Tiwanaku is an important Pre-Columbian archaeological site in Bolivia. Tiwanaku was the ritual and administrative capital of a major state, one of the most important precursors to the Inca Empire, flourishing for approximately five hundred years between 500 AD and 1000 AD. The ruins of the ancient city state are near the south-eastern shore of Lake Titicaca, about 72 km west of La Paz, Bolivia.

Because of their high elevation, crops grown by the Tiwanaku were limited to frost-resistant plants such as potatoes and quinoa. Llama caravans brought maize and other trade goods up from lower elevations. The Tiwanaku had large herds of domesticated alpaca and llama, and hunted wild guanaco and vicuña.

During the Late Formative period, the Tiwanaku Empire was in direct competition with the Huari empire, located in central Peru. Tiwanaku style artifacts and architecture have been discovered throughout the central Andes, a circumstance that has been attributed to imperial expansion, dispersed colonies, trading networks, a spread of ideas or a combination of all these forces.

After 700 years, the Tiwanaku civilization disintegrated as a regional political force. This happened about 1100 AD, and resulted, at least one theory goes, from the effects of climatic change, including a sharp decrease in rainfall. There is evidence that the groundwater level dropped and the raised field beds failed, leading to a collapse of agricultural systems in both the colonies and the heartland. Whether that was the sole or most important reason for the end of the culture is debated.

(via collectivehistory-deactivated20)

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