Characteristics of pre-Hispanic cultures

Prehispanic cultures


It is a civilization born during the pre-classic time , located in the Mesoamerican area , this due to the fact that several remains of this culture are found in large places in this region, in the same way it is considered that the Olmec nuclear area can also be part of the south west of the state of Veracruz and west of the tabasco region.

Over the years, the belief that the Olmec culture is the origin of the Mesoamerican civilization has been maintained .

But perhaps it is not entirely true, because the procedure that started the own style that identifies this society is not fully evidenced .

Regardless of the origin that this Olmec culture had, the trade exchanged between the different cultures in Mesoamerica helped the diffusion of aspects and cultural elements that are native to the Olmecs, including the cult of mountains and caves.


It was from one of the pre-Columbian civilizations of Mesoamerica  that emerged between the 1st and 8th centuries BC, settled in what is currently known as Mexico.

This culture is one of the most enigmatic on the continent; its origins and disappearance are still debated. From its history the ruins of what is considered the largest city of these inhabitants have remained.

Currently, it is taken into account as an area full of archaeological monuments , which are one of the historical sites with the most tourist and anthropological interest characterized by the presence of pyramids.

However, the city of this civilization is considered a center of pilgrimage and spirituality by the Aztec culture, who visited this site after it had been abandoned.

It is estimated that this city had the same level of importance as that of Imperial Rome, due to its extensiveness and antiquity evidenced in the ruins of Tikal or Chichen Itzá.


The Mayan culture was an original civilization of Mesoamerica , which was maintained for 18 centuries in important socio-cultural aspects including the invention of its hieroglyphic writing.

This writing system is considered as a fully developed system of the pre-Columbian continent  and also advanced for the time, thus attributing other aspects of great importance such as art, architecture, astronomy, mathematics and a wise knowledge about the ecology.

This civilization settled in the region that is located in the southeast of Mexico, more specifically in the area of ​​Campeche, Yucatán, Tabasco, Quinta Roo and the eastern region of Chiapas, including the territory of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

The area of agriculture developed in the formative period before 2000 BC and it was here that the inhabitants opted for a sedentary lifestyle. In the preclassical period (2000 BC to 250 AD) one of the most significant due to the fact that the first complex societies evolved and, in the same way, the first crops of the Mayan diet such as: beans, corn, chili and squash .

The Mayans are known to be one of the pioneers of interlocking ritual calendars. As part of their religious beliefs they used human sacrifice.


Characterized for being a Mesoamerican culture that is native to the region of Oaxaca, Puebla, Guerrero and the state of Mexico.

Named as the most important civilization in Mesoamerica. Rumor has it that they come from rock and sand. There is not much information about this civilization compared to the others.

What characterized them from the others was that, despite their culture, they did not maintain any tradition or myths regarding their migration , they maintained the belief that they were born directly from the clouds , calling themselves the children of the gods.

Characteristics of pre-Hispanic cultures

Characteristics of the Olmecs

  1. Considered the “mother culture” of Mesoamerica.
  2. They believed in the tapir as an animal hunted only by the brave.
  3. The oldest Olmec center is located in San Lorenzo.
  4. They took jade as a religious symbol.

Characteristics of the Teotihuacanos

  1. I cover the northeast area of ​​what is currently known as the Mexican valley, 78km from Mexico City.
  2. The area where they settled has been recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site since 1987.
  3. Its constructions have a great social sense.
  4. Its name is considered by the Aztecs as the city ​​of the gods.
  5. Its political structure was governed theocratically , this means that it was governed through the government of its religious leaders.

Characteristics of the Mayas

  1. They used mathematics.
  2. They are considered one of the first civilizations to use the explicit zero in the world.
  3. They recorded their history and their knowledge of rituals in books that were shaped like screens.
  4. They used perishable and durable materials , such as: ceramics, wood, jade, obsidian, carved stones, among others, to develop sophisticated art forms.
  5. The monarchy was mostly hereditary and patrilineal.
  6. Good farmers.

Characteristics of the Zapotec culture

  1. Exceptional farmers.
  2. Important corn crops.
  3. They held beliefs such as toná and nahualism.
  4. They attributed to the invention of 2 calendars.
  5. They call it one of the most important civilizations in Mesoamerica.

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