Toltec Culture

Toltec history

In the middle of the 8th century, the Toltec people established themselves on the Teotihuacan territory, located in Mexico’s central zone, north of Texcoco lake. Though they were mostly warriors, their cultural legacy and their school of thought linger to the present day, and provided their profound wisdom based on precepts that all humankind must follow, in their search for becoming better and finding happiness. 

Toltec Civilization

The Toltecs founded the city of Tula on the current territory of Hidalgo state. The city was made up of a huge square, two courts for practicing ball game, a large number of temples, and pyramid structures. It is said that the population of Tula reached 30 thousand inhabitants, who gradually started abandoning military activities, to carry out more philosophic labors or those related to arts, such as pottery or working with metals and textile products. However, there is evidence that their greatest cultural achievement can be found in the stone sculptures, which ornament the majestic city of Tula to date.

As part of their livelihood, the Toltecs grew several products, such as corn, beans, chili peppers, amaranth, and cotton. Part of their success in their agriculture activity was thanks to a canal irrigation system, which allowed them to distribute water in a very efficient way.

Toltec-Chichimeca History

Seven Chichimec peoples, who were part of the nomadic tribes of the northern part of Mexico, were guided by the Toltecs, with the purpose of gaining land and power. Among these peoples were the Toltec-Chichimecs, who settled in a small city of Otomi origin in the state of Hidalgo, which would become their capital under the name of Tollan, a Nahuatl term meaning “among reeds and rushes”.

Twenty peoples made up the city of Tollan, though the mainly Toltec government was shared most of all with the Nonoalcas until due to conflicts with the Toltec people, they had to leave the city and go south, in order to settle on the current territory of Tehuacan, Puebla finally.

A little more than a decade later, guided by their priest Couenan and four more leaders, the Toltecs began a long migration of approximately 36 years, until they managed to settle in Chalchiuhtepec, a city of great importance due to its commercial activity, which in later turned into one of the main ceremonial centers in Mesoamerica.

Upon their arrival, the Toltecs named this city Cholollan Tlachiualtépetl, which means “the place of waterfalls and the handmade mountain”, referring to the Great Pyramid they found. Their priest guided them to this place because previously he visited the Temple of Quetzalcoatl to do penance, and discovered the greatness and potentiality of that territory.

For some time, the Toltecs mingled with the Olmeca-Xicalanca people, inhabitants of this zone, but as they remained at a disadvantage, some years later they tried to take the city, however, they were subdued by the allied peoples. 

After being defeated, the Toltecs went looking for the support of the other Chichimeca peoples, promising to reward them with land and government. Strengthened by the seven Chichimeca peoples, the Toltecs came back to the Cholollan Tlachiultepetl territory to finally conquer the Olmeca-Xicalanca allies.

After the conquest, the Toltecs proclaimed themselves rulers of the city, and afterward, they honored their promises of land and gifts to the different Chichimeca peoples.

The Toltecs’ time of plenitude continued for more than 200 years, during which they conquered other peoples in the area. Sometime later, certain conflicts of interest took place between the Chichimeca peoples, thus in the 15th century, with the objective of taking a Mixteca-Popolaca leader to rule Cuauhtinchan, the Pinomes asked for Tlatelolco’s help.

After achieving their goal, the Mixteca-Popolaca government remained as rulers for more than 40 years, until a conflict with Tepeyacac began, facilitating the arrival of the Mexica warriors, who easily achieved victory and distributed the Cuauhtinchan, dividing them into zones: Cuauhtinchan, Tepeaca, Tecalli, Tecamachalco, and Quechollac.

Some years later, in the 16th century, the Spaniards arrived at Cholollan, and after making an alliance with the Tlaxcaltecas, they invaded and destroyed this one and many other cities. The land conflicts remained for several years, but in 1532 and 1547, the peoples from Totomihuacan and Tepeaca were forced to give back the lands of Cuauhtinchan.

Everything About the Toltecs

If you are a history enthusiast and would like to know more about the Toltecs’ wisdom, in this space you will find several topics of interest to complement all this information. Additionally, a very attractive option is discovering firsthand the archeological vestiges of the Mesoamerican cultures offered in a wide range of tours. In order to visit all those places filled with culture and history, we recommend that you stay at an all-inclusive hotel in Cancun, which will allow you to explore Mexico’s magical past.

About the Author
Nací en la Ciudad de México, pero actualmente vivo en el hermoso destino turístico de Cancún, en donde he tenido la oportunidad de conocer fantásticos parajes llenos de historia y tradición. Mi pasión es escribir y compartir con el mundo un poco de las vivencias que puedes experimentar al recorrer los incomparables paisajes de este país. ¿Te unes al viaje?

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