The Difference Between The Aztec, Maya, Inca, And Olmec

“It will happen — a seeing [. . .] It is the display of B’olon-Yokte’ in a great investiture.” —Mayan prophetic inscription, Monument 6

In A Nutshell

The Olmec, Mayan, Incan, and Aztec civilizations are some of the greatest ancient civilizations in history, and yet we know very little about them compared to other parts of the world. The Olmecs are frequently forgotten entirely, and the rest are often lumped together or confused, but they were all completely distinct. In short, the Maya came first, and settled in modern-day Mexico. Next came the Olmecs, who also settled Mexico. They didn’t build any major cities, but they were widespread and prosperous. They were followed by the Inca in modern-day Peru, and finally the Aztecs, also in modern-day Mexico.

The Whole Bushel

The Maya were the first Mesoamerican civilization, starting around 2600 B.C. They lasted the longest of all and are often viewed as the greatest Mesoamerican civilization. They built most of their great cities between A.D. 250 and A.D. 900. Although they were around first, the Maya only really rose to greatness in those later years after adopting much of their culture from the younger Olmec civilization. The Maya went on to leave behind a longer, more prosperous legacy, encompassing parts of Mexico, Guatamala, El Salvador, Belize, and Honduras. They were ruled by kings and priests and were not wiped out like some of the other cultures, but gradually dissipated. Their exact relationship with the Olmecs remains unclear.

So the Olmecs were the first major Mesoamerican culture, despite being younger than the Mayans. The name “Olmec” was almost certainly not what they called themselves but is derived from Aztec writings. The Olmecs established themselves around 1400 B.C. and lasted about 1,000 years, occupying a reasonably large amount of land. They were good farmers, artists, mathematicians, and astronomers. They wrote in hieroglyphics, as did most of the cultures that followed them. They never built any major cities that we know of, but they did leave one pyramid behind before they gradually disappeared. Their most famous legacy is the mystery of the Olmec heads: 3-meter (9 ft) tall heads resembling African warriors made from stone found over 130 kilometers (80 mi) away.

The Inca civilization can be traced back to about A.D. 1200. They lived in the mountains of Peru, far removed from the Olmecs, Maya, and Aztecs, and at the peak of their power, the civilization extended for 4,000 kilometers (2,500 mi) and included 16 million people. They were extremely advanced and had an army, laws, roads, bridges, tunnels, and a complicated irrigation system far ahead of its time. However, they never invented a system of writing, instead using knotted ropes for record-keeping. A civil war over the rightful heir to the throne meant that when the Spanish invaded, the Inca were easily defeated. The empire fell in 1533.

The Aztecs founded their biggest city, Tenochtitlan, in A.D. 1325, meaning they were much younger than any of the other three. Tenochtitlan was built on an island in a Mexican lake called Lake Texcoco. They gradually conquered the rest of the area, until they fell in 1521 at the hands of Spanish invaders. Although they were not as advanced as the Inca, they did have a 365-day calendar and used hieroglyphics.

Though the cultures are alike in many ways, such as their building of pyramids, human sacrifices, and use of hieroglyphics (bar the Inca), they are four distinct cultures that rose and fell at different times for different reasons. To quickly sum up, the Maya were first but learned a lot from the Olmecs, who started 1,200 years later. The Aztecs followed about 400 years after the Mayan civilization began to shrink. The Inca were from a completely different area and lasted less than 300 years before being wiped out, while still managing to become the most advanced in their short life.

Show Me The Proof

Maya and Aztec
Olmec Civilization
Three Great Civilizations
Mayan History

  • TheHumanSub

    Might I add that Aztec hydraulic engineering of dykes,levies, canals, aqueducts, sewers, bath houses, toilets as well as their impressive construction of a city in the middle of a lake is bloody impressive and very advanced too. Heavy pyramids and large plaza in the middle of a lake.

    They were one of the most advanced of the Mesoamerican civilisations in terms of city planning, with city services such as garbage collectors and a mandatory education for nobles and peasants, men and women.

    Their ingenious intensive ‘water floating’ farms which produced incredibly intensive yields and noted for being able to isolate the soil from the brackish water is also to be commended.

