak the city's population was over 100,000.  Excellent Pictures by Philip Baird, (C)1998. More Pictures. Teotihuacan, City of the Gods. Satellite Picture, Satellite Picture (Temple of Quetzalcoatl) Temple of Quetzalcoatl Replica, Temple of Quetzalcoaltl Perspective on Size, Teotihuacan Reconstruction, Excellent Pictures, by James Q Jacobs, 1999, Mesoamerica Cultures Map

MIXTECS CULTURE: Mixtecs, are indigenous people of SW Mexico who speak a language of the Otomian stock. Important from ancient times, the Mixtec seem to have had an advanced culture before the coming of the Toltec. They began spreading southward about 900 and by the 14th cent. overshadowed their rivals the Zapotec. Excelling in stonework and metalwork, wood carving, and pottery decoration, the Mixtec strongly influenced other Mexican. There are about 500,000 Mixtec-speaking people in Mexico today.  Excellent Pictures by Philip Baird, (C)1998. Satellite Picture (Mitla) Mesoamerica Cultures Map

ZAPOTECS CULTURE: Zapotecs are indigenous people of S Mexico whose language is often placed in the Macro-Otomanguean division. They had no traditions or migration legends, but believed themselves born directly from rocks, trees, and jaguars. The early Zapotec were agricultural city-dwellers whose religion involved ancestor worship and a cult of the dead. A high civilization flourished some 2,000 years ago at their religious center at Mitla and city of Monte Albán. Their arts, architecture, writing, mathematics, and calendar suggest links with the Olmec, Maya, and Toltec. About 1300 the Mixtec took their cities, but the Zapotec remained autonomous until the arrival of the Spanish by allying with the Aztec. The Zapotec number c.350,000; their culture blends native and Spanish elements.  Excellent Pictures by Philip Baird, (C)1998. Satellite Picture (Monte Alban) Mesoamerica Cultures Map

TOTONAC CULTURE: Totonac, Cempoala center was the first city visited by Cortéz and his party on their expedition to the Aztec Empire. Cempoala was know as Totonacapan in it was the home to perhaps as many as 100,000 residents. Cempoala was situated on a densely populated flood plain southeast of el Tajín and boasted such advance features as a highly developed flood-control and irrigation systems. By the time of Cortéz arrival, El Totonacapan had became a client state of the Aztec Empire and eagerly made common cause with the Spanish invaders. Mesoamerica Cultures Map

AZTEC CULTURE: Aztecs, were indigenous people dominating central Mexico at the time of the Spanish conquest (16th cent.), with a Nahuatlan language of the Uto-Aztecan stock. Until the founding of their capital, Tenochtitlán (c.1325), the Aztec were a poor nomadic tribe in the valley of Mexico. In the 15th cent. they became powerful, subjugating the Huastec to the north and the Mixtec and Zapotec to the south, and achieving a composite civilization based on a Toltec and Mixteca-Puebla heritage. Engineering, architecture, art, mathematics, astronomy, sculpture, weaving, metalwork, music, and picture writing were highly developed; agriculture and trade flourished. The nobility, priesthood, military, and merchant castes predominated. War captives were sacrificed to the many Aztec gods, including the god of war, Huitzilopochti. In 1519, when Cortés arrived, many subject peoples willingly joined the Spanish against the Aztecs. Cortés captured Montezuma, who was subsequently murdered, and razed Tenochtitlán.  Excellent Pictures by Philip Baird, (C)1998. Map: Cortes and the "Conquest" 1519. Satellite Picture (Templo Mayor) Satellite Picture (Xochimilco) Satellite Picture (Plaza de las Tres Culturas) Mesoamerica Cultures Map. The Aztec Video

AMERICAN INDIAN POPULATION ESTIMATES: The population figure for indigenous peoples in the Americas before the 1492 voyage of Christopher Columbus has proven difficult to establish in exact numbers. Scholars rely on archaeological data and written records from settlers from the Old World. Most scholars writing at the end of the 19th century estimated the pre-Columbian population as low as 10 million; by the end of the 20th century most scholars gravitate to a middle estimate of around 50 million, with some historians arguing for 100 million or more. Contact with the New World led to the European colonization of the Americas, in which millions of immigrants from the Old World eventually settled the New World. Hispaniola Indian Population Decline, Mexico Indian Population Decline.

