Eighth Century : The Americas


In the 8th century, most of the highlands and coastal valley oases of Peru became incorporated, apparently through military conquest, into the Huari empire—so named after its capital city, located near present-day Ayacucho. At its peak, which lasted through the second half of the century, Huari’s domain extended from modern Cajamarca and Trujillo southward beyond Cuzco and to the vicinity of Mollendo. Although the Huari state disintegrated from unknown causes at the end of the century, its expansion was the first definite central Andean antecedent for the Inca pattern of conquest several centuries later. To the south of Huari’s domain, a political entity not so well defined extended over what are now northwestern Bolivia, the southernmost provinces of Peru, and into northern Chile. its capital, Tiahuanaco, was located near the southern shore of Lake Titicaca.

In southern Mexico and northern Central America, the 8th century saw the culmination of the classic Mayan civilization. The impressive monuments at Palenque (southern Mexico), Tikal (northern Guatemala), Copân (western Honduras), and many other sites were built, carved, or painted during this period. To the north, in central Mexico, the vacuum left by the collapse of the old metropolis at Teotihuacân was filled by Cholollan (Cnolula) and Xochicalco, while Tajin flourished in the tropical lowlands of northern Veracruz. Ali over the Mexican-Mayan sphere of civilization this was a period of height-ened creativity in the arts.

About 700 the Temple Mound tradition was crystallizing somewhere within the middle and lower Mississippi Valley or the Caddo area of the Red River basin. It is assumed that Mexican influences stimulated this cultural development, but neither their precise character nor the mode of transmission has been ascertained.

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