Posted on 17th of October
Schoolchildren in the United States learn about the ancient history of Europe and of the Mediterranean. But they learn little to nothing about the history of their own lands. They learn about London and Rome, Cairo and Jerusalem.
They never learn about Cahokia.
The first urban metropolis of North America, Cahokia was located in what is now the border of Illinois and Missouri, close to the city of St. Louis.
Starting around the 9th century and lasting for centuries, the people of Cahokia built a massive city. They controlled agriculture and trade all up and down the MIssissippi River.
There are massive ruins that tell us something of what the Cahokians were like - a spiritual mystical society, with great ingenuity and pride. They seemed to discover how to built a large city all on their own - there is no evidence that they had contact with any of the urban civilizations in Mesoamerica. The Cahokians were fierce, implacable and creative. Left unchecked, the might have colonized the entire continent under their rule.
But something DID check them. And we still don’t know what, only that in the middle of the 14th century, Cahokia seemingly disappeared overnight.
The current explanations for this apocalypse blame climate change and agricultural difficulties for the end of the Cahokians. For those ignorant of the Truth, this is certainly a plausible explanation.
Hundreds of years later, when European colonists arrived, they found Cahokia to be strangely empty and underpopulated compared to surrounding areas. But from the people they did encounter, they heard stories of great Cahokia brought low by some unnamed, mysterious force.
The proud, wily Cahokian seem to have come up against someone – or something – that they couldn’t defeat.
Did Cahokia fall because they submitted to a higher power? Or because they didn’t know when to give up? In due time, we'll learn the answer to these questions. But this is dangerous knowledge, not for the Children. Soon enough we'll have a place to discuss these matters - in private.
Images credit: HEIRONYMOUS ROWE