Who were the Maya? To the southeast of Teotihuacán a powerful native culture had also developed. The Maya culture had risen to power in the lands known today as Southern Mexico and Central America. The Maya developed a complete written language, used advanced mathematics, and had a great knowledge of astronomy. They developed great urban centers throughout their lands. Religion was an important part of their culture and many of their citizens could read their written language.Their many cities, made of stone, were grander than any of the cities of Europe of this time. Yet, by 1000 a.d. the Maya culture was also in decline. Once again a new dominant culture of Mesoamerica had developed close to the ruins of Teotihuacán. This time the people of the new nation would call themselves the Toltec. “The Castle” is name of this amazing pyramid found in the ancient Maya city of Chichen Itza. Who were the Toltec? From 900 a.d. the Toltec culture dominated the central region of Mesoamerica. The Toltec rule lasted almost two hundred years. They developed a great capital city named Tula and continued to study mathematics, law, and astronomy. The Toltec traded goods with the Maya city of Chichen Itza, located in the Yucatan Peninsula. They became master craftsmen and began to spread their beliefs of law and religion to other people of Mesoamerica. They invented a ballgame, played with a hard rubber ball, that spread throughout Mesoamerica and even into the American Southwest. Yet, the Toltec too were caught in the cycle of nations. By 1150 a.d. their culture was destroyed by wandering tribes from the lands of the north. One of these wandering tribes was called the Mexica. Soon the Mexica would create the most powerful and advanced culture ever to rise in Mesoamerica. 40  Chapter 4 • Arizona in the World