Teotihuacan Economy: The 4 Pillars on Which It Is Supported

The Teotihuacan economy Is one of the greatest examples of economy in the world. This city is known in history for its greatness and commerce.

When one speaks of the pre-Hispanic cultures, one immediately goes back to cities with pyramids and rudimentary natives, but this is not the case of Teotihuacán.

A woman sells souvenirs at one of the archaeological sites of Teotihuacan.  Tourism is one of the livelihoods of the Teotihuacan economy.

Leaving aside their customs of clothing, the fact that the city was one of the largest settlements with more than 125,000 inhabitants, allows us to understand that its economy was a crucial aspect for its survival.

Pillars of the Teotihuacan economy

As in all civilizations, the economy was based on the exploitation of natural resources Of the area.

It is worth mentioning that, because of its location, Teotihuacan was a settlement rich in trade and subsistence products, as well as being close to bodies of water that allowed it a stable trade flow and variety in the products it offered.

The economic foundations on which this civilization flourished were agriculture, hunting and animal husbandry, exploitation of natural resources and trade.

1- Agriculture

The flourishing of culture and its survival were mainly due to agriculture, since most of the food obtained was intended to meet the needs of all inhabitants.

As mentioned earlier, the number amounted to more than 120,000, in addition to merchants and travelers who visited the barter market.

The amount of food provided by the crops allowed even the poor sectors of society to survive. In addition to having enough to feed themselves and sell the rest, Teotihuacans also"exported"products to other civilizations with less agricultural resources.

One of the most characteristic features of this civilization is undoubtedly the use of" Chinampas ", Barges covered with soil that allowed them to sow even in marshy areas.

It is widely believed that this type of agricultural technique had a strong influence on its economic development, because it was possible to harvest products that were difficult to harvest all year round because of the abundance of muddy areas or bodies of water in the region. Find in other areas.

2- Hunting and animal husbandry

To complete the feeding, Teotihuacans hunted soft-meat animals, such as deer, rabbit and birds. Also they were dedicated to the domestication and animal breeding, the most common was the turkey and, the most expensive and exquisite, was the dog Xoloitzcuintle .

Feeding was not the only benefit of hunting or breeding, there was also the fur trade. These increased in value according to the treatments with which they were cured, which made that the market of skins had products accessible for all the budgets. This was one more of the advantages that favored the influx of commerce in the city.

3- Exploitation of natural resources

This culture is characterized by its close relationship with the work of the obsidian , A very abundant and resistant mineral that allowed them to create arms and to carve sculptures, besides taking advantage of the clay of the ground, which allowed the creation of the lining of the pyramids and its later adornment with paintings characteristic of this zone.

Although it may be believed that the creation of obsidian sculptures and utensils was somewhat transcendental, the reality is that it was a cornerstone in cultures. The Polytheistic religion Predominantly allowed a constant demand of gods and figurines, as much for veneration as for rituals.

This had an invaluable impact on the economic development of Teotihuacan. The Teotihuacans were the sole"owners"of the obsidian monopoly, so any civilization, small or large, should negotiate with them for the precious material.

Due to the law of supply and demand, this gave them immense power in negotiations of the few products they did not produce or exploit.

4- Trade

As the largest trade center of Mesoamerica , Teotihuacán received vendors of distant places, such as the north of the present Mexico or even of Guatemala. The number of exchanges that took place in a day in the market was comparable to the one of civilizations that we know for its greatness and diversity, to mention one, Rome.

Many of the clay sculptures and pieces of obsidian found in northern Mexico or South America are easily traceable to the civilization that inhabited Teotihuacan. This suggests the influence that their market and trade had on the surrounding cultures.

For all of the above, understanding how a culture that did not have the transport and technology resources that exist today could have such a boom and apogee, will allow to know how the first markets, commercial institutions, currency and transactions originated.

Teotihuacán was a meeting center for commerce. With multicultural roots, many of the families of artisans who inhabited it were native to lands as far away as Guatemala, and it was a central point of Mesoamerica that most of the routes crossed.

At present, a thriving economy has several factors that allow it to be sustainable, such as the easy acquisition and exploitation of natural resources, trade routes diversity and export of products, as well as the demand for them. Teotihuacan had them all.

In addition to the above, it is worth mentioning its social structure, as part of its economy was due to the belief that it was heavily influenced by the sorcerers who performed ceremonial rituals.

As a result, there were gifts or taxes that kept the social classes high, which is a sign of considerable economic management in a population of more than 120,000.


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