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Huastec Builders of El Tajin Create Fresh Water Canals for Irrigation Near the Sea

The pre-Columbian Huastec civilization flourished near the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in what is now the state of Veracruz. It is not as popular as other Mesoamerican civilizations, but it is no less as intriguing as the Olmec, Maya, Zapotec, Aztec, and other Mesoamerican civilizations. The Huastec cities shared many traits with other civilizations which include the construction of pyramids, ball courts, plazas, not to mention canal systems that allowed the people to improve the cultivation of food in a tropical environment. This is recorded on the Bible Timeline with World History starting around 325 AD.

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“El Tajin”

One of the major cities of the Huastec civilization was El Tajin with a sizable population at its peak. To support the needs of the people who lived in or near the city, the surrounding areas were used for the cultivation of Mesoamerican food staples such as maize, squash, and beans. Elevated canals were constructed to divert fresh water and irrigate the raised fields as shown by the canal systems located in areas under the control of El Tajin.

Santa Luisa in Veracruz was one of the food production centers which supplied these staple foods to the people of El Tajin. With the construction of canal systems and catchment terraces on the hills. The Huastec also used the canals to distribute surface run-off from flooded areas to irrigate their fields.

CC BY-SA 2.0,
Doolittle, William Emery. Canal Irrigation in Prehistoric Mexico: The Sequence of Technological Change. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990
Faust, Katherine A., and Kim N. Richter. The Huasteca: Culture, History, and Interregional Exchange. University of Oklahoma Press, 2015
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