Mesoamerica Timeline


  • 7000 BCE - 2000 BCE
    The Archaic Period in Mesoamerica during which hunter-gatherer culture moved toward agriculture.
  • c. 2700 BCE
    Corn is first cultivated in Mesoamerica.
  • c. 1200 BCE
    San Lorenzo becomes the great ceremonial centre of the Olmec civilization.
  • c. 1200 BCE - c. 400 BCE
    The Olmec civilization flourishes in Mesoamerica.
  • 1200 BCE - 300 BCE
    The Olmec Period which saw the rise of the Olmec culture's work in stone, first major cities appear.
  • c. 1200 BCE
    The Olmec civilization springs from the grouping of ancient villages along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
  • 950 BCE - 1400 BCE
    Evidence of the surgical procedure of trephination found in Mesoamerica.
  • c. 900 BCE
    The centre of San Lorenzo is detroyed and monuments are defaced. La Venta becomes the Olmec capital.
  • 500 BCE - 900 CE
    The Zapotec Civilization flourishes in Mesoamerica.
  • 500 BCE - 450 BCE
    Monte Alban becomes the capital of the Zapotec in the Oaxaca Valley of Mexico.
  • c. 500 BCE
    Cuicuilco is at its peak in the Valley of Mexico and constructs a large circular temple pyramid.
  • c. 300 BCE - 400 BCE
    La Venta is destroyed, monuments are defaced and the Olmec civilization ends.
  • c. 300 BCE
    First recorded settlement at Tikal.
  • c. 50 BCE - c. 100 CE
    Cuicuilco in the Valley of Mexico is destroyed by a volcanic eruption.
  • c. 100 CE
    The Pyramid of the Sun is built at Teotihuacan.
  • 250 CE - 950 CE
    The Classic Maya Period which saw the height of the Maya Civilization in cities such as Chichen Itza, Palenque, Tikal, Copan and Uxmal.
  • c. 300 CE - 550 CE
    The city of Teotihuacan dominates Mesoamerica.
  • 426 CE - 437 CE
    Reign of the first named Copan ruler K'inich Yax K'uk Mo.
  • c. 600 CE
    Teotihuacan is deliberately destroyed by fire and abandoned.
  • c. 700 CE
    Xochicalco in the highlands of central Mexico is founded.
  • c. 800 CE
    The Pyramid of the Niches is completed at El Tajin.
  • 900 CE - 1100 CE
    El Tajin flourishes in northern Veracruz.
  • c. 900 CE - c. 1150 CE
    The Toltec civilization flourishes in Mesoamerica.
  • c. 900 CE
    Xochicalco in the highlands of central Mexico is abandoned.
  • 935 CE - 947 CE
    Ce Acatl Topiltzin the legendary leader of the Toltecs was born.
  • 1100 CE - 1200 CE
    The Valley of Mexico is first settled by migrating tribes (Chichimecs, Tepanecs, Mexica and Acolhua).
  • c. 1150 CE
    The Toltec capital of Tollan is systematically destroyed.
  • 1156 CE - 1168 CE
    The remaining Toltecs led by Huemac flee Tollan and re-settle at Chapultepec on the west banks of Lake Texcoco.
  • c. 1200 CE
    Tulum prospers as a trading centre under the influence of Mayapan.
  • c. 1345 CE - 1521 CE
    The Aztec civilization flourishes in Mesoamerica.
  • 1345 CE
    Traditional date for the founding of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan on Lake Texcoco.
  • 1350 CE - 1522 CE
    The Tarascan civilization flourishes in Mesoamerica.
  • 1418 CE
    Texcoco is temporarily conquered by Mexica and Tepanec forces.
  • 1428 CE
    The Triple Alliance is formed between Tenochtitlan, Texcoco and Tlacopan.
  • 1431 CE
    Netzahualcoyotl officially becomes tlatoani or leader of Texcoco.
  • 1469 CE - 1481 CE
    Axayacatl reigns as leader of the Aztec Empire.
  • 1486 CE - 1502 CE
    Ahuitzotl reigns as leader of the Aztec Empire.
  • 1502 CE - 1520 CE
    Motecuhzoma II reigns as leader of the Aztec Empire.
  • c. 1520 CE
    Ixtlilxochitl, with the support of Cortés, becomes king of Texcoco.
  • 13 Aug 1521 CE
    The Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan falls into the hands of Spanish forces led by Hernán Cortés.