Mesoamerica (Central/North America)

Mesoamerica (Central/North America)

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 20:57
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Mesoamerica, which literally means "middle America" in Greek, is a historical and cultural region in North America. It extends from approximately central Mexico through Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northern Costa Rica.

Mesoamerica, which literally means "middle America" in Greek, is a historical and cultural region in North America. It extends from approximately central Mexico through Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northern Costa Rica. Within this region pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Mesoamerica is recognized as a near-prototypical cultural area, and the term is now fully integrated in the standard terminology of pre-Columbian anthropological studies. As a cultural area, Mesoamerica is defined by a mosaic of cultural traits developed and shared by its indigenous cultures.

Located on the Middle American isthmus joining North and South America between approximately 10° and 22° northern latitude, Mesoamerica possesses a complex combination of ecological systems, topographic zones, and environmental contexts. A main distinction groups these different niches into two broad categories: the lowlands (those areas between sea level and 1000 m or 3,280 ft) and the altiplanos, or highlands (situated between 1,000 and 2,000 m or 3,280 and 6,560 ft above sea level).

The history of human occupation in Mesoamerica is divided into stages or periods. These are known, with slight variation depending on region, as the Paleo-Indian, the Archaic, the Preclassic (or Formative), the Classic, and the Postclassic.