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Top 10 Oldest Cities in North America

North America is home to some of the most advanced places in the world but it was not always like this. It was inhabited by the indigenous tribes as early as 11,000 BCE. These cities have gone through massive transformation but their history is still alive. 

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List of 10 Oldest Cities in North America

Here are the 10 oldest cities in North America. 

  1. Tepoztlán 
  2. Cholula
  3. Motul
  4. Antiguo Cuscatlán
  5. Oraibi
  6. Acoma Pueblo
  7. Mexico City 
  8. Santo Domingo
  9. St. John’s
  10. San Juan

1) Tepoztlán 

Tepoztlán, a thriving town in the Morelos state of Mexico, has a long and colorful history that dates back to the Aztec period. Tepoztlán was an important center of culture and religion when it was founded in 1500 BCE. Located at the base of Tepozteco Mountain, the hamlet is surrounded by the Tepozteco Pyramid, a pre-Hispanic archaeological complex honoring Tepoztecatl, the god of pulque, an ancient Aztec alcoholic beverage.

Tepoztlán has been a hub for indigenous customs and rites throughout its history. Its advantageous location and lush surroundings made it a major agricultural center that supported its people for ages. The Spanish conquest in the 16th century altered the town’s dynamics, which combined its deeply ingrained Indigenous culture with European influences.

2) Cholula

One of the oldest cities in North America to have been inhabited continuously is Cholula. Cholula was a significant religious and commercial hub during the Classic era of Mesoamerican history. It was founded in the 2nd century BCE. The Great Pyramid of Cholula, the city’s most famous feature, is evidence of its historical significance. This enormous construction, erected in honor of the god Quetzalcoatl, is the world’s largest pyramid in terms of volume. Cholula has prospered as an important center of culture and commerce throughout its history. 

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3) Motul

The history of Motul begins before the arrival of the Spanish. Motul, which the Itzáes founded in the 11th century, quickly developed into a prominent political and cultural hub. The word “Motul” comes from the Mayan word “Moot ul,” which means “a place of answers,” emphasizing the center’s function as a meeting place for learning and spiritual pursuits.

Motul prospered in its early years as a powerful city-state. It was essential to the regional commerce networks that linked the Yucatán Peninsula’s many regions. The city was renowned for its ornate temples, finely carved interiors, and sophisticated understanding of mathematics and astronomy. With the growth of the area, Motul rose to prominence as a Maya pilgrimage center, drawing visitors from all over the world.

4) Antiguo Cuscatlán

El Salvador’s ancient city of Antiguo Cuscatlán has a rich history that stretches back to pre-Columbian times. Originally inhabited by the Pipil people, who established it as a crucial component of their civilization, it was founded somewhere in the 11th century. In Nahuatl, “Cuscatlán” means “Land of the Jewel,” a reference to its significance and affluence in antiquity.

As a hub for trade and culture between the native populations, the city was important. Its advantageous position, which acted as a center for trade and communication in the area, added to its notoriety. The Pipil people created remarkable buildings and advanced agricultural techniques that provided generations of sustenance for the people living in the city.

5) Oraibi

One of the oldest continually inhabited communities in North America is Oraibi, which is situated in northeastern Arizona. Oraibi, which the Hopi people founded somewhere about 1100 CE, is evidence of the endurance and continuing legacy of Native American civilization. One of the three mesas that make up the Hopi Reservation’s central region, Third Mesa, is where the village is perched.

With its founding, Oraibi became the center of a flourishing community that miraculously adapted to the arid climate of the American Southwest. The Hopi people invented sophisticated farming methods, such as terraced fields and dry farming, to grow crops including squash, beans, and corn. 

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6) Acoma Pueblo

Known by many as “Sky City,” Acoma Pueblo is among the oldest continually inhabited towns in North America. This amazing pueblo, which dates back to approximately 1150 CE, is situated atop a 367-foot sandstone mesa in New Mexico, offering its residents a natural fortress. For ages, the Acoma people have flourished in this exceptional setting, leaving behind a rich cultural and historical heritage.

Acoma Pueblo has been the Acoma people’s hub for trade, culture, and spirituality for a very long time. Its elevated position gave it a viewpoint over the surrounding area and its strategic location enabled efficient defense against attackers. 

7) Mexico City

Founded on March 13, 1325, Mexico City is one of the most dynamic and ancient cities in North America. Originally situated on an island in Lake Texcoco, the city was known as Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire. The Aztecs created a sophisticated system of causeways and canals that allowed them to expand their city and establish a vibrant metropolis renowned for its magnificent temples, palaces, and lively marketplaces.

After Tenochtitlan was subjugated by Spanish adventurer Hernán Cortés in 1521, the city was destroyed and Mexico City was built on its ruins. European architecture, religion, and culture were introduced during the Spanish colonial era, among other notable developments.

Also read, Oldest Cities in the World 

8) Santo Domingo

The capital of the Dominican Republic and the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas is Santo Domingo, established on August 5, 1496. Santo Domingo was the first Spanish colonial capital in the New World, founded by Christopher Columbus’ younger brother Bartholomew.

The city soon rose to prominence as the Spanish Empire’s principal administrative and commercial hub. It was a crucial starting point for further Spanish excursions into the Americas because of its advantageous location on the Caribbean Sea, which allowed for exploration, conquest, and trade. 

9) St. John’s

One of the oldest English-founded cities in North America is St. John’s, the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The Italian explorer John Cabot founded St. John’s in 1497 on behalf of the English Crown, and it soon rose to prominence as a major transatlantic trading and fishing center.

Early on in its history, St. John’s was a thriving port city that drew European traders and fishermen to the abundant fishing grounds of the Grand Banks. The city was a popular rendezvous for ships traveling across the Atlantic due to its advantageous placement along North America’s easternmost point. 

Also Read: Oldest Countries in the World

10) San Juan

The capital and largest city of Puerto Rico, San Juan, is important to the continent’s history. San Juan is one of the Western Hemisphere’s earliest European-established settlements, having been founded on August 8, 1521, by Spanish immigrants.

The Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León is credited with founding the city’s original colony, Caparra, which eventually relocated to its present site and became San Juan. Ponce de León arrived on the island in 1508. The city, which bears Saint John the Baptist’s name, rose to prominence as the Spanish Empire’s Caribbean strategic bastion.


The oldest cities in North America remind humans of the legacy of ancient civilizations. The stories of these cities are reminders of their legacy. This blog listed the top 10 oldest cities in North America. 


When was Motul founded?

Motul was founded in the 11th century by the Itzáes. It became an important cultural and political center within the Maya civilization.

Which Is the Oldest City in the World?

Damascus in Syria is the oldest city in the world. The city is over 11,000 years old. 

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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