XICOTENCATL II, 1520: Axayacatl, also known as Xicotencatl the Younger (died 1521), was a prince and warleader, probably with the title of Tlacochcalcatl, of the pre-Columbian state of Tlaxcallan at the time of the Spanish conquest of Mexico. He is known primarily as the leader of the force that was dispatched from Tlaxcallan to intercept the forces of Hernán Cortés and his Totonac allies as they entered Tlaxcallan territory when going inland from the Veracruz coast.

CUAUHTEMOC, 1521: Cuauhtémoc also known as Cuauhtemotzin, Guatimozin or Guatemoc; was the Mexica ruler (tlatoani) of Tenochtitlan from 1520 to 1521, making him the last Aztec Emperor. The name Cuāuhtemōc means "one who has descended like an eagle", and is commonly rendered in English as "Descending Eagle," as in the moment when an eagle folds its wings and plummets down to strike its prey. This is a name that implies aggressiveness and determination.

THE ENCOMIENDA, 1503 In the encomienda, the Spanish crown granted a person a specified number of natives of a specific community, with the indigenous leaders in charge of mobilizing the assessed tribute and labor. In turn, encomenderos were to take responsibility for instruction in the Christian faith, protection from warring tribes and pirates, instruction in the Spanish language and development and maintenance of infrastructure.

SPANIARDS PERIOD, CERRO DE LA BUFA, ZACATECA, 1586: Zacatecas is one of the richest states in Mexico. One of the most important mines from the colonial period is the El Eden mine. It began operations in 1586 in the Cerro de la Bufa. It principally produced gold and silver with most of its production occurring in the 17th and 18th centuries. Today, the opening of this mine is within the city limits and was closed to mining in 1960. It was reopened as a tourist attraction in 1975. Satellite Picture (Cerro de la Bufa) Cerro de la Bufa. Colonial Mines Map

THE ACAXEE RVELLION 1601:An Indian leader named Perico initiated the rebellion in late 1601. Using a mixture of Spanish and Indian religious practices, he promised his followers that the Spanish could be exterminated. The rebellion "was characterized by messianic leadership and promises of millennial redemption during a period of violent disruption and catastrophic demographic decline due to disease." The rebellion aimed “to restore pre-Columbian social and religious elements that had been destroyed by the Spanish conquest.

THE TEPEHUAN REVELLION, 1616: On November 16, 1616, a wagon train traveling to Mexico City was attacked by the Tepehuán just outside Santa Catarina de Tepehuanes, a small village in the eastern foothills of the Sierra Madre Occidental. Thus began what Jesuit historian Andrés Pérez de Ribas called the revolt "one of the greatest outbreaks of disorder, upheaval, and destruction that had been seen in New Spain...since the Conquest."
Before it was finished four years later, more than 200 Spaniards, 10 missionaries, an unknown number of Indians, Black slaves, and mestizos allied with the Spanish, and perhaps 4,000 Tepehuán died, many of hunger and disease, with destruction to property valued as much as a million pesos.

LATIN AMERICA WARS FOR INDEPENDENCE: The Latin American Wars of Independence were the revolutions that took place during the late 18th and early 19th centuries and resulted in the creation of a number of independent countries in Latin America. These revolutions followed the American and French Revolutions, which had profound effects on the Spanish, Portuguese and French colonies in the Americas. Haiti, a French slave colony, was the first to follow the United States to independence, during the Haitian Revolution, which lasted from 1791 to 1804. Thwarted in his attempt to rebuild a French empire in North America, Napoleon Bonaparte turned his armies to Europe, invading and occupying many countries, including Spain and Portugal in 1808, started the Latin American Revolutions.

AGRARIAN REFORMS 1930-2001: Land reform (also agrarian reform, though that can have a broader meaning) involves the changing of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership. Land reform may consist of a government-initiated or government-backed property redistribution, generally of agricultural land. Land reform can, therefore, refer to transfer of ownership from the more powerful to the less powerful, such as from a relatively small number of wealthy (or noble) owners with extensive land holdings (e.g., plantations, large ranches, or agribusiness plots) to individual ownership by those who work the land. Such transfers of ownership may be with or without compensation; compensation may vary from token amounts to the full value of the land.

