Who were the Olmec Indians?
Olmec Food, Crops, and Diet They planted many of the same crops seen in the region today, such as squash, beans, manioc, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. Maize was a staple of the Olmec diet, although it is possible that it was introduced late in the development of their culture.
The men wore breech-cloth, back apron and a belt. The women wore knee length skirts. The priests wore their slaves skin when sacrificed.
The Olmecs and the Mayas. The peoples of the Americas experienced their own Neolithic Revolution in which they learned to grow corn (maize) and other crops.
Popularly consumed as a beverage, the Olmec fermented the cacao with pulp intact. In the early days, cacao beverages were produced solely from the pulp of the fruit.
Olmec farmers grew maize, beans, chilies, tomatoes, and squashes. They kept dogs and chickens for meat. As well as that the Olmecs hunted deer and peccaries (wild pigs). The Olmecs also fished and collected shellfish.
The Olmec were American Indians, not Negroes (as Melgar had thought) or Nordic supermen.”
Houses. Olmec homes were very simple and made out of logs, heavy stone, and clay. Olmecs liked to live near flood plains so built their houses on small mounds or platforms. They also lived in buildings with earth packed around poles which were used as sleeping area, dining room, and shelter.
Archaeological evidence also suggests that they originated the Mesoamerican practices of the Mesoamerican Ballgame —a popular game in the pre-Columbian Americas played with balls made from solid rubber—and that they may have practiced ritual bloodletting.
The Olmec created massive monuments, including colossal stone heads, thrones, stela (upright slabs), and statues. They may have been the originators of the Mesoamerican ball game, a ceremonial team sport played throughout the region for centuries.
The Olmec had amazing agriculture and knew how to get fertile soil and make use of it well. They planted things, such as squash, tomatoes, beans, and chilies. However, their main staple food was maize, or corn. It was an essential crop and was the main food of hundreds of people.
Although their principal crop was corn, farmers also cultivated beans, squash, and fruit trees. Black beans and red beans contributed protein to the Maya diet. Besides these main crops, the Maya grew a variety of vegetables including tomatoes and chili peppers, and fruits such as avocados, papaya, bananas, and guava.
The Olmecs were a culture of ancient peoples -1300-400 B.C. – of the East Mexico lowlands. They are often regarded as the Mother Culture of later Middle American civilizations. The Olmec people called themselves Xi (pronounced Shi).
In The True Story of Chocolate, they argue that cacao in the form of a chocolate beverage originated with the Olmec. According to Coe and Coe, cacao originally pronounced “kakawa,” was a term used by the ancient Olmec as early as 1000 BCE.
On special occasions chocolate was mixed with ground maize and spiced with chili. Beans and squash were often planted in the same hole with the maize or the rows between.
Who invented chocolate? Chocolate’s 4,000-year history began in ancient Mesoamerica, present day Mexico. It’s here that the first cacao plants were found. The Olmec, one of the earliest civilizations in Latin America, were the first to turn the cacao plant into chocolate.