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MesoamericaMesoamerica is a region and culture area in the Americas, extending approximately from central Mexico to Honduras and Nicaragua, within which a number of pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Prehistoric groups in this area are characterized by agricultural villages and large ceremonial and politico-religious capitals. This culture area included some of the most complex and advanced cultures of the Americas, including the Olmec, Teotihuacan, the Maya, and the Aztec.

The history of human occupation in Mesoamerica is divided among a number of stages or periods. These are known, with slight variation depending on region, as the Paleo-Indian, the Archaic, the Preclassic (or Formative), the Classic, and the Postclassic.

The last three periods, representing the core of Mesoamerican cultural fluorescence, are further divided into two or three sub-phases. Most of the time following the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century is lumped into the Colonial period.

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17 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Mauricio Gomez

    ....IT'S ALIENS

    - Giorgio A. Tsoukalos

  2. Winston Smith

    This world is a lot less mysterious than it was just 2 decades ago before the decipherment of the Mayan script. Anyone who wants great books on the Maya get: Maya published by Rizzoli -not cheap but excellent overview. Also excellent is the ARt of The Maya Scribe by Coe & A Forest of Kings by Shele & Freidel -for the lay reader. Many Mayanists now believe that drought is what doomed this culture so rapidly.

  3. Guest

    So? In a way, Cortez was right to put an end to this Aztec reign of terror and daily blood bath ritual.Anyhow, there'll be one child more to carry on!


    1. Winston Smith

      of course not. two wrongs never make a right

  4. You Do Not See Me

    Those look like Alien Featuers to me... ummmmmmmmmmm Bound between bords my azz. It amazes me how they know soo much but claim to know so little! So how were they doing advance medical practices LMAO Aliens Are alive and well in every community. Call me crazy if you want! LOL

  5. You Do Not See Me

    This is a terrible representation of the Maya... They are a Spiritual People and Where not "getting high" They were connecting with a higher source. They did not get "high" for recreationally purposes! Like Really why would you use our modern day language to bring light to a life we truly know nothing about. The were getting "DRUNK" Really These people are more advanced than we are today We can never re-create what they created mentally, spiritually, and so on. Our culture will never reach the Conscious height as our ancestors once did we are too disconnected fro Self and Earth.
    We can not use our understanding to understand the Peoples of the PAST. Now if CERTAIN People would not have destroyed ever god dayum thing we would know the TRUTHS OF THIS PLACE WE LIVE BUT NO NO NO DOMINATION WAS THE CERTAIN PEOPLES PRIME OBJECTIVE!

  6. david powell

    ez2b12 yes diego de landa responsible for burning many of the maya codices did leave a journal-relacion de las cosas de yucatan-available in english translation.remember he did burn the codices but also left us his journal which contains a sort of phonemic translation of the glyphs which proved to be key to dicipherment .with respect to breakup of cities in southern area i vote for deforestation. buildings were coated with plaster witch required lots of wood for charcol to produce.with the lack of forest cover the heavy seasonal rains washed away much of the arable soil and the land could no longer support high concentracion of population.

  7. Eric T

    Very nice. I especially liked the last announcer of the series which was unfortunately cut short... Not unlike the civilizations themselves.

  8. Willowtree

    Vlatko,the last 6 minutes of the Montezuma (BBC documentary)is missing...found the whole doc on you tube, uploaded by DocumentalesMexico..I guess it's more to let everyone know about it if the missing ending is a little annoying to some...otherwise,great playlist,enjoyed it immensely. Thanks for posting!

  9. ez2b12

    Just as I thought, here are some qoutes from websites that back up exactly what this documentary tells us.

    As missionaries began to travel to the New World, the practice of ecclesiastical book censors and book burning went with them. Anxious to convert the Mayans, missionaries destroyed nearly all of their books. Only three or four Mayan books remain in the world today. One of them, the Dresden Codex, is currently owned by the Staatsarchiv in Dresden, Germany.

    doubleU doubleU doubleu dot amazing stories dot com.

    Some particular cases of book burning are long and traumatically remembered - because the books destroyed were irreplaceable and their loss constituted a severe damage to cultural heritage, and/or because this instance of book burning has become emblematic of a harsh and oppressive regime. Such were the destruction of the Library of Alexandria, the obliteration of the Library of Baghdad, the burning of books and burying of scholars under China's Qin Dynasty, the destruction of Mayan codices by Spanish conquistadors and priests, and some seem more for publicity for a cause such as Nazi book burnings, the burning of Beatles records after a remark by John Lennon concerning Jesus Christ, and the destruction of the Sarajevo National Library.

    Wikipedia, not my favorite source but their you have it.

