The chronology of ancient Mesoamerica (the area covered by the modern nations of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, and El Salvador) has 3 main periods:
- Pre-Classic (1500 B.C. - A.D. 300)
This is the period of the Olmec, Zapotec, Maya, and Teotihuacan, when writing began and authority became centralized.
- Classic (300-950)
Zapotec, Maya, and Teotihuacan continued; also El Taijin and the start of the Mixtec. This is the period of city-states and the development of kings.
- Post-Classic (950-1521)
Period of the Maya, Mixtec, and Aztec and the development of empires.