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Maya, Aztec and Inca in Central and South America

Page history last edited by Robert W. Maloy 1 year, 3 months ago

 Calakmul, Mexico.  Photo on Wikimedia Commons by PhilippN.

Calakmul, Mexico. Photo on Wikimedia Commons by PhilippN.

 

Cross-Links

 

 

 

 

Link to AP World History Key Concept 2.2

AP Art History: Indigenous Americas, 1000 BCE to 1980 CE

 

Focus Questions:

 

What are the major pre-Columbian civilizations in Central and South America?

 

What were their political structures, religious practices, economies, art and architecture, and use of slaves?

 

An extensive lesson plan containing lessons about all 3 civilizations

 

Mayan History and Culture

 
Conquest of Mexico Paintings from Exploring the Early Americas: Explorations and Encounters, Library of Congress.

The Ancient Americas is an online exhibit from the Field Museum in Chicago. The site starts with the beginnings of civilization in the Americas during the Ice Age and continues through the pre-Columbian empires and into the modern day. with a focus on the Aztecs and Incas.

Click here for information about the Ancient Maya City of Calakmul, a United Nations World Heritage Site.

Why Did the Mayan Civilization Collapse? A New Study Points to Deforestation and Climate Change, Smithsonian (August 23, 2012)

Amazon Explorers Uncover Signs of a Real El Dorado, January 5, 2010

Top 10 Foods of the Maya World

 

Current-day relevance of Mayan culture among Latinx Indigenous population




external image Comalcalco.jpg

Ancient Maya Summary

 

  • Began around 2000 BCE and expanded to hundreds of large elaborate city cities with extensive agriculture and trade
    • Located primarily around the Yucatan Peninsula, Guatemala, southern Mexico, Belize, and western Honduras.

 

  • Social class system of priests, nobles, officials, and common laborers and peasant farmers.

 

  • Polytheistic religion (Human sacrifice was part of religious rituals).

 

  • Extraordinary accomplishments in architecture, sculpture, painting, mathematics and astronomy
    • Development of a 365 day calendar and writing system with over 800 characters.

 

    • Use of the Concept of zero allowed Mayans to express any whole number quantity using place notation (also used in Mesopotamia).

 

  • Decline around 900 AD when unexplained events led to the abandonment of southern cities; urban life continued in the North for several more centuries

 

Illustrated representation of Mayan city life
Illustrated representation of Mayan city life



 Learning Plans

Mayan chief forbids a person to touch a can of chocolate.

 

Mayan chief forbids a person to touch a can of chocolate.
Click here for a fun lesson plan on Mayan chocolate. Cacao--A Favorite Drink

 


Also read Patrick Hunt's article Maya and Aztec Chocolate History and Antecedents

 


Check out this creative lesson plan for an interesting classroom activity!

 
 

Aztecs (1248-1521 AD)

 

Aztec Warriors brandishing a macuahuitl--a wooden club with sharp obsidian blades

Aztec Warriors brandishing a macuahuitl--a wooden club with sharp obsidian blades

 

Summary

  • Militaristic society that dominated the entire region

 

    • Organized into altepetls (semi-autonomous states with their own ruler, market, temple)

 

  • Rigidly stratified social class system, commoners could not enter nobility

 

    • Gender roles placed women in subordinate position to men; expected to work at home, weave textiles and raise children

 

Timeline of the Aztec Civilization from the first settlements to the fall of the civilization to Spanish colonists.

Important leader: 

external image Essener_Feder_01.pngMontezuma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


external image Aztec_Empire_c_1519.png 


Most people today are familiar with the Aztec empire.

But it may surprise you to know that there is a great deal of disagreement over what kind of an "empire" it really was. This Aztec empire history may surprise you.

Even the term Aztec is a bit misleading. It's a name that is used for a group of peoples in Central Mexico, but really there wasn't any one people group that was "Aztec". The Mexican people were at the heart of the empire, but there were many other cultures that formed the civilization that the Spanish were to discover.

At its height, the Aztec empire might have continued to grow had not the Europeans arrived in 1519. At this time it was at its height, reaching from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico, from Central Mexico all the way to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. See this map of the Aztec empire for a visual idea. Here's another conception:

 

 

 


external image At+its+height,+the+Inca+empire+covered+parts+of+the+modern-day+countries+of:.jpg

Incas (1197-1533 AD)

 

  • Largest indigenous empire in the Americas (boundaries extended as far as Ecuador, to central Chile and to Amazon basin.

