Meso America

January 15, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: History, World History, Aztec
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Meso-Americans "You want answers?" "I think I'm entitled." "You want answers?" "I want the truth!" "You can't handle the truth!"

Religions Movie A Few Good Men

Meso-America Background – The societies of North and South America developed in isolation – Settled around 15,000 to 30,000 years ago – Crossed the land bridge from Asia to Americas – By 9,000 B.C.E. all of North and South America had been settled. – Because of their different locations of settlement groups developed unique social, cultural and linguistic characteristics

Meso-American Background – Many of these groups reached advanced stages of civilization some without developing a written language or development of the wheel. – Many of these societies stayed in isolation even from one another until the arrival of Columbus in 1492.

Meso-American Hunter-Gathers – Early Native Americans were hunter-gathers – Around 1000 C.E. the number of tribes and the size of the tribes increased dramatically – Limited form of gender division

Mayans From about 300 B.C.E. to 800 C.E. Dominated Mexico and Central America Civilization was a collection of city-states – All city states were ruled by the same king

Built pyramids and used hieroglyphic – Like the Egyptians

Temple I at Tikal, Guatemala

Temple of the Inscriptions at Palenque, Mexico

Compare and Contrast

The impressive Temple of Kukulkan or El Castillo, at Chichen Itza

The Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

Mayan The Golden Age – 500 C.E. to 850 C.E. – Developed a complex calendar system The calendar was based on a number system that included zero

– Developed systems of creating large and efficiently run cities The city of Tikal may have been populated by more than 100,000 people.

Mayan Calendar

Believing that time repeated itself in cycles, they devised two calendars, one ritualistic, which was used for religious celebrations and astrological predictions, and the other a solar calendar. Both calendars were based on the calculation that a year had a little more than 365 days, a more precise system than the Gregorian calendar.

City of Tikal

View of Tikal

Mayans The division of the Mayan Cosmos Heaven gods who created the Mayans

Humans Created by the gods out of Maize and water


Mayans Religion – Believed that the gods maintained the agricultural cycles. – Believed that the gods created the cosmos and humans – Believed that the gods had to be honored with sacrifices and bloodletting rituals

Warfare – Very religious – Religious rituals would proceed wars – King and nobles would actively participate in combat – Warfare was used not to gain land but to take slaves

Mayans Social Systems – Agricultural society – Most people were peasants or slaves – Salves were the primary source of labor for the Mayans – Kings, priests and nobles were at the at the top of society – Merchants enjoyed a high social status

Mayans Class question – Why were slaves needed for building? – What didn’t the Mayans have access to?

Mayans Large domesticated animals to work the fields and to build temples.

Mayans Agriculture and trade – Used advanced crop techniques Ridged or terraced fields

– Irrigation and water collection systems – Crops of cotton and maize Known for elaborate cotton textiles

Society Temples Sports – Mayan Ball Game


Rise and Fall of Empires Class Question – We know why empires are created Location Strong militaries Trade Strong leader

– But why do empires fall? Discuss reasons why you think empires and civilizations fall

Mayan Decline – It is unknown why the Mayan civilization declined Possible reasons include – Disease – Drought – Internal unrest

– In the 800’s the Mayans deserted their cities and the empire died.

The Aztecs Trade and Sacrifice

Aztecs Arrived in Central Mexico around 1200 C.E. Built their capital (Tenochtitlan) on what is today Mexico City – It was estimated that Tenochtitlan was inhabited by 200,000 and maybe upwards of 500,000 people.

Aztecs were known for their – – – –

Strong professional military Expansion of territory Tribute system Alliances

Aztecs-City of Tenochtitlan

Aztecs-City of Tenochtitlan


CHAC-XIB-CHAC OR GOD GI Chac-Xib-Chac is a mysterious god associated with the sacrificial dance

Aztecs Social Classes – Warriors were the elite class They were small in number

– Merchants held high status in Aztec society – Most people were peasants or slaves who worked the land – As with the Mayans the Aztec needed slaves to build the cities and work the fields and for sacrifice

Aztec The Aztec Nation – It is estimated that the Aztecs controlled about 12 million people at the height of their empire – Some of the territory was gained through conquest and others through alliances – There was no bureaucratic or centralized government to run the empire – Areas under the control of the Aztecs were allowed to run themselves while paying tribute to the Aztecs – Roads were built to link the territory of the empire

Aztecs Warfare – The main purpose of the military was not to gain land but to capture soldiers and people for religious sacrifices – The military and religion were closely linked.

