The cultures and civilizations of the americas
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The cultures and civilizations of the “Americas”. Where did the Native Americans come from?. Migrations from Asia ca. 30,000 – 15,000 yrs ago over Bering strait land bridge ; Isolated for at least 15,000 years!. Kingdoms and & Empires of the Americas.

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Migrations from Asia ca. 30,000 – 15,000 yrs ago over Bering strait land bridge; Isolated for at least 15,000 years!



Who was in meso america middle america
Who was in Meso-America? (“Middle America”)

  • Olmec

  • Teotihuacan

  • Maya

  • Toltec

  • Aztec


Olmec
OLMEC

  • 1500 -300 BCE; Gulf of Mexico

  • Carved enormous stone heads of volcanic rock

  • Chief god - human-like with jaguar face

  • urban centers; astronomy

  • Kings, elite, merchants, laborers

  • Hieroglyphics; calendar

  • Corn, beans, squash, manioc

Former kings?


Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan

  • Temples

  • Quetzalcoatl

  • Chinampas

  • Apartment housing for commoners

  • Obsidian tools

  • Aristocratic govt

  • Military protected long distance trade

  • Decline – violence…


Pyramid of the sun

Teotihuacan

Pyramid of the Sun

Pyramid of the Moon



MAYA

  • Yucatan Peninsula

  • City States; hereditary

  • Swidden agriculture; no metal tools

  • Complex religion - 3 layers (heavens, now and underworld); trances

  • Elite, tatoos, human sacrifice (elite capt)

  • Writing, ball playing (pok-a-tok), astronomy,

  • Calendar (365) math system(zero)

  • Elite women – high; women important

  • demise - war, drought, infighting

**Mayan math computation


Mayan calendar

Ritual “divine” cycle calendar

Solar “civil” calendar

“long count” calendar

Mayan Calendar

  • first date is actually written 13.0.0.0.0.

  • three possible equivalences:

  • 13.0.0.0.0 = 13 Aug 3114 BCE (Gregorian)13.0.0.0.0 = 11 Aug 3114 BCE (Gregorian)13.0.0.0.0 = 15 Oct 3374 BC (Gregorian)

  • Assuming one of the first two equivalences, the Long Count will again reach 13.0.0.0.0 on 21 or 23 December AD 2012

  • 13.0.0.0.0 may have been the Mayas' idea of the date of the creation of the world.





Toltec
Toltec

  • Transmitted Teotihuacan & Mayan culture to the Aztecs

  • Conquest state; military power

  • Violent culture

  • Rivalries

  • Tula art -----

  • Decline & invasion by the Aztecs



Aztecs
AZTECS

  • Nomads; settled on islands

  • in Lake Texcoco

  • Adopted agriculture; gradually grew into an independent power, then empire

  • Capital city - Tenochtitlan –

  • Ruler chosen by nobility

  • War – religious significance (of course) – legitimized the ruler

  • War also increased holdings of nobles

  • War to get captives for human sacrifice


  • Society - hierarchy with Aztec ruler & nobility at top & slaves/criminals/debtors at bottom; women had rights

  • Tremendous inequalities - nobility vs commoners

  • Elaborate ritual; Huitzilopochtli; war/sun

  • Human sacrifice

  • Political tribute system; pd in food; goods

  • Economic: chinampas; barter

  • Dike in lake: salt/fresh water


Who was in meso america middle america1
Who was in Meso-America? (“Middle America”)

  • Olmec

  • Teotihuacan

  • Maya

  • Toltec

  • Aztec



Huitzilopochtli god of war sun needed human hearts
Huitzilopochtligod of war & sunneeded human hearts


Tlaloc god of rain
TlalocGod of Rain


Quetzalcoatl god of wind knowledge
Quetzalcoatlgod of wind & knowledge



Aztec society in transition
Aztec Society in Transition

  • Increasingly hierarchical

  • Conflict between nobles and growing “middle”

  • Violence

  • Discontent tribute tribes; sacrifice!

  • Empire under Montezuma II conquered by Spaniards (Cortes)



Andean societies environmental challenges
Andean Societiesenvironmentalchallenges…

Moche


Andean cultures
Andean Cultures

  • Background:

  • Early – small coastal & foothills villages

  • by 2600 BCE cf - Old Kingdom Egypt

    Chavin (900-250 BCE)

  • Trade routes; controlled; linked regions

  • Maize <----> quinoa, potatoes, llamas

  • Adobe & stone; 1st metals; jaguar-man

  • Social stratification: priests, elite, etc.


Technologies to meet the needs
Technologies to meet the needs

  • Compensations:

  • Calendar

  • New varieties potatoes & grains

  • Terraced farming

  • Freeze-dried vegetables & meat

  • Llama & alpaca wool

  • Environmental challenges:

  • Altitude

  • Frosts

  • Arid / drought

  • Only llamas!


Andean culture
Andean culture

  • Khipus

  • Ayllu

  • Hereditary aristocracy & kings

  • Mit’a

  • Coca (not cacao)

  • Colonists



Moche
Moche

  • Ca. 600 CE

  • Maize, quinoa, beans, manioc, sweet potatoes

  • Irrigation, canals, aqueducts

  • Alpacas & llamas

  • Textiles

  • Stratified society; theocratic

  • Women weavers




INCA

  • huge empire & strong central gov’t

  • extending length of South America

  • Large professional military

  • Built paved roads & suspension bridges - used running messengers; quipus

  • Pastoralists; men and women

  • Capital Cuzco; sun god; royal family

  • Local rulers/chiefdoms; control by hostage taking


Inca terraces machu picchu
Inca terraces;Machu Picchu




Northern peoples
Northern Peoples

Southwestern desert

  • Aztec influence incl. maize, squash, beans

  • Hohokam irrigation canals

  • Anasazi – kivas; cliff dwellings & canyon “appts”, pottery, weaving

  • Chaco canyon; Mesa Verde



Mississippian culture

  • Oldest mounds – 3000’s BCE

  • “mound-builders”

  • Chiefdoms

  • “Hopewell” cultures

  • Towns – central plaza surrounded by mounds; burial mounds, temple mounds

  • Social stratification; trade

  • (not accepted as product of the Native Americans until late 1800’s!)


How mississippian towns might have looked
How Mississippian towns might have looked


Cahokia mounds city illinois
Cahokia mounds city; Illinois

Had more inhabitants than Paris at that time (1150)



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