A mysterious Mesoamerican people called the Toltec rose from their obscure origin to prominence after the fall of the central Mexican city of Teotihuacan around 650 AD. It is possible that the Toltecs descended from the Chichimecas, a nomadic Nahua people who came from the north, as well as the Nonoalcas who were remnants of the Teotihuacan population that migrated north when the city fell. These people switched from a nomadic lifestyle to a sedentary one around 650 AD. Tula, the Toltec capital that was also known as Tollan (Palace of the Reeds), was nothing more than a tiny village at that time. The Toltec’s capitol in Tula was overthrown during 1170 according to the Bible Timeline with World History.
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The population of Tula grew as the years passed, and the city was home to around 30,000 inhabitants at its peak. Its influence reached from the southwestern frontier of the present-day United States and into the city of Chichen Itza in the Yucatan Peninsula. They folded into their empire the neighboring nomadic tribes which added troops to the Toltec military and allowed them to become a Mesoamerican military power during the ninth century. What pushed the Toltecs to conquer the neighboring tribes was their veneration of the Mesoamerican god of war and strife, Tezcatlipoca (Smoking Mirrors), who required periodic human sacrifice to be pacified. Traces of the ruthlessness of the Toltecs were found in the Maya city of Chichen Itza where they erected a tzompantli (skull rack) and the Chac Mool (Toltec reclining figure with hollowed center where the heart of a captive was placed) after they subdued the Maya residents.
After a period of expansion, the Toltecs mysteriously disappeared when they abandoned the magnificent city of Tula. The city itself had declined by the end of the eleventh century, and Toltecs migrated to other areas. Archeological evidence recovered from the site showed that the Toltecs left the city because of a combination of internal strife and external threats. The twelfth century ushered in a drastic climate change that resulted in widespread droughts. The city also showed signs of a violent end, such as fire and destruction, that perhaps contributed to its collapse by 1100 AD. The Toltecs reached a near-mythical status in the years that followed. They were later venerated by the Mixeca or Aztecs as their ancestors.
Picture By w:en:User:Makeyourself – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Pir%C3%A1mide_tula.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Guadalupe, Mastache De Escobar Alba, Robert H. Cobean, and Dan M. Healan. Ancient Tollan: Tula and the Toltec Heartland. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado, 2002.
Werner, Michael S. Concise Encyclopedia of Mexico. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001.
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