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This is three hundred years before the Mayans developed their calendar. During the pre Classic era, it is known that most of Chiapas was not Olmec, but had close relations with them, especially the Olmecs of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.Olmec-influenced sculpture can be found in Chiapas and products from the state including amber, magnetite, and ilmenite were exported to Olmec lands. Other important population centers in Chiapas include Ocosingo, Tapachula, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Comitán and Arriaga.It is the southernmost state, bordered by the states of Oaxaca to the west, Veracruz to the northwest and Tabasco to the north, and by the Petén, Quiché, Huehuetenango and San Marcos departments of Guatemala to the east and southeast.The Olmecs came to what is now the northwest of the state looking for amber with one of the main pieces of evidence for this called the Simojovel Ax. Development of this culture was agricultural villages during the pre-Classic period with city building during the Classic as social stratification became more complex.

For three years, Marín was able to subjugate a number of the local peoples, but met with fierce resistance from the Tzotzils in the highlands.Soon after, the encomienda system was introduced, which reduced most of the indigenous population to serfs and many even as slaves, paid as a form of tribute.The conquistadors brought previously unknown diseases. This, as well as overwork on plantations, dramatically decreased the indigenous population.In Chiapas, Mayan sites are concentrated along the state's borders with Tabasco and Guatemala, near Mayan sites in those entities. At its height, it had large cities, a writing system, and development of scientific knowledge, such as mathematics and astronomy.Cities were centered on large political and ceremonial structures elaborately decorated with murals and inscriptions.

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Chiapas is home to the ancient Mayan ruins of Palenque, Yaxchilán, Bonampak, Chinkultic and Toniná.

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