    But last but not least their military. Just miles ahead of the Mayans and Olmecs.
    Look up the siege of Tenochtitlan. See how quickly, military commanders changed tactics to pressures or new tactics the Spanish implemented. E.g. shooting from both sides of the causeways at the Spanish brigantines and creatively putting spikes in the lake to anchor the ships which camouflaged reed soldiers would then storm the ship. Also relying on guerella attacks to avoid cannon fire and cavalry.

    Also the Spanish noted that it was harder to hold back an Aztec charge then an artillery barrage from the Reconquista/civil war with the Moors.

    Unfortunately the Aztecs got starved out by the Spanish and their allies surrounding the lake and blockaded the few allies that wanted to help the Aztecs. Tenochtitlan you see relies heavily on the spring aqueducts that the Spanish blocked and anyone caught fishing or farming where killed by the invaders.

    • Exiled Phoenix

      Famine was a large part but not the main reason. Disease did more work killing these people off than war or famine. It is estimated 80-90% of these civilizations were killed because they had zero resistance to european diseases.

      • Marcel333

        I remain dubious about these estimations. What is the scientific evidence and not just history writers copying each other ?

      • Tizziebee

        Exactly! Witness the Euorpean influence on practically all indigenous peoples; England and its empire, begat the collusion of Government & Private enterprise. East & West India Tea Cos. India fared? Not so good.
        America? Tea Party…

        France, suppllied American indigenous people with blankets infected with smallpox.

        Europeans arrive in Hawaii, first killed all the birds. Brought some sort of bird flu, and now they have mainly the Mina bird, likes to walk, not fly about. Still a bird…

        • excuse me, the American cavalry gave one such American Indian blankets, “Knowingly” with the small pox germ to make sure, they could finish off tribe…the french…looked upon the Indians as wise and Brave and admired Indians alot….The Indian and French got together to fight against the English…

          • Chrissy Lynn Castro

            Exactly, it was the American calvery not the French! haha

          • gbigsangle

            It was Andy Jackson who ordered the smallpox blankets and the trail of tears that wiped out the Cherokee. A Dem president btw.

    • Jared Fletcher

      Did you actually proof read this before you published this? How can the Mayans learn from the Olmec civilization if the Olmecs came 1200 years after the Mayans?

      • LFO

        …did you bother to read the article?? “the Maya only really rose to greatness in those LATER YEARS after adopting much of their culture from the YOUNGER Olmec civilization.”

    • John

      you may be right about all that with the Aztec. No doubt they had some serious advancements. But how advanced can a civilization be that still practices human sacrifice?
      How bad ass were the Aztecs militarily when the Spanish destroyed their entire empire with 200 men?
      You can site whatever you want. You can also state whatever you wish, and for that matter believe what you will.
      200 Spaniards brought down their empire. I mean the Spanish at the time were pretty bad ass dont get me wrong, but 200 men. come on man.

      • Erlja Jkdf.

        Rome has the Colosseum and they weren’t primitive.

        • Korkodylas

          The Circus was brutal but it was sports. Most people dying there actually had a chance.

          • Erlja Jkdf.

            Tell that to the christians.

          • Korkodylas

            What’s more powerful? A simple oversized cat or the One True God and Creator of the Universe? ;^)

          • Animepunkrocker82

            That was a myth conjured up by Christians to seem like an underdog. Ancient Rome didn’t care what religion you were as long as you paid taxes, out of all empires Rome was the only one that was decent to the conquered people. The Gladiators were either hired, or enemy soldiers, or sometimes even criminals, but if any Christians were killed it certainly wasn’t for being Christian.

          • Erlja Jkdf.

            Monotheism was a threat to the polytheistic system the romans used to integrate other cultures. Every other god was just a reskinned version of one of their own; then Yaweh the singular comes along and that’s stuffed.

            Christianity was also pretty anti-establishment. I grant you, Christianity was often used as a scapegoat rather then sole cause for persecution.

      • El Jamon

        the Spanish did not win with 200 Men. Stop being stupid. The Spanish got Amerindian Allies that were numerous and hated the Aztecs and all the man power and intelligence given to the Spanish along with disease brought down the Aztecs. If you think 200 Spanish men beat the Aztec empire then you are retarded.

        Inca
        Truth is that Spanish did use biological warefare. You can also see this in a video I will add the link on youtube.
        In youtube search type this. – Machu Picchu │ History Documentary │ In 32:20 of the video it talks about how the Spanish Pizzaro used biological warfare to kill and weaken the Inca.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRXUh5YiIoM

        This also occurred to Native American tribes all over North America not just in Mexico or South America.

