The Olmec people are believed to have occupied a large part of modern-day Southern Mexico. The Olmec civilization is what is known as an archaeological culture. This means there is a collection of artifacts thought by archaeologists to represent a particular society.
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. The first evidence of their remarkable art style appears about 1200 bce in San Lorenzo, their oldest known building site.
La Venta, ancient Olmec settlement, located near the border of modern Tabasco and Veracruz states, on the gulf coast of Mexico. La Venta was originally built on an island in the Tonalá River; now it is part of a large swamp.
They lived in the tropical lowlands on the Gulf of Mexico in the present-day Mexican states of Veracruz and Tabasco.
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.
The Olmec were American Indians, not Negroes (as Melgar had thought) or Nordic supermen.”
Linguistic evidence has contributed to the ethnic identity of the archaeological Olmecs: they spoke a Mixe-Zoquean language. The Olmecs produced the earliest complex civilization in Mesoamerica (c. 1200–400 bce), and it was located mainly in the same area where Mixe-Zoquean languages are found.
The discovery of the first colossal head at Tres Zapotes in 1862 by José María Melgar y Serrano was not well documented nor reported outside of Mexico. The excavation of the same colossal head by Matthew Stirling in 1938 spurred the first archaeological investigations of Olmec culture.
To quickly sum up, the Maya were first but learned a lot from the Olmecs, who started 1,200 years later.
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.
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.
Mayan civilization occupied much of the northwestern part of the isthmus of Central America, from Chiapas and Yucatán, now part of southern Mexico, through Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, and El Salvador and into Nicaragua. Maya people still live in the same region today.
The Olmec were the first major civilization in Mexico. They lived in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, in the present-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco, and had their center in the city of La Venta.
Two major Olmec cities are known to researchers: San Lorenzo and La Venta. These are not the names the Olmec knew them by: their original names have been lost to time. San Lorenzo thrived from approximately 1200-900 B.C. and it was the greatest city in Mesoamerica at the time.
The Aztecs were the Native American people who dominated northern Mexico at the time of the Spanish conquest in the early 16th century. A nomadic culture, the Aztecs eventually settled on several small islands in Lake Texcoco where, in 1325, they founded the town of Tenochtitlan, modern-day Mexico City.