/tohl"tek, tol"-/, n., pl. Toltecs, (esp. collectively) Toltec, adj.
1. a member of an Indian people living in central Mexico before the advent of the Aztecs and traditionally credited with laying the foundation of Aztec culture.
2. Also, Toltecan. of or pertaining to the Toltecs.
[ < MexSp tolteca < Nahuatl toltecah, pl. of toltecatl person from Tollan TULA]

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Nahuatl-speaking people who held sway over what is now central Mexico from the 10th to the 12th century.

Whether their urban centre was Tula or Teotihuacán is a matter of dispute. In the 10th century they formed a number of small states of various ethnic origins into an empire. They introduced the cult of Quetzalcóatl, and other Toltec religious and military influences spread through the Yucatán region and were absorbed by the Maya. They were noted as builders and craftsmen; artifacts include fine metalwork, gigantic statues, and carved human and animal standard-bearers. They were succeeded by the Aztec. See also Mesoamerican civilization.

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      Nahuatl-speaking tribe who held sway over what is now central Mexico from the 10th to the 12th century AD. The name has many meanings: an “urbanite,” a “cultured” person, and, literally, the “reed person,” derived from their urban centre, Tollan (“Place of the Reeds”), near the modern town of Tula, about 50 miles (80 km) north of Mexico City.

      The Toltecs sacked and burned the great city of Teotihuacán in about AD 900; tradition tells that this occurred under the leadership of Mixcóatl (“Cloud Serpent”). Under his son, Ce Acatl Topiltzin Quetzalcóatl, they formed a number of small states of various ethnic origins into an empire later in the 10th century. The ruler Topiltzin introduced the cult of Quetzalcóatl (“Feathered Serpent”), which name he adopted. This cult and others, as well as the Toltec military orders of the Coyote, the Jaguar, and the Eagle, were introduced into important Mayan cities to the south in Yucatán, such as Chichén Itzá and Mayapán, indicating the broad influence of the Toltecs.

 The advent of the Toltecs marked the rise of militarism in Mesoamerica. They also were noted as builders and craftsmen and have been credited with the creation of fine metalwork, monumental porticoes, serpent columns, gigantic statues, carved human and animal standard-bearers, and peculiar reclining Chac Mool figures. Beginning in the 12th century, the invasion of the nomadic Chichimec destroyed the Toltec hegemony in central Mexico. Among the invaders were the Aztecs (Aztec), or Mexica, who destroyed Tollan about the mid-12th century. See also Mesoamerican civilization.

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