      • Russ Forbus

        You totally dismissed the fact that the Spaniards recruited thousands of mercenaries from rival surrounding rival tribes,notably the Tlascalans, but many others. Also, Cortes trained up to 400 Spaniards before taking Tenochtitla.

      • Mikel Cassara

        IF you know your history. Cortez waited till they were carrying dead bodies away from the city. Watching with optical tools. When the city was on the verge of ruin from sickness. He attacked with other surrounding tribes helping. Aztecs actually drove them out easily the first time. Also, Aztecs thought Montezuma betrayed them. He basically let the Spanish march in. To judge a culture by your own standards is Ethnocentric. Just enjoy the culture and history. Our idea of a military campaign is something different in retrospect. The Aztec at least bathed and had running water. Something the Spanish lacked..

    • Chuck

      It’s ironic that the Aztecs wiped out the Olmecs, who were in turn subjugated by the Spaniards, who were in turn repudiated by the Mexicans, who now want us in the U.S. to give “their” land back, LOL

  • trish

    Off topic…kind of…. Who are women with the gold links around the neck? I think the husbands removed the links to kill them or something… I remember reading about it in social studies (20 years ago) but I’m curious about it and want to research it a little. Help?

    • starlust

      You might be thinking of the Kayan. They are from South East Asia (modern day Myanmar, I believe), on the other side of the world from the Americas so no relation to the civilizations in question. The brass rings are worn to stretch the neck which is believed to be beautiful. Removing them isn’t fatal.

  • Jarl Balgruff

    These civilisations are really advanced. Plus i love playing them in Civilization V. The Mayan Unique ability is awesome. Great game.

    • Glengarry Ricky Ross

      LOL I never got into V, but IV I always pick Aztecs or Egyptians.

      • Jarl Balgruff

        i like iv better tbh too. V seems well, the diplomacy system in civ V is crappy.

      • Ismar Vasquez

        i have all but i prefer v they have a better diplomacy and religous system

    • SuperWeapons

      Civ 5 is half my knoledge of things like these.

      • Jarl Balgruff

        ahaha yea b4 CIV5 i dont even know what the shoshone people are. Now i know.

    • Ismar Vasquez

      true,true just to add to that today at school my teacher talked about the incas and the mayans he said that the incas derive from the mayans. and i told him this cant be, and in my mind i thought that in civ v they are both different civilizations and could never be one tribe lol, thats the reason why am actually looking for info to prove him wrong lol any way it really is a great game and i have all the expansions and i really like it and enjoy playing them all im kinda a freak in that game lol,if u need help in somthing i could give you some hints and very useful clues , yeah so later,

  • inconspicuous detective

    great article!

  • Hadeskabir

    They weren’t more evolved than the European or else they wouldn’t be conquered. It’s like they stopped evolving for thousands of years until their annihilation.

    • Chester

      Agreed i have no respect for a peoples that gets conquered by the Spanish.

      • TheHumanSub

        You do know that at one point, Spain was a world power at home and abroad right?

        They owned part of Italy and the Netherlands, nearly all of the American continent and had the strongest standing army in Europe. Spain was once reckoned to be invincible 1 on 1 in Europe, similar to the peak of the Ottomans, the British and the Germans.

        Not to mention if you did any research on some of the Spanish conquistadors (Cortes), you will see as violent as they were; how through their courage they prevailed over great obstacles.

        • Chester

          Thanks tips i have opened a history book before…My point stands that i have no respect for a peoples conquered by the Spanish.

          • TheHumanSub

            So you have no respect for Dutch people because they are “blue eyed, blond haired Nordics” in case you were wondering.

          • Chester

            They lost colonial and territories to the Spanish not their entire civilization. Spaniards are soft just push them outta the way.

        • Arjun Krishna Lal

          I would say that calling any Western nation prior to the late 1700s a “World Power” is very Eurocentric and distorted. As late as the early 1700s, as per Angus Maddison’s “Countours of the World Economy,” the GDP (PPP) of the Mughal Empire in India was approximately 10 times that of Spain. The same goes for China. And population-wise both countries had substantially higher populations than any European countries of the time. If you define a world power as a country with a large economy and a large population, then there were no European “World Powers.” There were a few, impoverished European countries with colonies across the sea, which stayed impoverished and economically irrelevant all the way up until the industrial revolution. The only World Powers til circa 1700 were the Mughal Empire, China under the Ming Dynasty, and possibly the Ottoman Empire.

