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Mesoamerica, the area of Mexico and northern Central America, encompasses a diverse region that developed complex societies. The civilizations of ancient Mesoamerica include Olmec, Teotihuacan, Tula, Mixtec and Zapotec, Maya, and Aztec. While these civilizations differed from one another, they shared similar polytheistic belief systems that focused on veneration of the natural world. All Mesoamerican cultures recognized the vitality of the world around them and were animistic, believing that the earth and all of the elements of the natural world had spiritual power. They understood the world as having two important components: (1) the material world that humans live in and (2) the spiritual world. Unlike Western ways of thought, however, the two worlds were not separated; rather, they worked together symbiotically and were ...

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