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By Jose Rosario
Empires of the Americas
By Jose Rosario
The Maya Empire
1. The Maya civilization is a Mesoamerican civilization.
a.They had the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas. b.And spectacular art, monumental architecture, & sophisticated mathematical &
2. The Mayas established in Central America and the Yucatan Peninsula during the Preclassic period (c. 250 to 900 AD). a.By the arrival of the Spanish the Maya Civilization was not longer there. b.At its peak, it was one of the most densely populated & culturally dynamic
3. The first clearly “Maya” settlements were established in approximately 1800 BC in Soconusco region of the Pacific Coast.
a. Archaeological evidence suggests the construction of ceremonial architecture in Maya area by approximately 1000 BC. b.Evidence suggests that these cultures and the formative Maya
4. The Classic period (c. 250 - 900) was the peak of large-scale construction and urbanism.
a.They developed a city-centered empire consisting of numerous independent city-states. b.Including well-known cities of Tikal, Palenque, Copán and Calakmul, & lesser known cities. c.They built pyramids as their religious centers and palaces of their rulers. d.Other important archaeological remains include the carved stone slabs usually called stelae.
5. The Maya centers went into decline during the 8th & 9th centuries and were abandoned shortly thereafter. a.This decline was coupled with a cessation of monumental inscriptions and large-scale architectural construction. b.Although there is no universally accepted theory to explain this “collapse,” current theories fall into two categories: c. Non-ecological theories: foreign invasion, peasant revolt, &/or the collapse of key trade routes. d.Ecological hypotheses: environmental catastrophe, epidemic disease, & climate change.
6. The Maya peoples never disappeared.
a. Today, the Maya & their descendants form sizeable populations throughout the Maya area & maintain a distinctive set of traditions & beliefs that are the result of the merger of pre-Columbian & post-Conquest ideologies (& structured by the almost total
By Jose Rosario
The Aztec Empire
1. The true origin of the Aztecs is uncertain.
a. According to their legends, the Aztec's place of origin was Aztlán. b.It is generally thought that Aztlán was somewhere to the north of the Valley of Mexico; some experts have placed it as far north as the Southwestern
2. It appears that the Mexicans arrived at Chapultepec in or around the year 1248 AD.
a. At the time of their arrival, the Valley of Mexico contained many city-states, like Culhuacan & Azcapotzalco. Azcapotzalco b. According to Aztec legend, the Aztecs were shown a vision of an eagle perched on a prickly pear cactus, clutching a snake in its talons. c. This vision indicated that this was the location where they were to build their home. d. The Aztecs arrived on a small swampy island in Lake Texcoco where they founded the town of Tenochtitlan in 1325. e. In 1376, the Mexicas elected their first Huey Tlatoani, Acamapichtli, who was living in Acamapichtli Texcoco at the time.
3. The Aztecs is a collective term used for all of the Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican peoples under the control of the Mexica, Mexica founders of Tenochtitlan, & their two Tenochtitlan principal allies, who built an extensive empire in the late Post-classic period in the 14th , 15th & 16th centuries in Central Mexico. Mexico
a.After the 1521 conquest of Tenochtitlan by Spanish forces and their allies which brought about the effective end of Aztec dominion, b.The Spanish founded the new settlement of Mexico City on the site of the now-ruined Aztec capital. c.The capital of the modern-day nation of Mexico, the greater metropolitan area of Mexico City now covers much of the Valley of Mexico and the now-drained Lake of Texcoco.
4. The nucleus of the Aztec Empire was the Valley of Mexico, where their capital Tenochtitlan was built upon raised islets in Lake Texcoco. Texcoco
5. Aztec culture had rich & complex mythological & religious traditions.
a.For Europeans, the most striking element of the Aztec culture was the practice of human sacrifice which was conducted throughout Mesoamerica prior to the Spanish conquest. b.While human sacrifice was practiced throughout Mesoamerica, under the Aztecs this practice to an unprecedented level. Ex., for the reconsecration of Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan in 1487, the Aztecs
By Jose Rosario
The Inca Empire
1. The Incas had various origin myths. These myths have been transmitted via oral tradition, since the Incas did not develop writing.
2. The Inca people began as a tribe in the Cuzco area around the 12th century.
a.Under the leadership of Manco Capac, Capac they formed the small city-state of Cuzco. b.In 1438 they began a far-reaching expansion under the command of Sapa Inca Pachacuti. Pachacuti c.Pachacuti reorganized the kingdom into an empire, a federalist system which consisted of a central government with the Inca at its head d.Pachacuti sent spies to regions he wanted in his empire; they brought
3. The most powerful figure in the empire was the Sapa Inca ('the unique Inca'). a.Only descendants of the original Inca tribe ever ascended to the level of Inca. b.Most young members of the Inca's family attended Yachay Wasis (houses of knowledge) to obtain their education. c.There were separate chains of command for both the military and religious institutions, which created a system of partial checks
4. Architecture was by far the most important of the Inca arts, with pottery and textiles reflecting motifs that were at their height in architecture. a.The breathtaking site of Machu Picchu was constructed by Inca engineers. b.Amaranth was one of the staple foods of the Incas, and it is known as kiwicha in the Andes today. c. Native Americans were responsible for some of the world’s most prolific crops, including tomatoes, peppers, lima beans, ancient ancestors to modern squash and, most importantly, the potato. d.Maize (Corn) was also deeply integrated into Inca agriculture and daily life.