          • Chris Hall

            Roman?

          • LOL

            Calling any nation a world power prior to the 1700’s would be false. As per the definition of world power (“world power: a country that is powerful enough to affect the entire world by its influence or actions”) those countries/empires you listed were not world powers. Unless you can prove China, or India, had not only established contact with the New World before Europeans, but also had influence over the New World, your claims are disingenuous at best, and a straight up lie at worst.

        • Chris Hall

          They didn’t do to we’ll against the English navy though

      • Hadeskabir

        At the time the Spanish were one of the most powerful countries in the world.

        • Chester

          Like i keep saying ive opened a history book before, i still have no respect for a peoples that gets conquered by Spaniards.

          • Hadeskabir

            And why is that?

          • Chester

            Because their fucking Spaniards.

          • Hadeskabir

            Stop being a stupid racist. You wish you were Spanish. Beautiful country and people.

          • Jarl Balgruff

            YEA LOS SANTOS

          • TheHumanSub

            A dumb racist, ain’t that surprising.

          • Chester

            Im not being racist, Spanish is not a race its an ethnicity and yes its a beautiful country and they have beautiful women that being said Spaniards are pussies by European terms and when your army outnumbers them 10,000-1 and they defeat your entire civilization i have no respect for you..

          • Hadeskabir

            British colonies are all 1st world???????? AHAHAHAHAHA! Please, stop, your ignorance is killing me.

          • Chester

            USA,
            Canada
            Australia

            Your move shrimp eating portugal toucher.

          • Hadeskabir

            Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (Sudan)
            Basutoland (Lesotho)
            Bechuanaland (Botswana)
            British East Africa (Kenya)
            British Somaliland (northern Somalia)
            British Togoland (eastern Ghana)
            British Cameroons (split between Nigeria and Cameroon)
            British Egypt
            Khedivate of Egypt
            Sultanate of Egypt
            Kingdom of Egypt
            Gambia Colony and Protectorate
            Gold Coast (Ghana)
            Colonial Nigeria
            Niger Coast Protectorate
            Northern Nigeria Protectorate
            Southern Nigeria Protectorate
            Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria
            Northern Rhodesia (Zambia)
            Nyasaland (Malawi)
            Sierra Leone
            South Africa
            British Cape Colony
            Colony of Natal
            Orange Free State
            Transvaal Colony
            South-West Africa (Namibia)
            Walvis Bay
            Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe)
            Swaziland
            Tanganyika Territory (mainland Tanzania)
            Uganda Protectorate
            Sultanate of Zanzibar (insular Tanzania)
            British Guiana
            Berbice, Essequibo, Demerara
            Falkland Islands
            South Georgia
            South Sandwich Islands
            Bahamas
            Barbados
            Jamaica
            Leeward Islands
            Antigua and Barbuda
            Dominica
            Saint Christopher (St Kitts)-Nevis
            Windward Islands
            Grenada
            Saint Lucia
            Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

            You need more 3rd world british colonies?

          • Chester

            Falkland Islands
            South Georgia
            South Sandwich Islands
            Bahamas
            Barbados
            Jamaica
            Leeward Islands
            Antigua and Barbuda
            Dominica
            Saint Christopher (St Kitts)-Nevis
            Windward Islands
            Grenada
            Saint Lucia
            Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

            arnt 3rd world and all those on your list are better than any Spanish
            Colony. Other than Mexico you got nothing, so tell me again why the
            British Empire wasnt the greater of the 2 and the Spanish some pissant
            thugs.

            The middle east ones dont count because those were already established civilizations that the English merely took over hence why i didnt include india. Also most of the African nations you list no longer exist.

          • Hadeskabir

            Most African ex-colonies only got worse after the british ruled them. Leaving them with huge social problems that didn’t exist before. And you’re right, the british mostly only conquered and ruled already established civilizations while the Spanish discovered the world and created new countries that were almost uninhabited.

