The capital city of Tenochtitlan was built on an island in the middle of a lake 5,000 feet above sea level. There was little arable land to grow crops.
In the Aztec civilization, human sacrifice was associated with worship of the gods, especially Huitzilopochtli, the war god. Following the famines of 1450 and 1451, sacrifice was seen by many as a method of placating angry gods. Traditionally, the ritual was performed on top of a pyramid; the sacrifice was placed spread-eagled on a stone, and a priest would cut out the sacrifice's heart from beneath the rib cage. At one point, the demand for sacrifices was so great that the &quot;Flowery Wars&quot; were fought with the neighboring Tlaxcalans solely for the purpose of capturing men for future sacrifices.
Why 1500? Europe – fragmented prior to 1500 Isolation, autonomy Unification – Immigration Christianity Warfare against Islam Feudalism Advancements Transportation Technology
Why 1500? God, Glory, and Gold Missionary work Prevent spread of Islam Devshirme Janissary Corp Enhance reputation of countries Amass wealth Ottoman Empire Conquest of Constantinople, 1453 Cut off Europeans from Asian luxury goods Ended reign of the Byzantine Empire
How? Improvements in technology China / Portugal Invention of compass Sturdier boats Navigational skills Understanding of currents / wind patterns Maps Ability to calculate direction and latitude
Prince Henry the Navigator Vasco Da Gama Christopher Columbus Ferdinand Magellan Amerigo Vespucci
Advantages Swords, muskets, cannons, and horses Disease Deception Method of divide and conquer Dona Marina Took advantage of existing indigenous divisions
Spanish Administration Viceroy Colonial governor appointed by king “I obey, but I do not enforce.” Encomienda Spanish settlers granted land and “Indian” subjects in exchange for taxes and tribute Human rights violations Bartolome De las Casas “A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies”
Atlantic Slave Trade More colonists = more trade Need to produce cash crops – dwindling native populations = African slave labor Slavery existed since ancient times But, carried out on much larger scale in the 16 Century Middle Passage
Africa Kinship groups Muslim slave trade Syncretic religion European contributions Maize, manioc, peanuts
Increased Knowledge Spread of Christianity Wealth and it’s rewards Exploitation (People and the Environment) Competition Columbian Exchange Destruction of native civilizations Spread of Slavery Widespread change on African continent