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The Americas: The Aztec & the Inca. Mr. Fenlon AP World History NHSS. The Aztecs. Rise of the Aztecs. Aztecs (Mexica) migrate to Lake Texcoco in central Mexico c. 1325 Founded city of Tenochtitlan in 1325 Empire started in 1434

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The Americas: The Aztec & the Inca

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The americas the aztec the inca

The Americas: The Aztec & the Inca

Mr. Fenlon

AP World History


The aztecs

The Aztecs

Rise of the aztecs

Rise of the Aztecs

  • Aztecs (Mexica) migrate to Lake Texcoco in central Mexico c. 1325

  • Founded city of Tenochtitlan in 1325

  • Empire started in 1434

  • Aztec kings represented civil power and served as a representative of the gods on Earth

Aztec government

Aztec Government

  • City-states ruled by a speaker chosen from the nobility

  • The Great Speaker, ruler of Tenochtitlan, was in effect an emperor

    • Increasingly considered a living god

  • Conquered peoples maintained some autonomy if they paid tribute

Aztec religion

Aztec Religion

  • Aztec maintained traditional deities of Mesoamerica

    • 128 major deities

  • Huitzilopochtli (right) was the Aztec tribal patron and patron deity of the cult of warfare and sacrifice

Human sacrifice

Human Sacrifice

  • Human sacrifice was a typical part of Mesoamerican religion

    • Aztec expand practice into a cult where military supplied war captives for sacrifice

  • Why?

    • Political purposes

    • Population control

    • Cannibal kingdom

Human sacrifice1

Human Sacrifice



  • On an island in Lake Texcoco

  • Aztecs called it the “foundation of Heaven”

  • By 1519 had a population of 150,000

  • Connected by causeways and canals

Tenochtitlan the venice of the americas

Tenochtitlan “The Venice of the Americas

Aztec economy

Aztec Economy

  • Agriculture

    • Food often provided as tribute

    • Built chinampas

  • Pochteca was a special merchant class which specialized in long-distance luxury trade

  • Cacao beans and gold dust were used as currency; bartering was most common



Chinampas were man-made floating islands 17’ long x 100’ to 300’ feet wide. Aztecs built over 20,000 acres of chinampas.



Aztec society

Aztec Society

  • Originally divided into seven clans called calpulli

    • Calpulli redistributed land, organized labor gangs & military units, maintained temples & schools

  • Eventually a class of nobility emerged

    • Nobility controlled the priesthood & military

Aztec society1

Aztec Society

  • Women’s primary role was the household

    • Women spent six hours a day grinding corn; restricted women’s rights

  • Marriages were arranged

  • Polygamy existed amongst the nobility

  • Women could inherit property

The inca

The Inca

Rise of inca

Rise of Inca

  • Founded by Quechua-speaking clans, ayllus, living near Cuzco c. 1350

  • Inca (ruler) Pachacuti expanded the empire from 1438-1471

    • Built Machu Picchu

  • Expansion continued after Pachacuti’s death

Machu picchu

Machu Picchu

Machu picchu1

Machu Picchu

Conquest religion

Conquest & Religion

  • Expansion motivated by split inheritance

  • Polytheistic

    • Sun God was the primary god

  • Influenced by animism

    • Mountains, rivers, etc. were considered holy shrines

Temple of the Sun in Machu Picchu

Inca government

Inca Government

  • Inca was considered almost a god

  • Divided empire into four provinces

  • Developed a bureaucracy run by nobles

    • Nobility drawn from the ten ayllus

  • Local rulers maintained their positions

  • Colonized conquered areas

    • Relocated some conquered peoples

Inca economy

Inca Economy

  • Unlike Aztecs, not a lot of trade

    • Tried to be self-sufficient

  • Primarily agricultural

    • Terrace farming & complex irrigation

    • Over 200 types of potatoes

  • Inca Socialism

  • Used forced labor for massive projects

    • Mita

Terrace farming

Terrace Farming

Inca society

Inca Society

  • Inca emphasis on military reinforced gender inequality

  • Women worked in the fields, wove cloth, and cared for the household

    • Women worshipped fertility deities

  • Recognize parallel descent

    • Women passed rights and property to their daughters

Inca technology

Inca Technology

  • Built a complex system of roads and bridges

    • 2500 miles of roads

    • Used a system of runners to carry messages throughout the empire

  • Beautiful pottery, cloth, and metalworking

  • Quipu

  • Masonry

Bridges and roads

Bridges and Roads



Inca metalworking

Inca Metalworking

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