          • Chester

            Ya i know right cause those African colonies are doing so well right now filthy british there system of trade , government and legal system are a sham, also all those indigenous peoples the Spaniards slaughtered just wernt there right?. Also the Nordic discovered the New World, and those so called “uninhabited lands” were filled with native peoples. The British system is still by far the better one, and thats why they were the greater Empire, they built theirs on trade, assimilation and good government instead of raping and pillaging like the Spanish, hence why the most powerful country in the world was a british colony.

          • Guest

            The British are lame, boring, and have no culture especially when compared to the Spanish.

    • Tejas Amaya

      Big guns and more weapons doesn’t make a civilization more advanced, in my opinion it makes them more savage like. Theres more ways for people to advance then figuring out more ways to kill each other.

      • Hadeskabir

        Oh so they only had weapons? I guess everything else was just pathetic.

      • Chester

        sorry but warfare is the catalyst of change.

    • Joel Mendoza

      Thats hillarious. The europeans won mainly due to disease. They got gun powder off the Chinese and the compass they used to get here came from the Arabs. The Europeans would not stand a chance without these conditions. What was your point again?

      • LOL

        The same guns that the Chinese created were not the same type of guns that Europeans used to wipe out the indigenous Americans. You are stating that as if white Europeans just let those inventions stagnate, and never improved upon them. Which is a false notion. Not to mention the Spaniards had full metal armor (invented by Europeans, since you want to play that game), horses, and steel weapons.

        The Spanish rallied Aztecans enemies against them, besieged the capital (effectively starving the population), and capitalized on mistakes made by the Aztecs. Yes, disease did kill a lot of the Aztecs, but it also killed a lot of the other indigenous tribes that were helping the Spaniards fight the Aztecs.

        Like it or not, superior weapons, strategy, and great timing is what beat the Aztecs.

    • Arjun Krishna Lal

      Iron wasn’t available freely in the New World, hence you don’t see iron weapons. And for the record, gunpowder technology originated in China, and was transferred to Europe via trade routes, through India and the Middle East. Oh yeah, steel was also not invented in Europe. Nor were mathematical concepts like zero which the Mayans had discovered independently. European civilizations minus steel, gunpowder, advanced mathematics etc, which had all been brought to Europe from India, China, and the Middle East, weren’t substantially more advanced than Mesoamerican civilizations. Go back a few centuries to the Dark Ages. Much of Europe was substantially BEHIND the Mayans at that time. At the most, you could say that the Europeans were a few centuries ahead of Mesoamerican civilizations, and that too, only because of developments in other parts of the world, brought to Europe.

      • Chris Hall

        The Romans and Greeks were far more advanced

        • Ulrik Vikestad Thorsen

          The romans had good sewer systems and buracracy as well as politics but they lacked a good enough army to protect the land and they only used bronze. They got their architecture, math and gods from the greek and military tactics from other civilizations around. Got chainmail from the celts. Scalemail from further north and plate from greeks. Their systems were mostly corrupt and they were under a dictator because of a stupid idea from the democratic senate. The greeks were ok to some extent. Their architecture had to use many pillars to not fall apart. They lacked a good and functioning army. The greeks’ ships were outdated as well as the romans’. They used bronze. They didnt have any education systems and both of these civilizations had A LOT of slaves.

    • Vicarious_Individual

      The Chinese invented gunpowder for reasons and practices of their own, but the British weaponized it and then used it against them during the Opium Wars – artilleries, firearm, etc. bombing them into submission and causing an economic trade deficit that enriched Britain at the expense of India and China. Prior to that China had enjoyed an economic trade surplus with the British. In essence, the Chinese invention of gunpowder became their own undoing. The point being is, the Chinese were far more advance than most of Europe up until that particular moment in time, which is one of the main reasons why they and Japan had isolated themselves for the longest period. To prevent external/foreign influences and because they felt that the rest of the world had little to offer them in terms of technological/cultural achievements etc. But things changed drastically when Europe began its global colonization of other cultures. Warfare and the use of weaponry alone is not what determines how advance a society is.

  • Fleurgals

    Great article is great

  • I’cia( ❤ My Falcons)

    Great article! Definitely learned some new things. These civilizations were so advanced!

  • ItsJoana!

    Im a decendant of the Olmec! These civilizations were really advanced! Too bad the Spanish came and ruined what they worked hard to create (their civilizations) :/. We would probably had more of their culture with us today! I really love learning about ancient civilizations! Especially the ones that came from Mexico, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and other parts of Europe 😀

    • FURRY LION

      chilanga???