    Unfortunately zealous Spanish priests shortly after the conquest ordered the burning of all the Maya books.

    crystal links dot com.

    I could keep going with one site after the other backing up exactly what the documentary says, but I don't think Vlatko would appreciate me posting so much "copy and paste" stuff. I will not attack you personally Justin as that seems never to go anywhere, but I find the destortion of historical facts in order to promote a religion offensive to say the least. The reason I posted proof to support the documentary was so the viewing public can make up their own mind as to the wrong doing of the Spanish christians of this time. If you are trying to say that the Mayans themselves were christians and supported the burning of their own historical, scientific, and cultural texts- well I think anybody can see throuh that arguement. Book burning was a common practice of the christians of this time, especially when trying to convert some native population. This is really sad as we could have learned so much from those lost writings.

    1. Jamie_Headland

      Your statement lost all validity for me when I realised that you'd gone out of your way to put any mention of "Christianity" in lower case lettering, while apparently being meticulous with giving capital letters to any other word that deserved it, grammatically.

      While this does not in itself make anything you said erroneous, and of course you quoted various sources, I immediately distrust anybody with such a blatant agenda - propaganda can be amazingly subtle - so I'd rather look for more more apparently reliable statements.

      By the way, I'm not actually a Christian, and I'm not American, and I know that the combination of both can often be horrific, but still, to me, doing things like this makes you look like a little kid with a grudge against his parents, and so hardly a reliable commentator.

  10. ez2b12

    @ Justin

    Wait a minute, how do you know this was a made up story? How do you know that the meso-American Indians were not pagans but christians at this time? I dont' believe you, sounds like someone trying to defend the Spanish christians to me. We have a lot of documents in the form of writing on stones and buildings and so forth that explains in depth the PAGAN religion of the Mayans, makes sense to me that maybe they didn't fully convert.

    It was standard pagan practice to add new gods to the pantheon when they were encountered and considered strong or worthy of inclusion. This had been happening since biblical times in pagan religions. In fact the Jews did this several times and Moses had to punish them for it. It happened in the desert when Moses went up the mountain, and again in the devided kingdom of Israel when the northern half decided once more to worship golden calves.

    The spanish priest that commited this short sighted and typically religiouse act must have left behind a journal or something that explained this, or the indians somehow recorded it because this is not the first time that i have heard that their literature was burned by the spanish Christians. I am a history major, western civs to be exact. Now I will say that I do not know for sure as western civics doesn't cover the Meso-American indians or their culture. But the story does fit with the brutal senseless tactics of the Spanish chritians and with the practices of pagan religion. I will do some research, something I get the feeling you did absolutedly none of while just jumping at the chance to defend the christians, and post again. Haven't we butted heads before?

  11. Justin

    The Narrator starts creating his own imagined story about what happened in the 'book burnings' and he interprets his own 'history' and makes up things like: He says 'they watched' and suggested only the Priest makes 'them' (the Mayan pagans" burn all their books. But in fact, the people involved were Christians. Christians were burning the pagan books that were not 'their bibles'. They kept their actual bible bibles. Keep in mind, if we are going by speculation then you would speculate far more than the single priest are involved in this. You could retell the story that the Christians zealously revolted against pagan influences and began burning all the pagan books led by their Priest.

    Either way its a tragedy but it annoys me that the narrator is reading a made-up story and one that misleads the viewer to think a single Christians 'hurt pagans' when they were not pagans. They were Christians and they did the collecting and burning.
    Again - tragic or just plain stupid but annoying modern 21st century 'politically correct' a-hole has to sneak in his own imaginary version and additions to the account.

  12. Reasons Voice

    @EZ; Yea thats the guy from law and order narrating. As to the abandonment of the cities there are many theories. My favorite is a little expressed one. Quite simply, pragmatism.
    The people were united as a nation under a god king, times got rough, God king couldn't fix it. Subsequently all faith was lost and the people just left, went back to their own lives in smaller more sustainable groups.

  13. ez2b12

    Is that Sam Waterston from Law and order narrating? It sounds an awful lot like him. I always loved the original law and order and his character in particular. Anyway good doc. as well, like someone already said nothing earth shattering but a good overall view of the mystery and culture of the Meso-American indians. It is odd that they would just pick up and move off from such hard work and achievement. Any theories as to what happened anyone? Coyote, you know alot about this culture, wasn't it you that I talked with about it before?

  14. Reasons Voice

    Love this series. It isn't ground-breaking but a nice simple look at the ancient mesoamericans. Only flaw is the female speaker in the segment on the Maya. She is so overly dramatic in her presentation it's like watching an attention desperate teenage drama class princess hamming it up. Who knew someone could get that worked up about alcoholic enemas?

  15. dustin

    If your into anthropology or archaeology then go for it.