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Among these competitors were the Toltecs of Tula, in central Mexico, who held sway from perhaps 900 to 1200 (the Early Postclassic Period).After their decline (in the Late Postclassic Period), another interregnum of warring states lasted until 1428, when the Aztec defeated the rival city of Azcapotzalco and emerged as the dominant force in central Mexico.The oldest primary food crops there were the lima bean and the potato, which had long histories of domestication in the area, although corn appeared soon after the beginnings of settled village life.Indications of a more complex sociopolitical order—huge platform mounds and densely populated centres—occurred very soon after this (); however, these early Andean civilizations continued for almost a millennium before they participated in a shared stylistic “unification.” This has become known as the Chavín horizon, and Chavín sculptural art has been found throughout the northern part of the area. This period of regionalization (called the Early Intermediate Period) saw the florescence of a number of large kingdoms both on the Pacific coast and in the Andean highlands; among them were the Moche, Early Lima, Nazca, Recuay, and Early Huari horizon (Middle Horizon; 600–1000), which was generated from the highland cities of Tiwanaku (in modern northern Bolivia) and Huari (in central highland Peru).These early villagers wove cloth, made pottery, and practiced other typical Neolithic skills.It appears that such villages were economically self-contained and politically autonomous, with an egalitarian social order.
These changes first appeared in the southern Gulf coast region of what is now Mexico; and the sculptures, rendered in a style now called Olmec, are presumed to depict chiefs or rulers.
For example, the Maya excelled in the intellectual pursuits of hieroglyphic writing, calendar making, and mathematics, while the Teotihuacán civilization placed its emphasis on political and commercial power.
Teotihuacán, in the Valley of Mexico, was an urban centre of some 150,000 people, and the influence of its civilization eventually radiated over much of Mesoamerica.
These agricultural beginnings go back several millennia, to perhaps about 7000 and the first experimentations by the early Americans with plant cultivation.
The domestication of successful food plants proved to be a long, slow process, and it was not until much later that a condition of permanent village farming life was achieved in the tropical latitudes of the two continents.
The terminal date of the Late Intermediate Period marked the beginning of the Inca horizon and of the Inca conquests, which spread from the Inca capital, Cuzco, in the southern highlands of what is now Peru.