    • Chester

      I know all that human sacrifice was just super!

      • hey

        im pretty sure that was just the aztecs

        • Gnar Digivolve To

          All of these civilizations sacrificed humans, though for the Olmecs, it’s more speculation than anything. Most likely the Olmecs did infant sacrifice, due to bones being found among other sacrificial offerings. However, no Olmec sacrificial tools have been found to date, nor does any art portray and scenes of human sacrifice.

        • Jensen Penrod

          Good article! It’s useful for me!

          Armin Cruz

      • Paloma

        I dont think the human sacrifice was super i dont think this because would u want to die i know i wouldnt

      • Nita

        that is not all they did…

        and you act as if Europeans never killed anyone.
        They beheaded and hung people for petty crimes,
        and its shown that these ancient civilizations would have similar reasons for their persecutions or sacrifices.

        but europeans also killed people if they had red hair or if they thought they may be a witch.

        Also human sacrifices were not as popular as history books suggest.
        The aztecs were the most violent but many of the other native groups did avoid them and had just stayed on their own.

        • Billy King

          Executing someone for “Crimes” is a far cry from human sacrifice….and spinning words like “you act as if Europeans never killed anyone” is childish. Also…when you have 5 seconds to spare…please tell us all you know about how terribly wrong the history books are. SMH.

          • Nita

            you dont get it…
            they would sacrifice humans, yess, but the humans that did crimes so its similar to execution but difference is the natives would use the excuse “he did a crime so we will offer him to the gods” instead of just execute him they made it a ceremony/sacrifice.
            & yes some native groups offered anyone without that excuse but that isnt as common as a lot of people think.

            and there were and are thousands of different native groups around all of america(the continent) and not all of them did human sacrifice. i think if more people actually read about history and not just about the few native groups who did human sacrifice they’d all know how wrong it is to assume all native groups were like this. history books arent exactly wrong, they just leave out things and u cant really say you learned a lot about native/native culture from your history book… you’d have to talk to an anthropologist or take a special class to learn the extra stuff.

            Also, explain to me how “you act as if Europeans never killed anyone” childish? because they committed mass genocide and we gonna knock that off history now? and its known to all that they killed hundred of their own people just for being a little bit different or weird. I’m saying natives aren’t as “savage” as history likes to pretend. especially in comparison to other groups.

            people need to read more on their history

          • Nita

            where did i say history books were terribly wrong btw?
            can you actually read the whole sentence and not jump to a thousand different assumptions?

            I said History books SUGGESTED and they do because they dont talk about all the other natives. Most people only know about aztecs and mayans when talking about mexico but there are hundreds more.. and still are.
            So since history books don’t teach on the other groups people jump to assumptions (like u just did) that ” all natives are savages and murderers! they kill for fun!” which wasnt true throughout the board…

            yes some but not all.

      • how much exactly? you seem to know.

    • Hadeskabir

      “Especially the ones that came from Mexico, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and other parts of Europe :D” Wait what? I think you are confused, Those places aren’t in Europe.

      • ItsJoana!

        I meant and some parts in Europe :/

    • Jarl Balgruff

      Spanish logic: lets burn all their gold instead of using them and bringing them home
      facepalm

      • Sophia X

        It’s european logic, burn all evidence that other people (non european race) can be smart and build very advanced civilization before the white people can teach them!!! and for egyptian because they can’t hide the pyramids or pretend it’s white people engineer that made them, they try to imply that they were built by aliens!!! 😀

        • Americana

          I’m hearing all this talk of how great these civilizations are: from what I read and evidence shown; there were some good farming and planting going on with these civilizations – BUT they were doing human sacrifices in huge numbers (ALOT)……even having hunters going out to get alot of humans and bringing them back to be sacrificed…………it seems to me, if they were so civil and have a sense of ‘progress’ and or life enhancement; they would have stopped this action realizing it was wrong; but it took the Spanish and their Christian/Catholic religion to make them stop eventually. Today, in Mexico you have drug lords killing and getting money for their savagery and the people don’t stand together and wipe this out; they go illegally into the US and get free stuff. Wow! C’mon.

          • Sneakyjesi

            This is a super ignorant comment, based on no attempt at understanding a culture outside of a western belief system. Talk about ethnocentrism to the max….

