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Tabasco and Chiapas

The southern end of Vera Cruz and all of Tabasco in Mexico are not significantly different in appearance than southeastern Georgia.  Most of the region is level and humid, with many swamps and natural lakes. The coast of Tabasco is lined with tidal marshes almost identical to those of the coast of Georgia.  Although most of the indigenous inhabitants of Tabasco are called Mayas, most are descended from ethnic groups that were not true Mayas, but absorbed varying degrees of Maya culture.  One group, the Tamauli were originally refugees from Tamaulipas State in the northeastern corner of Mexico. This is the land in which the Olmec Civilization rose.  After all the major centers of this culture were abandoned around 400 BC, the population density declined and most people lived in relatively small agricultural or fishing villages. In most regions, however, agriculture productivity and diversity continued to increase.  These villages would have appeared little different than those “Mississippian” societies in the Southeast that did not build large mounds. The people of Tabasco were apparently illiterate during this era and mainly produced utilitarian items. Villages were established on islands in the Tabasco tidal marshes.  Their occupants both farmed and fished. The Marsh People towns contained no stone structures. Their temples and houses of the elite were placed on earthen mounds, identical in appearance to those of the Muskogeans in the Southeastern United States.  The ball courts of the Marsh People were horseshoe shaped earthworks, which were very similar to structures found in Swift Creek Culture towns in the Southeast, an later in Creek towns, up to the late 1700s. Through the...

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