This book describes the pre-Columbian cultures that developed in central and northern Mexico, from the fertile areas of the Oaxaca Valley and the Valley of Mexico to the great deserts of the north. In chronological order, the text presents the native cultures, from the earliest farming villages to the establishment of great states and urban civilizations such as Teotihuac?n and Monte Alb?n. By investigating the ties between these civilizations and the much more obscure ones of northern Mexico, it offers readers insights into the birth of new cultures such as the Toltec Empire and the creation of the extensive trade networks linking the Mesoamerican cultures with the ones that developed in the American Southwest. This enormous ethnic and linguistic melting pot culminated in the Aztec civilization, and this profusely illustrated book examines its historical events, moving from the mythical original migration into the Valley of Mexico to the political and cultural zenith. The final section covers the Aztecs’ tragic encounter with the Spanish conquistadors. In-depth looks at specific topics such as the Aztec calendar, religion, society and political organization are inserted into the historical narration, adding variety to the book’s chronological approach. Based on the latest research and targeting a broad readership, this book is straightforward and easy to understand, yet is distinguished by its excellent scholarship. The result is an extraordinary historical and cultural tableau that conveys the full appeal these populations have long held for Western readers.