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Amerindian Civilizations in Latin America

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An overview of the Aztecs, Mayans, and Incas

An overview of the Aztecs, Mayans, and Incas

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  • 1. Amerindian CivilizationsAmerindian Civilizations in Latin Americain Latin America AP World History West Hills High School
  • 2. • 100s of different culture groups each speaking their own language, living by own customs • Nonsedentary, semisedentary, and fully sedentary (Aztec, Maya, and Inca Empires) peoples
  • 3. Aztec Empire (1200-1521) • Last in a series of cultures to develop in the Valley of Mexico (Tenochtitlan) • Nahuatl-speaking group known as the Mexica (where word “Mexico” originated) • Complex system of agriculture based on irrigation (chinampas)
  • 4. Aztec Empire (1200-1521) • Collected tribute from surrounding city-states (food, clothing, weapons, precious metals and gems, slaves, sacrificial victims) • Hierarchical society: (King, priests & nobility, peasants, slaves) • Empire based on fear and human sacrifice • 1521 conquered by Hernando Cortez and his men
  • 5. Tenochtitlan View of Pyramid of the Moon and Sun, Tenochtitlan
  • 6. Green = hope, fertility of the soil White = purity Red = blood shed during independence
  • 7. Mayan Empire (400 BC-900 AD) • Occupied lower Mesoamerica (“People of the Corn”) • Fierce warriors, ritualistic bloodletting and human sacrifice • Sudden collapse in 900 CE – Military defeats – Crop failure – Overpopulation
  • 8. Tikal
  • 9. “Every culture looks different from the inside than it does from the outside.”
  • 10. Inca Empire (1000-1532 AD) • Ruled over people from 100s of different tribes • Maintained control through: – Large army – Advanced agriculture, building & engineering methods (especially roads and bridges) – Common language (Quechua) • Conquered by Francisco Pizarro in 1532
  • 11. Similarities? • Rigid class system (stratified) • Polytheistic • Extensive trade networks • Human sacrifice • Tribute & constant warfare • Advanced mathematics, calendars, and astronomy - why?