Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Mesoamerican Ancient Southwestern Trade

Speaker of the Month:  Michael Ruggeri 

The recent arrival near our borders of the “caravan” has put a spotlight on an area on the U. S./Mexican frontier that has been a region of settlement and trade for centuries. The northwest corner of Mexico includes that nation’s largest state, Chihuahua, and its principal city, Ciudad Chihuahua. Within the state is the important archaeological site of Casas Grandes (a/k/a Paquime). There are as well several communities of Americans who have settled in Chihuahua but maintain their U.S. citizenship.

The state of Sonora, west of Chihuahua, was a gateway to San Diego for several centuries. Archeological exploration has found definitive evidence in the American southwest of Mexican contact between the pre-American cultures and ancient Mexican cultures, e.g., chocolate and Macaw remains. In ancient times within the social order of the Aztecs (and possibly other cultures) there arose a group of traveling entrepreneurs who have been identified as Pochteca. In the fragmented history of the Pochteca that has come down to us by way of archaeology, history and literature, we meet face to face with traveling adventurers. Archaeological exploration spanning the farthest reaches of the New World reveal a diversity of trade goods. Within the range of the Aztecs, the Pochteca must have contributed to the diversity of ancient life. Readers may have made first contact with the Aztec and a Pochteca named Chicóme-Xochitl Tliléctic Mixtli (translates to Seven-Flower Dark Cloud) via Gary Jennings’ mammoth novel Aztec.

Speaker Michael Ruggeri, MA taught at the City Colleges of Chicago for 33 years. He is History Professor Emeritus from Harold Washington College, where he taught the first course on Mesoamerican history in Chicago. Other areas of expertise: modern Mexico history and U.S. history from 1865. He will present our January lecture on the long distance trade network between Mesoamerica and the Ancient Southwest, addressing:
1) When and how did this ancient trade network expand into the Ancient Southwest from Mesoamerica?
2) Where did items of trade reach the Ancient Southwest and how far did Mesoamerican trade items reach into ancient North America?
3) What were the trade items that reached the Ancient Southwest from Mesoamerica, and what did the Mesoamericans receive in return?
4) How did trader items reach their destinations across vast desert territories into Ancient North America?

Meetings are open to the public and free of charge.
Social period starts at 3:00pm.
Lectures begin at 3:30pm. Join us!
Evanston Public Library
1703 Orrington, Evanston
All CAS meetings are free and open to the public.

CALL: 630-972-9090

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