World History Ch. 7.2 Notes


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World History Ch. 7.2 Notes

  1. 1. Section 2 The Americas Mesoamerica Preview • Main Idea / Reading Focus • The First Civilizations • The Maya • Map: Early Mesoamerican Civilizations • The Aztecs
  2. 2. Section 2 The Americas Mesoamerica Main Idea 1. Civilizations in Mesoamerica were some of the earliest and most advanced in the Americas. Reading Focus • What were the first civilizations in Mesoamerica like? • What were some characteristics of Maya civilization? • What made the Aztec empire one of the strongest in the ancient Americas?
  3. 3. Section 2 The Americas The First Civilizations Mesoamerica, southern Mexico and northern Central America, was ideal for farming. Cities and complex social structures arose there too. Olmec • Lived in hot, humid lowlands Society • 1200 BC to AD 300 • Olmec rulers, families lived in towns • Built first large towns in Mesoamerica • Lower social classes lived outside the towns • Earliest Olmec town • Elite led ceremonies, controlled trade network – Pyramid, courtyard – Eight giant stone heads – Thronelike monuments • Towns served as ceremonial, political and religious centers • Trade – From Gulf to Pacific coast – Rubber, pottery, furs – Also beliefs, art, games
  4. 4. Section 2 The Americas The First Civilizations Zapotec Monte Albán • Southern Mexico 1500 BC to AD 750 • Huge main plaza with pyramids, temples, palaces • May have had contact with Olmec • Olmec influence in decorations • Began as farmers, built capital city around 500 BC • Monte Albán, first true city in Mesoamerica • Located high above Valley of Oaxaca • Large ball court, observatory • Population of 25,000 at height • City declined when leaders lost support of their people • Still used for high-status burials
  5. 5. Section 2 The Americas The First Civilizations Toltec • Highlands of central Mexico, AD 900 to 1200 • Capital located at Tula, near obsidian mines – Major trade center – Pyramids, temples • Militaristic society – Fierce warriors established dominance over large region – Climate change, social conflict led to decline
  6. 6. Section 2 The Americas Compare What did the Olmec, Zapotec, and Toltec cultures have in common? Answer(s): They all built cities, pyramids, and temples; the Zapotec and Toltec cultures adopted some elements of Olmec culture.
  7. 7. Section 2 The Americas The Maya Large civilization • Olmec, Zapotec, Toltec small in comparison • Developed around 1000 BC • More than 40 cities of 5,000 to 100,000 each at height Rain forest challenges • Slash-and burn agriculture • Clearing forest land for crops • Flat terraces built in hillsides to control erosion Early Maya Civilization • First lived in small villages • Grew corn, beans, squash • Good rainfall, rich soils Trade developed • Farming did not provide all needs • Villages traded for cotton, jade • Trade of cacao, salt, obsidian helped villages grow to cities
  8. 8. Section 2 The Americas The Maya Cities and Government • Most cities built between AD 250 and 900, the Classic Age • Cities Tikal and Copan among the most spectacular in Mesoamerica • Brightly painted pyramids, temples and palaces found there City-States • Each had own ruler and government • No ruler ever united the cities into single empire • Cities linked even without central government Cities linked • Highlands traded jade, obsidian for cotton, rubber, cacao from lowlands • Cities also linked by warfare with each other • Through battles kings tried to gain land, power
  9. 9. The Americas Section 2
  10. 10. Section 2 The Americas The Maya 2. The Maya worshipped many gods and believed they influenced daily life; they also believed their kings communicated with the gods. To keep the gods happy, the Maya performed private and public rituals. Religious Offerings • Offering blood by piercing tongue, skin • Human sacrifice only occasionally • Ritual ball game, losing team having hearts sacrificed to gods Upper Class Society • Priests, who led religious ceremonies • Professional warriors, who got war victims for human sacrifice Other Classes • Merchants, craftspeople middle class • Lower class – Farmers – Slaves – Provided food, labor for other classes
  11. 11. Section 2 The Americas The Maya Achievements • Impressive buildings and architecture, including canals • Advances in astronomy, math, writing • Observed movements of sun, moon, planets Calendar system • Created based on astronomical observations • 365-day farming, 260-day religious calendars • More accurate than that used in Europe at same time Number and writing systems • Number system included new concepts, including “zero” • Complex writing system of glyphs, or symbols, representing objects, sounds • Carved writing in stone, also in bark-paper book called a codex
