Store Banner Desktop

Store Banner Mobile

Large pre-Hispanic Olmec basalt carved head in the La Venta archeological park in Villahermosa Mexico.	Source: Barna Tanko

What Are the Contributions of the Olmecs to the World? (Video)

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The Olmecs, an ancient Mesoamerican civilization predating the Aztecs and Mayas, left a profound mark on history despite the mysteries surrounding their origins and disappearance. Scholars agree that the Olmecs played a crucial role in shaping early Mesoamerican civilizations and influencing global culture. Their contributions span various domains, notably trade and military innovation. Unlike other contemporaneous societies, the Olmecs prioritized trade over conquest, establishing a vast and intricate trade network that extended across Mesoamerica.

They introduced military advancements, such as specialized weapons like obsidian-tipped spears and the slingshot, setting a precedent for future military strategies. Additionally, the Olmecs made significant cultural contributions, including the development of early versions of soccer and the construction of pyramids. Their legacy endures through modern sports and architectural marvels, showcasing their enduring influence.

Moreover, evidence suggests that the Olmecs may have laid the foundation for the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, which later civilizations, like the Maya, refined and utilized. Despite their enigmatic disappearance, the Olmecs' impact on subsequent societies underscores their importance in shaping the course of history.

Top image: Large pre-Hispanic Olmec basalt carved head in the La Venta archeological park in Villahermosa Mexico. Source: Barna Tanko                                    

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

Next article