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Teotihuacan Reaches Peak

The central Mexican city of Teotihuacan came a long way from a small settlement in the Valley of Mexico to a mega-city that rivaled Rome as well as the Han capitals of Chang’an and Luoyang. Teotihuacan reached its peak in 450 BC according to the Bible Timeline Poster with World History. At its height, it was one of the largest New World cities with a population that ranged anywhere between 75,000 and 200,000 people and encompassed an area of 20 to 30 sq km.

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Teotihuacan was a cosmopolitan city, often visited by pilgrims who worshiped at its famed ceremonial centers and merchants for trade. The rich soil of the Valley of Mexico allowed the people to cultivate crops that sustained the large population in the city and the villages that surrounded it; while obsidian, a volcanic glass used in rituals or weaponry was a precious commodity in the long-distance trade between Teotihuacan and other Mesoamerican cities.

The political, military, and trade influence of Teotihuacan at its peak spanned from the city to the Oaxaca highlands to the Maya lowland and highland regions in Mexico and Guatemala. Traces of Teotihuacan’s power were found in the city of Tikal located deep in the Guatemalan lowlands as well as the Maya highland city of Kaminaljuyu. It also influenced the Zapotec capital of Monte Alban. The Maya cities were probably controlled by Teotihuacan’s elite through the pochteca, long-distance traders who were sometimes deployed as spies for their wide knowledge about the cities they visited.

Werner, Michael S. Concise Encyclopedia of Mexico. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001.
Lewis, Barry. Cengage Advantage Books: Understanding Physical Anthropology and Archaeology. S.l.: Wadsworth, 2009.
Rice, Don Stephen. Latin American Horizons: A Symposium at Dumbarton Oaks, 11th and 12th October 1986. Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 1993.
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