Mayan civilization included their descendants, the Toltecs. During the post classic period from A.D. 900 to 1521 the Toltec’s were influenced by remnants of the earlier cultures of Teotihuacan. They adopted the feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl changing his name to Kukulkan. Violence and warfare were widespread and the brutal Toltec were a largely militaristic society. Their warring influence spread across Mesoamerica until the 13th century when they faded from existence through the influence of internal civil wars and invasions from the north.

During this period the Mayan civilization had populated the area and built spectacular cities near the Puue hills. They introduced an original architecture called Puue style. It is largely represented by ornate exterior stonework above door frames. Chichén Itzá, a primary city of the Puue region was ruled by the Itza’es. Chichén Itzá displayed strong Toltec influences in its expansive architecture and the cult of the plumed-serpent god, Kukulkan. The full nature of the Toltec influence is still not clearly understood.

A popular myth in central Mexico suggests that Quetzalcoatl fought with his rival Tezcatlipoca who through treachery and deceit shamed him into leaving the Toltec capital at Tula. He is said to have departed traveling eastward toward the morning star. The language of the original myth depicts this as the onset of an actual civil war between two different factions in Tula; each led by the priest of a particular god. The losing faction is thought to have migrated to Yucatan to form the ruling class of Chichén Itzá.

 Mayan Civilization and the Toltec Legends

Mayan civilization

Mayan civilization: Toltec statues in Tula

The Toltec’s as descendants of the Mayan civilization adopted may of their stories.“When Quetzalcoatl was driven out, he vowed to return one day. The myth of his eventual return became a powerful weapon of conquest for the Spanish invaders. In 1519 the ruler Montezuma II believed that Cortez was the returning Quetzalcoatl. Cortez took Montezuma hostage and laid siege to the city of Tenochtitlan. Montezuma was eventually killed by either the Aztecs or the Spanish. When an epidemic of smallpox decimated the Indians, the capital fell to the Spanish leaving all of central Mexico in the hands of the conquistadors. It would seem that the depth of Mesoamerican history is just as rich and powerful as that of the European world or even Egypt. Perhaps one day the myths and legends of the Toltecs, the Mayan civilization and the Aztecs will become as well known and celebrated as Ramses, Alexander and King Tut.