The governmental structures of the three civilizations were different; the Olmecs had some sort of division of labor, the Mayas had city-states and kingdoms, linked by political ties, culture, and trade, which were not unified into a single empire, and the Aztecs had a huge empire whose people were organized into a
How did the Olmec influence the Maya?
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.
Pre-Olmec cultures had flourished in the area since about 2500 BCE, but by 1600–1500 BCE, Early Olmec culture had emerged. They were the first Mesoamerican civilization and laid many of the foundations for the civilizations that followed, such as the Maya.
The Olmec were American Indians, not Negroes (as Melgar had thought) or Nordic supermen.”
Many matured into advanced pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations such as the: Olmec, Izapa, Teotihuacan, Maya, Zapotec, Mixtec, Huastec, Purépecha, Totonac, Toltec, and Aztec, which flourished for nearly 4,000 years before the first contact with Europeans.
Some historians assert that the Mayans were the descendants of the Olmecs.
The Maya were native people of Mexico and Central America, while the Aztec covered most of northern Mesoamerica between c. 1345 and 1521 CE, whereas Inca flourished in ancient Peru between c. 1400 and 1533 CE and extended across western South America.
Mel Gibson’s latest film, Apocalypto, tells a story set in pre-Columbian Central America, with the Mayan Empire in decline. Villagers who survived a savage attack are taken by their captors through the jungle to the central Mayan city.
The Aztecs were Nahuatl-speaking people who lived in central Mexico in the 14th to 16th centuries. The Maya people lived in southern Mexico and northern Central America — a wide territory that includes the entire Yucatán Peninsula — from as early as 2600 BC. The civilization’s height was between 250 and 900 AD.
The Maya, Inca, and Aztecs built great civilizations in Mexico and in Central and South America between 1,800 and 500 years ago. In short, the Maya came first, and settled in modern-day Mexico. Incas were more powerful, because they were much more unified (and their organisation was definitely superior) than 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.
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.
Olmec civilization arose along the Gulf Coast of southern Mexico about 1200 B.C., in an area that the Aztecs later called Olman, “The Rubber Country.” There, quick streams flowed into large rivers, with easily cultivated soil and bountiful forests providing sustenance.
Yes, the Aztecs conquered and ruled some of the Mayan territories. In fact some historians think that that conquest was the end of the Mayan empire. Many Mayans and other tribes from what today is Mexico were ruled and sometimes used as slaves by the Aztecs.
The Maya have lived in Central America for many centuries. They are one of the many Precolumbian native peoples of Mesoamerica. They generally possess a common physical type, and they “share many cultural characteristics, such as common, native deities, similar cosmological beliefs, and the same calendar.