1. Education
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Toltec Civilization


Totally Toltec - Toltec Architecture at Chichen Itza

Totally Toltec - Toltec Architecture at Chichen Itza

Jim Gateley (c) 2006
Definition: The Toltec Civilization was one of three great empires of the Basin of Mexico, after the fall of Teotihuacan and before the rise of the Aztecs. The capital was at Tula, and during the Toltec heyday (about AD 900-1200), Tula controlled most of central Mexico, the Yucatan peninsula, the Gulf coast, and perhaps even Chiapas and the Pacific coast as well.

The Toltec established trade connections with people as far away as what is now the Mexican states of Zacatecas, Veracruz, and Puebla; the US states of New Mexico and Arizona; Costa Rica and Guatemala. The power of the Tula dynasties rang through all of Mesoamerica into the Aztec empire.


Smith, Michael E. and Lisa Montiel 2001 The archaeological study of empires and imperialism in pre-hispanic central Mexico. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 20(3):245-284.

Healan, Dan M. Toltec. 2001. pp. 759-763 in Archaeology of Ancient Mexico and Central America: An Encyclopedia. Susan Toby Evans and David L. Webster, eds. Garland.

For more information on Toltec architecture, see the Walking Tour of Chichén Itzá.

This glossary entry is part of the Dictionary of Archaeology.

Important Toltec sites include Tula and Chichén Itzá

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.