Olmec Civilization and its History - Essay Example

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The reporter states that the accuracy of ancient civilization has been a concern for the history students across the world. Initially, it was thought that the study of civilization would be a simple history, but the current research has led to the finding of more evidence especially disputing the ideology presented by Columbus…
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Olmec Civilization and its History
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Olmec Civilization
The accuracy of ancient civilization has been a concern for the history students across the world. Initially, it was thought that the study of civilization would be a simple history, but the current research has led to finding of more evidence especially disputing the ideology presented by Columbus. New evidences have emerged on early human habitation in America. From this context, the Olmec are considered as the first civilization in the Americans (Diehl 88). However, they are not considered as the first people. It is estimated that they arrived but were not known until around 8,000 to 4,000 B.C. The culture of the people is believed to be ended around 400 BC. The Olmec inhabited southern Mexico and were regarded as the mother culture of the Americas. Their technology and culture influenced the preceding culture and technology. Sertima support for the Olmec illustrates the belief that they came before Columbus and should be considered as part of the ancient civilization of the Americas.
In his book They Came before Columbus, Sertima argues that the Olmec were the first face of civilization and influenced the technology and culture of America. The argument is holds water as presented in the Olmec brand of pre-Columbian contact theory. The major claim presented by Sertima is the existence of African origin in the Mesoamerican culture in the western hemisphere. The theory asserts that the influence of the American culture in the Mesoamerican culture was massive and should be considered in the study of the ancient civilization, which is becoming a complex process. He further added that the Kings of the 25th dynasty of Egypt were Nubians (Diehl 82). This theory led to increase need to research on the clarity and accuracy of the theory with further finding supporting and some discrediting the theory developed by Sertima. The name Olmec means the rubber people in the Nahuatl language. Aztec is the name of the people who inhabited the area because they extracted latex from rubber treas.
However; the name was used mistakenly by the Europeans by assigning the name to ancient ruins found in the region. The ruing found was not of the Aztec civilization, but date before the civilization. The name also refers to the ancient ball game developed by the Olmec and considered the Olmec creation. The name used by the Olmec includes Xi which is similar to the Chinese names. The evidence of Olmec existence in America led to questions on their origin and argument arose. It was first thought that they originated from West Africa, but further evidences deduce that they were remnants from the Xia dynasty of China (Demarest 62). However, Sertima’s theory supports that they were Africans by relating their culture with the African civilization and culture.
Like many other ancients, Olmec had a highly advanced culture which included writing, mathematics and a calendar system which illustrates advancement in technology. Despite the existence of conflicting evidence, Sertima argues that the Olmec may not be Chinese because of the distance and the color of the artifacts discovered in the ruins. Therefore, he states that African constituted the larger faction of the Olmec population. Despite sharing name with Chinese, the Olmec exhibited diverse range of traits and culture (Graham 14). However, the argument presented by Sertima can be countered by the new evidences obtained to ascertain the truth about the Olmec civilization.
Works Cited
Demarest, Arthur. Ancient Maya: The Rise and Fall of a Rainforest Civilization. Washington DC: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Print.
Diehl, Richard A. The Olmecs: America's First Civilization. New York: Thames & Hudson, Limited, 2005. Print.
Graham, James. "Samuel P. Huntington's Clash of Civilizations." May 2004. HistoryOrb. 13 November 2012. . Read More
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