Ancient Mexico Settlements and Cities

Evidence of prosperous cities has been found spread throughout the region. These existed at San Lorenzo, Laguna de los Cerros, Tres Zapatos, La Venta, and Las Limas. The relative success or failure of the cities depended largely on whether they flooded regularly and how successful the surrounding area crops were.

La Venta itself was generally considered to be the capital or main city of this region. Estimations put the highest population numbers around 18,000, which was quite high for any civilization of that time in the world's history.

Some evidence and estimations based on later groups give rise to the idea that Olmec society existed based on classes. For example, the famous stone heads and other carvings apparently showed specific kings or rulers. The elite classes may have focused primarily on priests and shamans who would have had quite a bit of influence over daily life and control of the underclasses. Of course, and agricultural society that built things from stone would need a strong labour force to get all the work done.