HUICHOL TRIBE: The Huichols are a hearty and enduring people numbering about 18,000, most of which live in the Jalisco and Nayarit, two rugged and mountainous states in North Central Mexico. They are descendents of the Aztecs and are related to their Uto-Aztecan speaking cousin, the Hopi of Arizona. They are representatives of a pre-Columbian shamanic tradition which is still functioning according to the ceremonies of their remote past.

TARAHUMARA TRIBE: The Tarahumara Indians inhabit the Sierra Madre Mountains of the State of Chihuahua in Northwest Mexico. Their territory centers in the upper Rio Urique drainage, and covers approximately 5,000 square miles. Modern population estimates range between 40,000-50,000.

OTOMI TRIBE: Otomí, or Hña-hñu, people make up the fifth largest indigenous ethnic group in Mexico. Otomí communities can be found across Central Mexico from Michoacán in the west to Veracruz in the east. In prehispanic times, the center of Otomí culture was located at Xilotepec in what is now the State of México.

TIMELINE OF ANCIENT AMERICA CHART


A MAP OF CENTRAL AMERICAN INDIAN CULTURES
 

LATIN AMERICAN INDIGENOUS ORGANIZATIONS

Pueblos Originarios de America Excellent Spanish Site

HISTORICAL MAPS:

Christopher Columbus (1492) *Biography

Vasco Nunez de Balboa (1513)  *Biography

Hernan Cortez (1519-1521)  *Biography

Alavaro Nunez Cabea de Vaca (1528-1536)  *Biography

Hernando de Soto (1539-1543)  *Biography

Fransisco de Coronado (1540-1542)  *Biography

Juan de Onate (1598)  *Biography

North America Spanish Exploration

Spanish Viceroyalties Maps  *Information

The Columbian Exchange  *Information

AMERICAN INDIAN HEROES OF THE AMERICAS:

Anacaona, 1503 (Haiti), Hatuey, 1511 (Cuba), Enriquillo, 1520 (Dominican Republic), Cuahtemoc, 1521 (Mexico), Nicarao, 1522 (Nicaragua), Urraca, 1523 (Panama), Tecun-Uman, 1523 (Guatemala), Atlacatl, 1524 (El Salvador), Ruminahui, 1534 (Ecuador), Lempira, 1535 (Honduras), Lambare, 1536 (Paraguay), Caupolican, 1550 (Chile), Guaicapuro, 1560 (Venezuela), Juan Calchaqui, 1560 (Argentina), Garabito, 1561 (Costa Rica), Abayuba, 1573 (Uruguay), Calarca, 1600 (Colombia), Camarao and Clarita, 1614 (Brazil), Tupac Amaru and Micaela Bastidas, 1780 (Peru), Tupac Catari and Bartolina Sisa, 1780 (Bolivia), United States American Indians 

Apology Official Documents Written in North America:

- Canada Official Government Apology to American Indians in 2004

- US Official Government Apology to American Indians in 2009

- US Official Government Apology to American Indians in 2010 (page 45)

 

HISTORY OF THE "CONQUEST" OF MEXICO (Map)
Source: From Miguel Leon­Portilla, ed., The Brohen Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico (Boston: Beacon Press, 1962), pp. 64­66, 129­131.

In 1519 Hernan Cortés sailed from Cuba, landed in Mexico and made his way to the Aztec capital. Miguel Leon­Portilla, a Mexican anthropologist, gathered accounts by the Aztecs, some of which were written shortly after the conquest.
 

Speeches of Motecuhzoma and Cortés
 

When Motecuhzoma [Montezuma] had given necklaces to each one, Cortés asked him: "Are you Motecuhzoma? Are you the king? Is it true that you are the king Motecuhzoma?"

And the king said: "Yes, I am Motecuhzoma." Then he stood up to welcome Cortés; he came forward, bowed his head low and addressed him in these words: "Our lord, you are weary. The journey has tired you, but now you have arrived on the earth. You have come to your city, Mexico. You have come here to sit on your throne, to sit under its canopy.

