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The Olmec were an ancient Pre-Columbian people living in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, roughly in what are the modern-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Their immediate cultural influence, however, extends far beyond this region. The Olmec flourished during the Formative (or Preclassic) period, dating from 1200 BCE to about 400 BCE, and are believed to have been the progenitor civilization of later Mesoamerican civilizations.