          • LOL

            Yea, how dare they condemn the kidnapping, and sacrificial offering of living beings. IT WUZ A DIFERN TIMEZZ!!11!!!

            Funny that I never hear this excuse when it comes to whites burning their own kind during the middle ages. You will never see a historian defending terrible acts committed by Europeans as a lack of understanding of European culture. Or do you just expect more out of Europeans?? (Which is soft bigotry) Look, the world isn’t black and white, we can recognize barbaric behavior for what it is and condemn it without having some burning hate for them.

          • Sneakyjesi

            You seem to have a read into my comment more than I suggested. All I said was that the comment seemed ethnocentric. I said nothing about defending sacrificial killings lol. I didn’t even MENTION sacrificial killings. But to say an entire civilization is not “civil” because they killed people is pretty dumb. Every culture kills not only each-other but other neighboring ‘tribes/cities’, you even mentioned that.

            They had lots of advances in technology, math, and language that make them a “civilized culture”. Definition of civilized: Human development, advancement (IE inventing mathematical concepts, star charts, religion), progress (building infrastructure for a town, or developing a language), enlightenment, culture… etc.
            OR
            the society, culture, and way of life of a particular area.

            Christians also didn’t just “condemn” the Aztecs of that era, they slaughtered them and wiped them and about 90% of their written language. lol Generally, looked down upon by historians, as you like to mention… I have no hate for this part of history, it’s just history, but to evaluate an entire culture on western beliefs (white is right lol) without understanding the culture is .. ethnocentric. That’s not really an insult, just calling it what it is (I’ll let you look up that definition)…

            I have a feeling you don’t want to hear this though, so please, carry on with your snarky remarks. I’m signing off this thread. 🙂

          • LOL

            The comment you relied to was almost exclusively referring to human sacrifice. You stated, and I quote “This is a super ignorant comment, based on no attempt at understanding a culture outside of a western belief system.” What else could you even refer to? How drug lords are brutal? How the people can’t stand together? Neither of those have anything to do with their culture, but human sacrifice sure does. So you are either back tracking hard, or you didn’t read the original comment.

            Second paragraph has nothing to do with my original comment so I’m just going to dismiss it.

            Yes, I know Christians treated a lot of people like dirt, but I was referring to historians looking back at the actions of our ancestors, not what the people at the time did to rival civilizations.

            There are practices certain cultures participate in that are objectively bad – preforming a vivisection without anesthesia would be one of them. Just as burning someone alive is objectively bad, no matter what kind of historic or cultural lens you see it through.

            Err… okay… sorry..?

    • John

      Olmecs were long gone before Spain was even thought of. Put it this way. the Olmecs died out before Jesus fucking christ walked the earth.
      It was gone before Julius fucking Caesar.
      the olmecs died out around the same time the battle of Thermopylae happened. well about 80 years later.

    • gbigsangle

      All human civilizations, cities, countrys and settlements are destroyed. War is integral to being a homo sapien. Worse? Humans love to kill things…especially fetuses.

  • KcMPDX

    Love this piece! I hate it when I hear the beginning of a ramble on how the spanish killed all the mayans. I mean, I get the argument forthcoming but at least get yo’ facts straight, right?

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  • Peg Morin-Vilhauer

    A review of Exodus Lost…
    I’ve recently seen the title of Stephen Compton’s 2nd book which will soon be published, called Apocalypse Past.
    I wish they would throw out those god-awful history books that I read in High School. Put some fresh air in the story of humanity with the current scientific facts from Archeology and Geology, as uncovered and discovered with help from many new technologies in such sciences as Meteorology (historic weather), landmarks, knowledge of obscure cultures, language and artifacts, and written accounts of ancient history, whose story was only begun in biblical deserts. Give them Exodus Lost instead. This will change just about everything you thought you knew about the Mayans, the Aztecs, and the Olmecs, the history of Egypt and the people’s of the old testament. Absolutely a delightful and fascinating read!