"The kings who have gone before, your representatives, guarded it and preserved it for your coming. The kings Itzcoatl, Motecuhzoma the Elder, Axayacatl, Tizoc and Ahuitzol ruled for you in the City of Mexico. The people were protected by their swords and sheltered by their shields.

"Do the kings know the destiny of those they left behind, their posterity? If only they are watching! If only they can see what I see!

"No, it is not a dream. I am not walking in my sleep. I am not seeing you in my dreams.... I have seen you at last! I have met you face to face! I was in agony for five days, for ten days, with my eyes fixed on the Region of the Mystery. And now you have come out of the clouds and mists to sit on your throne again.

"This was foretold by the kings who governed your city, and now it has taken place. You have come back to us; you have come down from the sky. Rest now, and take possession of your royal houses. Welcome to your land, my lords! "

When Motecuhzoma had finished, La Malinche translated his address into Spanish so that the Captain could understand it. Cortés replied in his strange and savage tongue, speaking first to La Malinche: "Tell Motecuhzoma that we are his friends. There is nothing to fear. We have wanted to see him for a long time, and now we have seen his face and heard his words. Tell him that we love him well and that our hearts are contented."

Then he said to Motecuhzoma: "We have come to your house in Mexico as friends. There is nothing to fear."

La Malinche translated this speech and the Spaniards grasped Motecuhzoma's hands and patted his back to show their affection for him....

Massacre in the Main Temple

During this time, the people asked Motecuhzoma how they should celebrate their god's fiesta. He said: "Dress him in all his finery, in all his sacred ornaments."

During this same time, The Sun commanded that Motecuhzoma and Itzcohuatzin, the military chief of Tlatelolco, be made prisoners. The Spaniards hanged a chief from Acolhuacan named Nezahualquentzin. They also murdered the king of Nauhtla, Cohualpopocatzin, by wounding him with arrows and then burning him alive.

For this reason, our warriors were on guard at the Eagle Gate. The sentries from Tenochtitlan stood at one side of the gate, and the sentries from Tlatelolco at the other. But messengers came to tell them to dress the figure of Huitzilopochtli. They left their posts and went to dress him in his sacred finery: his ornaments and his paper clothing.

When this had been done, the celebrants began to sing their songs. That is how they celebrated the first day of the fiesta. On the second day they began to sing again, but without warning they were all put to death. The dancers and singers were completely unarmed. They brought only their embroidered cloaks, their turquoises, their lip plugs, their necklaces, their clusters of heron feathers, their trinkets made of deer hooves. Those who played the drums, the old men, had brought their gourds of snuff and their timbrels.

The Spaniards attacked the musicians first, slashing at their hands and faces until they had killed all of them. The singers-and even the spectators- were also killed. This slaughter in the Sacred Patio went on for three hours. Then the Spaniards burst into the rooms of the temple to kill the others: those who were carrying water, or bringing fodder for the horses, or grinding meal, or sweeping, or standing watch over this work.

The king Motecuhzoma, who was accompanied by Itzcohuatzin and by those who had brought food for the Spaniards, protested: "Our lords, that is enough! What are you doing? These people are not carrying shields or macanas. Our lords, they are completely unarmed!"

The Sun had treacherously murdered our people on the twentieth day after the captain left for the coast. We allowed the Captain to return to the city in peace. But on the following day we attacked him with all our might, and that was the beginning of the war

Source: From Miguel Leon­Portilla, ed., The Brohen Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico (Boston: Beacon Press, 1962), pp. 64­66, 129­131.
 

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Sources: Most of the sources in this page come from Wikipedia

 








 


AMERICA BEFORE COLUMBUS

 


MONTE VERDE
TOM DILLEHAY
SPANISH

 


MESOAMERICA
THE ANCIENT AMERICANS

 


CULTURAS DE
MEXICO ANTIGUO
SPANISH

 


NMAI COLLECTION

 


SMITHSONIAN NMAI

 


ANCIENT AMERICA

 


THE FOOD TIMELINE

 


U.N. DECLARATION
INDIGENOUS RIGHTS

 

 

 

 

 

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