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The synchroneity of horizon unifications and alternating regionalizations in Mesoamerica and the Andean region is striking and prompts the question of communication between these two areas of pre-Columbian high civilization.Although it is known that there were contacts—with the result that knowledge of food plants, ceramics, and metallurgy was shared between the two areas—it is also highly unlikely that political or religious ideologies were so spread.
Sedentary village farming in Mesoamerica came into being by about 1500 .
Corn (maize), beans, squashes, chili peppers, and cotton were the most important crops.
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).
This Olmec horizon (i.e., a cultural diffusion that is contemporaneous at widely scattered sites) represents the first climax, or era of “unification,” in the history of Mesoamerican civilization. Among these are the well-known Maya, Zapotec, Totonac, and Teotihuacán civilizations.
While sharing a common Olmec heritage, they also displayed many differences.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.By 1533, when Francisco Pizarro and his cohorts took over the empire, it extended from what is now the Ecuador–Colombia border to central Chile.Among these competitors were the Toltecs of Tula, in central Mexico, who held sway from perhaps 900 to 1200 (the Early Postclassic Period).