  • Sophia X

    nice article, but still didn’t entirely showed me the differences,it’s mainly about which civilization came first! I do know about where the Inca established and where the Mayan were (although I read before that the Olmec were the older, and they were the ancestors of Aztec and Mayan!!) anyway I wanted to see the differences in their architect, clothing, religions, society … I know I can do a multi-research on the net, but I wish I can find an already existing comparison 🙂

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  • Ac C Cl

    You guys really dont know every civilizations was of Dark Cooper skin, MELANIN people, with melanocytes. Roman and Greeks come into civilizations and tell lies, they steal what they were taught and use it for treason. Ase’

    • Nita

      these are statues. this is like saying the people of easter island must have been grey because the easter island heads were grey. Also that olmec head u have there is a false representation … many of the statues or olmec heads were just a dark grey. They didn’t think of bleaching them.

      A;so copper skin(skin with a red tint) is common among natives, and still is today, its not really seen in other races.

      asians are able to tan and get really dark by the way. Japanese, chinese and koreans but skincare and being light is important to them so that is why u see many japanese/chinese/koreans with light skin but they can get dark if they wanted to. but again the statue doesn’t really say much because many pictures/drawings of ancient chinese etc. displayed very light skinned asians.
      .

  • Luhter

    The power of iron.
    They had very advanced civilizations, yet the lack of iron working made them easy to conquer. I wonder if they would’ve discovered how to work the iron, how the world would look like

    • Nita

      there was/is a native group known as the purepecha that learned how to make metal. The aztecs were not able to conquer them because they had this defense(metal) and so today’s michoacan was purepecha land, the aztecs didn’t get it but the purepecha kept to themselves and just remained there.

      They are not so famous but maybe that is because they stayed away from the other native groups. Many still do have this ancestry in michoacan, mexico, not all our full blood but they still exist.

  • I apologize for being abrupt but the Olmec civilization is older and predates Maya the Olmec is older then them both the Mayan, Incan, and Aztec civilizations. I draw my conclusion from Dr. Ivan Van Sertima’s work in his book titled “They Came Before Columbus”

    • Nita

      Olmecs weren’t african. Its become a common misconception because of the olmec head figures, someone saw it and thought they looked african so now these theories went around based solely on that.

      Olmecs had big lips, somewhat slanted eyes (like asian ancestry that most natives have) broad jaws and wide/flat noses. But these are all features that specific natives do/can have and you can even see these features in many asians today as well, It is not something only seen among black people. Because the statues were made out of dark stone people again jumped to these assumptions but many pictures drawn by them showed otherwise.

      iIf u look at modern day natives they do have these features but do not have african ancestry. specifically olmecs and their skin is more a copper(brown/red tint)

      so now all these theories are going around just based on those olmec heads, but there is no actual evidence to support this theory.

  • Nita

    The article kind of makes it sound like these native groups are completely dead but there are still many people living today that are full blood Mayan or Aztec or even Olmec or many are now mixed with these different native groups and there are plenty more native groups still living around south america, central america and mexico today. They are just more modern and so people don’t seem to connect it and assume that they have all been wiped out. They don’t connect, Mexicans with native even though that is many Mexicans ancestry(and of course there are some that lean more on European). Its why they look the way they do and it’s why there is so many different and distinct native features around the different states of Mexico.

    There are just a lot of “mestizos” but that doesn’t mean their native side doesn’t exist.

    Maybe the Mayan writing system is not used but people still do speak Mayan and they use the latin alphabet (ABCs) and there are communities where people only speak Mayan, people who grew up only knowing how to communicate through a Mayan language (there is more than one and they are not interchangeable).

    These people are still living, they just do not own an empire anymore and were not the ones who got to write history.

  • ymarsakar

    Nephites, Lamanites, and Egyptian/Jews. The patterns of what people don’t know that they don’t know. The patterns do fit via open source analysis.

  • Terry Saxon

    Sochi meaninjg?

  • moron, hope you learned by now.

  • Julian Petkov

    The Olmec, Mayan, Incan, and Aztec civilizations are some of the greatest ancient civilizations in history, …in modern-day Mexico, …in modern-day Mexico, …(((in modern-day Mexico))). And they are (((victims))) already! Nice fraud by the Spanish Elites. The French still hold the title for the Biggest Fraud with “Giza”, though.

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  • orange70383 .

    Look at the extensive canal system in south florida, 40′ wide 8~9′ deep stretching all over the state. Most are still visible and many are now well underwater but nice harbors were made and all laid out with precision. The accepted story is the native indians built them a few hundred years ago using sticks and shells for scooping, I don’t believe that for a minute. There was an advanced culture stretching across north, central and south america.