Before non-natives arrived in North America, Cahokia was the largest urban center north of present-day Mexico.
Located near what is now St. Louis, Missouri, this Mississippian town was at its height in about 1100. It then stretched across more than 200 acres and was the home of nearly 40,000 people.
The center also was visited frequently by traders from far away who canoed the Mississippi River to offer their wares to Cahokia’s residents. These traders brought copper from the Great Lakes, shells from the Gulf of Mexico, and glass-like obsidian (volcanic rock) from the Rocky Mountains.
Within Cahokia itself, there were 100 or more mounds. Towering over the settlement was the enormous Monks Mound, which rose about 100 feet high. Its base was larger than that of the Great Pyramid of Egypt.
It measured 700 feet wide and 1,000 feet long, about the same area covered by 25 football fields.