Mississippian Period AD 800 – AD 1500
On July 4, 1054, a supernova lights up the early morning sky, four times brighter than Venus the god star. The light will brighten Earth’s sky for over three weeks. A Chinese astronomer observes the event and writes about it. Artists from New Mexico and Arizona depict the event in rock art and pottery, linking the ‘rabbit in the moon’ to the brilliant light in space. Oddly, no Western observers mention the celestial event. The inhabitants of the string of small villages along the Mississippi River, extending from Louisiana to Minnesota, would certainly have seen the explosion. In the village of Cahokia, across from now-St. Louis, unprecedented human activity begins. The thousand or so inhabitants are joined by travelers arriving from points as far away as New York and Florida. Someone, or some entity, begins planning a city. Thousand of laborers are needed for the task. On both sides of the river, earthen mounds begin to be erected and plazas and meeting houses are built around the large structures. Farmers initiate large scale planting and production of food, particularly maize. Tobacco is cultivated. A few years later, The City of the Sun, with ten thousand governed inhabitants and ‘suburbs’ with many more thousands of residents, is in full flourish. At its peak it is the largest city in the world. Certainly, it is the largest gathering of Indians ever. Ritual sacrifices are performed, probably by shamans and probably to appease the god of the sun. Perhaps because of dwindling resources, inhabitants disperse rather quickly, becoming the ancestors of many tribes east of the Mississippi and extending west to Oklahoma.
The mystery: Who built the City of the Sun? Were they emissaries from Aztec culture? Did North American Indians travel to Central America, observe the great cities there then travel back and begin to realize their own grand vision?