Pre-Columbian Civilizations


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  • BCE and CE are used to diminish the Gregorian Calendar’s influence over indigenous cultures. Even if in name and not mathematically different in actual years, BCE and CE are worth mentioning since the Catholic Church had an enormous influence over colonization in the “New” world.
  • The Inca Empire was separated into four sections together known as 'Ttahuantin-suyu' or "land of the four quarters" each ruled by a governor or viceroy called 'Apu-cuna' under the leadership of the central 'Sapa Inca'.
  • The picture is a schematic map of Tenochtitlan drawn by an indigenous artist, probably at the behest of a Spanish Viceroy. It shows the city in the year of its founding, 1325 and represents th canals and lakes as an X set into a rectangle. The place-name of the city – a cactus growing from a rock – appears at the center, and the original founders of the city apperar in its four quadrants.
  • Sacrifice seems brutal, but it was seen as a duty. Sacrifical victims believed that they would become a king in the afterlife and went willingly. Children were made to cry to appease the god of rain before sacrificing. In war enemies were spared on the battlefield for sacrifice. One sacrifice included flaying the skin and wearing it. Priests would then boil and eat the victims to ingest the powers of the gods.
  • enochtitlan was built according to a fixed plan and centered on the ritual precinct, where the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan rose 50 m (164.04 ft) above the city. Houses were made of wood and loam, roofs were made of reed,[26] although pyramids, temples and palaces were generally made of stone.
  • "The Storming of the Teocalli." (1848). Emmanuel Leutze. (Cortez with stout armored band fights his way back into Tenochtitlan, June, 1520. Based on Prescott's description)
  • Pre-Columbian Civilizations

    1. 1. Primitive Civilized
    2. 2. Latin American Civilizations
    3. 3. Characteristics of Advanced Civilizations • High populations within societies • Advanced food storage and domestication of a variety of food • Complex institutions, such as organized religion and government • Written language • Specialization of jobs
    4. 4. Mayan Empire
    5. 5. Characteristics of the Mayan Empire • Highly organized religious and government systems • Religious rituals demanded involvement by all social classes • Mayan society was divided by class and status, living in kin-based groups with a hereditary chief • Rulers were recognized as god-kings
    6. 6. • Hieroglyphs were their form of writing • Mayans used two calendars, one was based on a 365-day year; the other was used for religious purposes • Applied complex mathematical systems including the concept of zero • Highly developed astronomical concepts
    7. 7. Architecture completed without the use of wheel technology
    8. 8. Incan Empire
    9. 9. Characteristics of the Incan Empire • “the land of four quarters” • No written language, but pictographs, and quipus • Engineering accomplishments included suspension bridges and roads that connected the empire. • All property belonged to the state. Central planning organized peasants into work crews.
    10. 10. • Trade included textiles, gold, silver and bronze, Peruvian livestock and agriculture; used coin money • Terraced farms dotted the mountainous landscape and corn was grown at altitudes over 13,000 ft.; steps provided access to farms; guano used as fertilizer • Macchu Picchu
    11. 11. • Religious ceremonies were highly complex and included human and animal sacrifices • The supreme god of the Incas was the creator god, Viracocha • The royal family was believed to be descended from the sun god, Inti • Incas also practiced ancestry-worship and mummification
    12. 12. The Aztec
    13. 13. Characteristics of the Aztec Empire • The Triple Alliance (Mexica, Texcoco and Tlacopan) ruled from about 1428 until 1521 CE • Tenochtitlán • Chinampas • City-states helped support large populations, which were highly organized
    14. 14. • Writing included pictographs but was not as developed as the Mayan • Mathematical concepts included a counting system based on 20 • Accurate calendar • Had the wheel, but only used for children’s toys. • Herbal remedies for specific ailments • Tradition of poetry, music, and drama.
    15. 15. • Belief systems supported necessary human sacrifices to appease the gods; these also included child-sacrifices
    16. 16. • Class system was highly stratified; rulers were considered semi-divine • Highly advanced trade system, extending into Guatemala, included lake salt, cacao and textiles (no coin money) • Today, 30% indigenous people in Mexico claim ancestry to the Aztec, 9% are purely Spanish, 60% are mixed.
    17. 17. Aztec • Corn • Chocolate • Vanilla • Rubber • Tomatoes • Suspension Bridges • Pyramids • Sewage System Spanish • Horses, Cattle, Pigs, Chickens • Wheeled Vehicles • Cannons • Steel Swords • Attack Dogs • Body Armor • Infectious Diseases • Immunity to Infectious Diseases
    18. 18. The Columbian Exchange