Aztecs Religion – The Aztecs worshiped numerous gods – As with the Mayans the Aztecs felt that their gods needed to be honored with human sacrifices – Sacrifices would be held on holidays, for the dedication of temples, and for future good fortune i.e. good crops – It is estimated that tens of thousands of people were sacrificed each year.

Aztecs Women – – – –

Were seen as second class citizens Could inherit property Charged with running the household Manufactured crafts, clothes and weaving and because of this did control some of the commerce and trade

Aztec v. Romans Aztecs – Built a large empire – Used roads to tie the empire together – Allowed the people they governed to rule themselves – Demanded tribute from conquered people – Use of slaves – Able to use and adapt ideas of conquered people to their own society

Romans – Built a large empire – Used roads to tie the empire together – Allowed the people they governed to rule themselves – Demanded tribute from conqueror people – Use of slaves – Able to use and adapt ideas of conquered people to their own society

Aztecs As we will see later the Aztec civilization and empire was no match for the Spanish would arrive shortly after Columbus

The Incas

Incas Rose up and built their empire around the 1300’s and lasted until around 1536 Set in the Andes Mountains in Peru The empire span between 2 to 3 thousand miles of mostly the South American coastline from Chile to Ecuador and from the Pacific coast to the upper Amazon Their land was called the “Land of the Four Corners”

Incas The Empire – While most the land that the Incas controlled was mountainous they used elaborate roads to link their territory – The Incas built and maintained between 13,000 and 19,000 miles of road The roads were used for communication and trade

– The roads linked large cities such as the capital Cuzco and the fortress Machu Picchu It is estimated that about 300,000 people lived in Cuzco in the late 1400’s

Incas Society – The king (Great Inca) was believed to be a descendent of the sun god – The military was important to ensure loyalty in the empire – Nobility ran the government – Merchants controlled the trade and economy – Most people however were peasants – The Incas had no concept of private property The ruler because he descended from the sun god owned all property

Incas Religion – The Incas were Polytheistic – The sun god was the most important god – Human sacrifice was practiced but at a smaller level. Often times material property or animals would be sacrificed

– Inca kings who were thought to be gods were mummified at death – Temples were built for worship The Temple at Cuzco was lined with gold and was staffed by a thousand virgins

– Inca religion was moralistic Praise for good punish for bad

Incas Class question – What other empire and people would you compare the Inca religion to? – Explain why

Incas Women – Both worked in the fields and care for the household – Could pass property on to the daughter – Played a role in the economy by manufacturing clothing and crafts – Even allowed to participate in religious ceremonies

Incas Conclusion – They were expert builders as shown by their roads, temples and large cities – The did not produce a written language – Developed a religion based on gods but also on a moral code – Women played a more extensive role in society

Incas In 1532 the Incas would become like the Aztecs no match for the Spanish

Native Americans of North America

Anasazi Lived in the region of New Mexico, Arizona between 330 C.E. to about 1300 Mostly likely learned farming from trading with advanced civilizations in Mexico Lived in complex housing called pueblos Developed and extensive network of roads and trade between Mexico, the Southwestern America and the northern and eastern portions of the America

Anasazi Believed that humans sprung from the ground Religious ceremonies were held underground It is not believed that they conducted human sacrifices There is also no evidence that they held slaves Possible descendents of the Anasazi are the Pueblos In Pueblo society the women are the head of the household and hold all property This too may have been the case with the Anasazi –

Tribes in the Northeast like the Iroquois also followed the practice of women being head of the household and owning all property

Anasazi It is unknown why or what happened to the Anasazi civilization two possible answers were drought or disease

Mound Builders Ohio and Mississippi Valley Civilizations – – – –

These Native American built mounds probably for ceremony The Adena from 500 B.C.E to 100 C.E. The Hopewell from 100 C.E. to 400 C.E. The Mississippian (500 C.E to 1500 C.E.) also built mounds but also built cities Cahokia the largest city is estimated to hold about 30,000 people but was abandoned in 1250 C.E. for unknown reasons

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