|The Olmec heartland, where the Olmec reigned from 1400 to 400 BCE|
|Geographical range||Veracruz, Mexico|
|Dates||c. 2,500 – 400 BCE|
|Type site||San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán|
|Major sites||La Venta, Tres Zapotes, Laguna de los Cerros|
What type of shelters did the Olmec live in?
The Olmecs lived in hot, humid lowlands along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in what is now southern Veracruz and Tabasco states in southern Mexico.
San Lorenzo, the oldest known Olmec centre, dates to about 1150 bce, a time when the rest of Mesoamerica was at best on a Neolithic level.
While historians have speculated that the facial features of some monumental carved heads indicate an African origin of these people, most scholars believe that the Olmec, like other native Americans, descended from Asian ancestors who entered North America during the Great Ice Age.
Olmec Cosmology Like many early Mesoamerican cultures, the Olmec believed in three tiers of existence: the physical realm they inhabited, an underworld and a sky realm, home of most of the gods. Their world was bound together by the four cardinal points and natural boundaries such as rivers, the ocean and mountains.
At the time of the Spanish Conquest in 1521, the Aztec capital city of Tenochtitlan was among the largest cities in the world, with perhaps as many as 200,000 inhabitants.
Among their many accomplishments, Olmecs created the first cities in North America. Many archeological sites are known for this culture, but only two were large and splendid enough to qualify as cities: San Lorenzo and La Venta.
In any case, following the decline of San Lorenzo, La Venta became the most prominent Olmec center, lasting from 900 BCE until its abandonment around 400 BCE. La Venta sustained the Olmec cultural traditions with spectacular displays of power and wealth.
To quickly sum up, the Maya were first but learned a lot from the Olmecs, who started 1,200 years later.
Some historians assert that the Mayans were the descendants of the Olmecs.
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 Olmec were the first major civilization in Mexico. They lived in the tropical lowlands on the Gulf of Mexico in the present-day Mexican states of Veracruz and Tabasco. The name Olmec is a Nahuatl—the Aztec language—word; it means the rubber people.
The Olmec Dragon represented the Earth or at least the plane upon which humans lived. As such, he represented agriculture, fertility, fire, and otherworldly things. The dragon may have been associated with the Olmec ruling classes or elite.
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.