Mexico and Central America 1000 BCE

The Olmec civilization has appeared in Mexico.

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What is happening in Mexico and Central America in 1000BCE

In the coastal lowlands of Mexico, the rich soil of the river mouths has allowed intensive farming to give rise to a dense population. Here, elite groups have emerged who are able to control the labour of large numbers of farmers, and a more complex society has come into being. With this labour at their disposal, the rulers build imposing ceremonial centres, adorned by superbly-crafted sculptures and other works. These centres act as the focus for the religious life of the region, and from them the rulers are clearly able to exercise a high degree of control over the surrounding countryside.

Thus what many scholars regard as the earliest civilization of Mesoamerica has emerged, that of the Olmecs. Complex societies are also evolving in other parts of Mesoamerica, though not on the scale of the Olmecs. Trade routes now span the region, and along these Olmec influences reach out throughout the region, laying the foundations for all future Mesoamerican civilizations.

Hunter-gatherer populations still inhabit much of the region, and it is only about now that the lowland forests of the Yucatan Peninsula, the later heartland of the great Mayan civilization, begin to be settled by farmers.

Next map, Mexico and Central America in 500 BCE

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