Civilizations of latin americaPresentation Transcript
Civilizations of Latin America
Latin American Civilizations
The three major civilizations that existed in Latin America before the arrival of the Europeans were
Mayas Incas Aztecs
A.D. 300 Mayan civilization flourishes for next 600 years A.D. 500 Teotihuac á n dominates the Mayan empire A.D. 900 1075 A.D. Incas settle in Peru, and Cuzco becomes the Incan capital A.D. 1300 1479 A.D. Incas complete conquest of Peru 1325 – 1340 A.D. Aztecs establish Tenochtitl á n 1420 – 1480s A.D. Aztec empire expands to Guatemala
The Aztec Civilization
The Aztecs lived in the Valley of Mexico in the A.D. 1100s.
The Valley of Mexico is in central Mexico and includes the site of present-day Mexico City.
The Aztecs wandered the Valley of Mexico looking for a permanent home until A.D. 1325.
They finally settled on an island in Lake Texcoco.
They changed the swampy land into a magnificent city, which they called Tenochtitlán (the site of present-day Mexico City).
The Aztecs built floating islands by piling rich earth from the bottom of the lake onto rafts made of wood.
After a while, the roots of plants and trees grew down to the lake bottom, anchoring the rafts.
Some of these floating islands were the size of football fields.
In the center of the city was the Great Temple.
Upper-class dwellings were made of stone and ordinary dwellings were made of reeds and mud.
Canals, laid out in a grid system, connected all parts of the city.
Causeways, or raised earthen roads, connected the city to the mainland.
Aztecs expand their empire
In the 1400s, Aztec warriors began conquering the other people in the region.
They forced the people they conquered to pay tribute.
Tribute could be paid in food, cotton, gold, or slaves.
The Aztecs grew rich from the tribute.
Tenochtitlán was a center of learning and trade.
Over 1,000 medicines were made from plants.
Astronomers predicted eclipses and planet movement.
Aztec hieroglyphics similar to the Mayas.
About A.D. 1200, the Incas settled in Cuzco, a village in the Andes (now a city in Peru).
Most Incas were farmers, growing maize and other crops.
Through wars and conquest, the Incas won control of the Cuzco Valley.
In 1438, he became ruler of the Incas.
The name Pachacuti means “he who shakes the earth.”
He conquered the people who lived near the Pacific Ocean.
He demanded loyalty from the people he conquered. If disloyal, the people were forced off their land and replaced with loyal Incas.
“ The Lost City”
Pachacuti built many cities. The most famous is the “lost city” of Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu is located high in the Andes Mountains, 54 miles northwest of Cuzco.
The Incans were excellent farmers, builders, and managers.
The capital, Cuzco, was the center of government, trade, learning, and religion.
In the 1500s, one of the first Spaniards to visit Cuzco described it as “large enough and handsome enough to compare to any Spanish city.”
Roads and Aqueducts
The Incas built more than 19,000 miles of roads. The roads went over some of the most mountainous land in the world.
The Incas built canals and aqueducts to carry water to dry areas. One stone aqueduct carried water from a mountain lake almost 500 miles to its destination.
Government and Records
The Incas organized their government carefully.
The Incas did not have a written language. Incan government officials and traders recorded information on knotted strings called quipus.
The Incas worshipped many gods.
The sun god, Inti, was an important god of the Incas. They believed Inti was their parent and they referred to themselves as “children of the sun.”
Another important Incan god was Viracocha, the creator of all people of the Andes.
Quechua Descendants of the Incas
The Spanish conquered the Incan empire in the 1500s.
The Incan descendants live in present-day Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, and Colombia.