Why was the Olmec civilization important?
The Olmecs created long-distance trade routes to obtain the things they needed, eventually making contacts all the way from the valley of Mexico to Central America. These extensive trade networks spread Olmec culture far and wide, spreading Olmec influence throughout Mesoamerica.
In addition to their influence with contemporaneous Mesoamerican cultures, as the first civilization in Mesoamerica, the Olmecs are credited, or speculatively credited, with many “firsts”, including the bloodletting and perhaps human sacrifice, writing and epigraphy, and the invention of popcorn, zero and the
Olmec, the first elaborate pre-Columbian civilization of Mesoamerica (c. 1200–400 bce) and one that is thought to have set many of the fundamental patterns evinced by later American Indian cultures of Mexico and Central America, notably the Maya and the Aztec.
How did the Olmecs influence later Mesoamerican civilizations? The Olmec ball game, religious concepts, blood sacrifice, calendar, writing, and astronomy was later used and adapted by other Mesoamerican civilizations. Plus, they laid the foundation for complex agricultural-based society in Mesoamerica.
The Olmec were the first major civilization in Mexico. Appearing around 1600 BCE, the Olmec were among the first Mesoamerican complex societies, and their culture influenced many later civilizations, like the Maya. The Olmec are known for the immense stone heads they carved from a volcanic rock called basalt.
What evidence supports the idea that the Olmec developed an advanced civilization that was capable of organizing large pools of labor for important projects? The Olmec built large monuments and temples, and they transported huge blocks of stone to be carved into massive sculptures.
The Olmec were American Indians, not Negroes (as Melgar had thought) or Nordic supermen.”
Olmec art lived on in ancient Mesoamerican aesthetic traditions as well. The sculptors and painters in Olmec-period Mexico were the first to portray many of the iconic features of self-proclaimed divine rulers in Mesoamerica.
How did the Olmecs and Maya influence the Aztec civilization in similar ways? The Aztecs used Olmec styles for temples and the Mayan calendar for rituals conducted in them. The Maya influence was more direct than that of the Olmecs because the Maya civilization thrived only a few hundred years before the Aztecs.
The End of the Olmec Civilization Around 400 B.C. La Venta went into decline and was eventually abandoned altogether. With the fall of La Venta came the end of classic Olmec culture. Although the descendants of the Olmecs still lived in the region, the culture itself vanished.
The Agricultural Revolution changed life in Mesoamerica by encouraging Paleo-Indians to settle down into sedentary lifestyles.