The First Americans The Mayas , Aztecs , and Incas Life in Meso-America Mr. Mariglia/Mr. Johnson 7th Grade Social Studies
The First Americans Arrive <ul><li>Scientists have a number of ideas about how people came to the Americas. Some think that people may have come from Asia in large canoes. However, most think that the first humans arrived by land. One thing is certain: tens of thousands of years ago, no humans lived in North or South America! </li></ul>
The Land Bridge-Theory <ul><li>Between 10,000 and 100,000 years ago, much of the Earth was covered by glaciers, or thick sheets of ice. As more and more water froze, water levels in the oceans dropped, exposing more land. One of those areas was between modern-day Alaska (USA) and Siberia (Asia). This area became a land bridge many miles wide. The area now lies under a narrow waterway called the Bering Strait. </li></ul><ul><li>Many scientists believe that people first came across the land bridge while following herds of Wooly Mammoth, some 20,000-30,000 years ago. Over thousands of years, these first Americans eventually spread across North and South America. </li></ul>
The Mayas When : Between 250 A.D and 900 A.D Where : Mayas built large cities and temples in what is now Southern Mexico and Central America Important Achievements : The Mayas developed arts, a system of government and a written language. They observed the stars and studied the heavens. *** The Mayas also developed the most accurate calendar known until modern times. What happened to the Mayas? : Around 900 A.D, the Mayas began to abandon their great cities they had built. Disease or overpopulation may have caused the decline. Although the Mayan civilization is gone, the Mayan language still forms the root of more than 20 languages of Central America.
The Mayas (Click on Video to play, click on other screen to move on)
The Aztecs <ul><li>When: As the Mayan civilization declined around 900 A.D., the Aztec civilization was on the rise. </li></ul><ul><li>Where: The Aztecs built a great capital city, Tenochtitlan (tay noch tee lahn) on the site of present-day Mexico City, Mexico. </li></ul><ul><li>Important Achievements : More than 200,000 people lived in Tenochtitlan at its height, making it perhaps the largest city in the world at that time. Religion dominated Aztec life. The Aztecs practiced human sacrifice as an offering to their gods. </li></ul><ul><li>What happened to the Aztecs?: Cortes and the Spanish arrived in 1519, captured Montezuma the Aztec leader, destroyed the capital city of Tenochtitlan, and claimed the land as a colony for Spain. </li></ul>
The Incas <ul><li>When: By the 1400’s, the Inca empire in South America was the largest empire in the world. </li></ul><ul><li>Where: The vast empire of the Incas stretched down the coast of South America along the Andes Mountains all the way to the Amazon rain forest. </li></ul><ul><li>Important Achievements: Capital city of Cuzco was linked to other cities and towns by a great network of roads. The Incas constructed large buildings, walls for their farms, canals to carry water and bridges over deep canyons. Inca rulers wore gold and silver jewelry, and their palaces contained plates of gold. </li></ul><ul><li>What happened to the Incas?: By 1533, Francisco Pizzaro and the Spanish invaded Peru, captured the Inca ruler and the capital city of Cuzco. </li></ul>