 

    • Developed the most sophisticated political and administrative structures

 

  • Excellent road and communication system
    • Built terraces and stone aqueducts to support farming

 

  • State built on forced labor
    • Used every available fiber to create elaborate multicolored textiles and tapestries

 

  • Extensive mining for copper and bronze, gold and silver
    • Machu Picchu, city built on a mountain

 

 

Machu Picchu

 

Machu Picchu at Sunrise

Machu Picchu at SunriseLegacy of the Incas; One of the worlds greatest archeological sites


Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, a United Nations World Heritage Site

 

 

  • Urubamba Valley in Peru
  • Royal retreat of the Incan emperor Pachacu
  • Means "Old Mountain
  • Constructed in the 15th century
    • Spanish conquest in 1524


Machu Picchu 101, National Geographic

Hiram Bingham III

Did the Man Who Discovered Machu Picchu Inspire Indiana Jones?



Bibliography:

Columbia University, (2006).Asia for Educators. Retrieved February 26, 2007, from Sun Yatsen's "Three People's Principles." Web site: http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/china/modern/rd_bck.htm
Columbia University, (2006). Asia for Educators. Retrieved February 26, 2007, from “Reform to Revolution." Web site: http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/china/modern/rd_bck.htm.
Duiker & Spielvogel, William J. (2005). The Essential World History. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Group/Thomson Learning.
Columbia University, (2006) Asia for Edcucators. Retrieved February 27, 2007, Web site: http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/china/modern/back.htm.
Columbia University, (2006), Asia for Educators. Retrieved February 27, 2007, “The Opium War and Foreign Encroachment,” from http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/china/modern/opium.htm.
Columbia University, (2006), Asia for Educators. Retrieved February 27, 2007, “Introduction to China’s Modern History.” Web site: http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/china/modern/back.htm.
Columbia University, (2006), Asia for Educators. Retrieved February 27, 2007, “Introduction: Rebellions and Revolts,” Web site: http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/china/modern/rbl tch.htm
Duiker & Spielvogel, William J. (2005). The Essential World History. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Group/Thomson Learning.
Preston, Diana (2000).The Boxer Rising. Asian Affairs31, 26-36.
http://www.digitalmeesh.com/maya/history.htm
http://www.aztec-history.com/aztec-empire.html
http://www.aztec-history.com/aztec-culture.html
http://www.angelfire.com/empire2/ayllu/Incahistory.html

Works Cited:

[1] Welker, G Mayan Civilization. Retrieved February 14, 2007, Web site: http://www.indians.org/welker/maya.htm
[2] Welker, G Mayan Civilization. Retrieved February 14, 2007, Web site: http://www.indians.org/welker/maya.htm
[3] Fowler, W Maya Civilization. (1997). In Microsoft Encarta Online [Web]. Retrieved 2/13/07, from http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761576077_2/Maya_Civilization.html
[4] Lee, A (1997). Mayan Architecture. Retrieved February 14, 2007, Web site: http://library.thinkquest.org/10098/mayan.htm
[5] Aztec. Retrieved February 14, 2007, from Aztec Student Teacher Resource Center Web site: http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/cultural/mesoamerica/aztec.html
[6] Crystal, E Aztec Culture. Retrieved February 14, 2007, from Ancient and Lost Civilizations Web site: http://www.crystalinks.com/azteculture.html
[7] Hooker, R Incas. Retrieved February 14, 2007, Web site: http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/CIVAMRCA/INCAS.HTM
[8] Crystal, E Aztec Culture. Retrieved February 14, 2007, from Ancient and Lost Civilizations Web site: http://www.crystalinks.com/incan.html
[9] (2006). The Inca Economy. Retrieved February 14, 2007, from Inca: The Kings of South America Web site: http://www.tqnyc.org/NYC062611/economy.htm
[10] Sandra Blakeslee. Retrieved February 10th, 2011, from: http://www.nytimes.com/1989/04/04/science/linguists-solve-riddles-of-ancient-mayan-language.html

 

 

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