From about 2000 BC the people of Ancient Mexico began to settle in villages and to cultivate maize and other crops. From about 1000 BC the main cultures included the Olmec on the Gulf Coast, the Maya in the Yucatan peninsula and modern day Chiapas, the Zapotecs and Mixtecs in Oaxaca, the Tarascans in Michoacân and the Toltecs in central Mexico. One of the largest and most powerful cities in ancient Mexico was Teotihuacân, which in the 6th century AD was one of the six most populous cities in the world. By the time the Spanish conquistadores arrived in 1519, the dominant people were the Mexica, more commonly known as the Aztecs, whose capital Tenochtitlân became Mexico City after the conquest. Hernân Cortés landed on the Gulf Coast in 1519 and by 1521 had destroyed the Aztec state. The land conquered by Cortés was named New Spain, and was ruled by the Spanish Crown for three centuries. Rich silver mines were discovered and large estates (haciendas) were formed. Social dislocation and European diseases caused a collapse of the indigenous population. In 1520 the native population was probably 20m. By 1540 it had fallen to 6–5m. and by 1650 the figure was just over lm.
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