WHAT WAS THE FIRST CITY IN AMERICA?
Cahokia: America's First City
Cahokia Mounds is an ancient Native American Indian site on the western perimeter of Illinois, and it is known as America's first city. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a U.S. National Landmark that is on the National Registry of Historic Places. Cahokia was the home of the mysterious ancient Mississipian Culture of North America.
The site consists of a number of large ceremonial and functional mounds that served as a kind of stratification system for the society that inhabited the area. No one knows exactly who created the mounds at Cahokia; the site is named for the tribe that was living there when it was discovered by Western explorers
The largest feature of Cahokia Mounds is a large multilevel earthwork known as Monk's Mound. It was once the location of the chief's home, as evidenced by archaeological research at the site.
Many theories exist about the origins of the people who built Cahokia. They may have come from as far away as South America or been related to people who immigrated across the Bering land bridge at the end of the last Ice Age.
When you visit Cahokia, you are humbled by the size of the monuments, and the ancient energy there. Thinking back to ancient times, you can imagine the lives of the men and women who lived here. The interesting stratification of Cahokia society was interpreted literally by creating a multi-tiered community. Several mounds were built as pedestals for the elite of the city.
One house was up higher than all the others: the Chief's house on Monk's Mound. In present-day Cahokia, Monk's Mound has been equipped with a modern-day staircase up to the top, where new paved walkways guide you across the Chief's domain, where you can survey the land for miles around. There is a breathtaking view of downtown St Louis in the West, and a prominent circle of tall poles, arranged in a great circular lunar calendar, called a wood henge, can be seen directly west of Monk's Mound.
The Visitor's Center of Cahokia is great! You can learn everything that is known about Cahokia from the knowledgable staff, and the numerous, immersive exhibits chronicling the life of early agrarian people. The culture here was the largest community in North America at the time of Cahokia's most thriving period, when upwards of 20,000 people called the immediate vicinity home.
At the confluence of 3 major rivers, Cahokia served as a nexus of ancient cultures on the North American continent. It is simply the oldest known city in America, hence it's nickname: America's First City.
If you have an opportunity to visit Cahokia, I can highly recommend it. It is a historical, cultural, and spiritual landmark for many, and its preservation is an important mission for those interested in honoring and venerating the ancients, and furthering the understanding of life on this planet.