  12. 12. Section 2 The Americas The Maya Decline of Mayan civilization, AD 900 • Caused by number of factors – Environmental damage, drought – Warfare increased over competition for land, destroyed more crops – Abuse of power by strong kings • Civilization declined but did not disappear – Maya moved from forest to coastal cities – Remained for several hundred years
  13. 13. Section 2 The Americas Summarize What were the main characteristics of Maya civilization? Answer(s): great cities; trade networks; achievements in astronomy, math, writing; accurate calendar
  14. 14. Section 2 The Americas The Aztecs 3. About the time that Mayan cities in Yucatán reached their height, the Aztecs began to rise to power in the north. The early Aztecs were a small group of unlucky farmers from northwestern Mexico, who in time created the most powerful empire in Mesoamerica. Rise of the Empire • Began as separate farming tribes • Probably subject of the Toltecs • Legend: settle where they saw an eagle on a cactus eating a snake • Migrated south to Valley of Mexico, 1100s • Good farmland already taken Lake Texcoco • A swampy island in valley • Site where legend says Aztecs saw eagle and snake • Founded city of Tenochtitlán • From here, continued rise to power In addition to being farmers, the Aztecs were also fierce warriors. They began fighting to control other towns around Lake Texcoco.
  15. 15. Section 2 The Americas The Aztecs Conquering Warriors • Aztecs gained strength in 1420s with alliance with Texcoco and Tlacopan • Alliance gained control over huge region beyond Lake Texcoco • Aztecs ruled 400 to 500 other city states, 5 million people • Required conquered people to pay tribute Wealth and Strength • Tribute paid in many forms, feathers, food, pottery, blankets • Tribute was basis of economy • Gained wealth and strength through trade as well • System of roads aided trade of goods like jade, cacao • Merchants also acted as spies for Aztec emperor
  16. 16. Section 2 The Americas The Aztecs Tenochtitlán • • • • • Capital city of Aztec empire Covered 5 square miles Population of about 200,000 One of largest cities in world at time Site of present day Mexico City Enchanted Vision Floating Gardens • Walled compound at city center • Swampy island in middle of lake • Pyramid with two temples on top • Not much land for farming • Other temples, government buildings, palaces, a ball court • Aztecs built floating gardens at city’s edge • Political and religious heart of the empire • Tenochtitlán connected by canals and causeways to biggest market • First Europeans, “enchanted vision” • Vendors paid tax to support army
  17. 17. Section 2 The Americas The Aztecs Just as the economy of the Aztec Empire was highly organized, so was its society, with the king at the top, followed by priests. Society and Religion • King was part of royal family, but had to be elected • Lived in palace at Tenochtitlán • Certain nobles served as government officials • Just below king were priests – Interpreted calendars – Performed religious ceremonies Religious Ceremonies • Believed gods needed blood • Sacrificed as many as 20,000 victims a year • European perspective, “walls splashed and caked with blood…stank abominably” • Slaves. prisoners used for sacrifices • Certain warriors who captured victims also upper class
  18. 18. Section 2 The Americas The Aztecs Other classes • Merchants, artisans wealthy, respected • Merchants rich from trading • Artisans important, made goods required for tribute Chance for improvement • Farmers could become warriors or study at special schools • All attended school until 15 • Continuing in special schools led to work in government Lower class • Most were farmers, very poor • Did not own their own land • Paid so much in tribute, it was difficult to survive Slaves • Suffered most in Aztec society • Most had been captured in battle, or could not pay debts • Some worked as farmers, laborers; some sacrificed
  19. 19. Section 2 The Americas The Aztecs Achievements Sciences • Aztecs known for achievements in art and science • Kept written records, though not as advanced as Mayan • Artisans made bright feathers into headdresses, shields, costumes • Composed poetry, riddles, historical accounts • Metalworkers fashioned gold, silver, copper into jewelry, masks • Stoneworkers decorated temples with elaborate statues • Used astronomy to create religious and solar calendars much like the Maya • Aztec Empire lasted less than 200 years, brought to end by European contact, 1500s
  20. 20. The Americas Section 2 Identify Supporting Details What aspects of the Aztec Empire made it the strongest in Mesoamerica? Answer(s): good farmers, fierce warriors, founded capital of Tenochtitlán, well-organized economy and society, created calendar