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the Toltecs, artisans, scholars, priests and fearsome warriors

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Kara Sundstrom
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« on: April 24, 2010, 08:53:33 pm »

Possible evidence of contacts between the Toltec culture and the native peoples of North America

The Toltecs were confirmed land-lubbers.  It is unlikely that Toltec trading or military expeditions reached the Southeastern United States, but possibly, some expeditions may have followed the shores of the Gulf of Mexico into the Mississippi River Basin, or penetrated far enough into what is now the Southwestern United States to reach the Anasazi in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.  However, as mentioned in the article on the Putan Maya, the Yokat’an towns and merchants in what is now southern Vera Cruz State, were greatly influenced by the Toltecs, to the point that their language essentially became a dialect which mixed Nahuatl, Zoque and Maya.  Vera Cruz Putun ships were quite capable of reaching the mouth of the Mississippi River, and are documented to have regularly traded with the Huastec occupants of Tamaulipas on the southern side of the Rio Grande River.

It is quite common for text books to describe a vast no-man’s land in southern Texas, where no maize, beans or squash were grown.  However, this was no real barrier to the Chontal merchants, since they typically traveled by boat when possible. With good winds, a Putun sea craft with oarsmen and a sail could have traveled from the Huastec towns in Tamaulipas to the southern boundary of “Mississippian Culture” in about two days.

An archaeological conference at Harvard University in 1947 decided that advanced indigenous cultures in the Southeast was an offshoot of the first advanced cultures in the Mississippi River Basin, just north of the Mason-Dixon Line. All advanced indigenous cultures in both regions were then labeled “Mississippian Cultures.”  However, as earlier articles in this series pointed out, the earliest societies to show “all Mississippian cultural traits” were in southern Florida near Lake Okeechobee – and about 300 years earlier than when they appeared near the conjuncture of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.
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