Originating in 700 A.D., the Mississippian culture expanded through the Mississippi Valley and out into the southeastern states of Alabama, Georgia and Florida. For 800 years, until the 1550s, the Mississippian culture prospered. They cultivated a substantial amount of corn, by means of intensive farming, and other crops, such as squash and beans. Their trade networks with other native Americans extended across the New World in all directions, as far west as the Rocky Mountains, north as the Great Lakes, south as the Gulf of Mexico and east as the Atlantic Ocean. They manufactured an abundance of stone, shell and copper products. Some scholars believe that the Mississippian culture evolved as a result of climate conditions and their own strength and ability to grow, though others argue that Mexico influenced their agricultural techniques and religious practices.
Native Americans of the Mississippian culture were nicknamed Temple Mound Builders because they built earthen temple mounds that were several stories high and had flat tops. The significant buildings, such as their wooden temples, council houses and chief’s house, were built atop these mounds. The cultural hub of the Mississippian culture was Cahokia, which occupied over 8000 people and was the first metropolis of America. Constructed near present day Collinsville, Illinois, Cahokia occupied nearly 120 temple mounds, including Monks Mound, the largest mound in North America and nearly 100 feet tall.
The Mississippian culture developed a complex chiefdom level of social organization.
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