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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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slide3
Migrations from Asia ca. 30,000 – 15,000 yrs ago over Bering strait land bridge; Isolated for at least 15,000 years!
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…
slide10
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
slide18
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
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 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
slide36
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
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
slide44
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!)
cahokia mounds city illinois
Cahokia mounds city; Illinois

Had more inhabitants than Paris at that time (1150)

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