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Mesoamerica: Maya, Inca and Aztec Civilizations

Mesoamerica: Maya, Inca and Aztec Civilizations

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Mesoamerica: Maya, Inca and Aztec Civilizations

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  1. Mesoamerica: Maya, Inca and Aztec Civilizations Mrs. Walters 6th Grade Social Studies

  2. Image Analysis • What do you find interesting about this image? • What do you find puzzling about this image? • Write down a question to ask the creator about this image?

  3. Continents of the World 7 Continents • North America • South America • Antarctica • Africa • Europe • Asia • Australia BrainPOP

  4. Geography of the Americas • North American continent consists of 24 countries/territories/ islands from Panama to Greenland and the U.S. • Central America is on the North American continent. • North America has the 3rd largest world population with more than 500 million people.

  5. Geography of the Americas • Central America consists of 7 countries. • Central America’s population is 41,739,000. • Spanish is the official language of all Central American countries, except Belize (English). • The most populated Central American country is Guatemala (14 million).

  6. Geography of the Americas • South America consist of 13 countries. • South America’s population is 400,804,000. • Brazil is the most populated country in South America with 198,361,000 people. • Spanish and Portuguese are the predominant languages in South America.

  7. What is Mesoamerica? • Mesoamerica is a region and cultural area that extends from central Mexico down through Central America, including Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador. • As a culture area, Mesoamerica is defined by a variety of cultural traits developed and shared by its indigenous cultures. • Beginning as early as 7000 B.C., the domestication of maize, beans, squash and chili, as well as the turkey and dog caused a transformation from paleo-Indian hunter-gatherer to agricultural villagers. • BrainPOP

  8. POP Quiz • Name the 7 world continents. • Name the largest world continent based on population with 60% of the world’s total population. • How many countries are in the region of Central America? • Name the least populated world continent.

  9. BIG Ideas • Mesoamerican achievements contributed to today’s society. • Geography shapes the civilization. • Adaptations that the Mesoamerican made to their environment allowed for the growth of the civilization. • The Maya developed an advanced civilization that thrived from 250 until the 900s. • The strong Aztec Empire founded in central Mexico in 1325, lasted until the Spanish conquest in 1521. • The Inca controlled a huge empire in South America, but it was conquered by the Spanish.

  10. AZ Standards • (PS) Describe Mayan, Aztec and Incan civilizations. • A. location, agriculture, housing and trade. • B. achievements (e.g., math, astronomy, architecture, government, social structure, arts and crafts) • C. how these cultures adapted and altered their environment • (PS) Analyze the impact of cultural and scientific contributions of ancient civilizations on later civilizations: • D. Central and South America • (PS)Describe the characteristics of hunting and gathering societies in the Americas.

  11. Mesoamerica Timeline • Maya: 250 A.D. – 900 A.D. • 3 Mayan Periods 2000 B.C. – 1500 A.D. • Inca: 1200 A.D. – 1531 A.D. • Aztec: 1250 A.D. – 1519 A.D.

  12. Artifact Analysis • What do you find interesting about this image? • What do you find puzzling about this image? • Write down a question to ask the creator about this image?

  13. Ancient Mayas BrainPOP History Channel

  14. Geography of the Mayan Civilization • The Mayan civilization covered a third of Central America, mostly on the Yucatan Peninsula. They lived in what is now Guatemala, Belize, and southern Mexico. The area is south of the tropic of Cancer and north of the equator. • The topography of the area greatly varied from volcanic mountains, which comprised the highlands in the South, to a porous limestone shelf, known as the Lowlands, in the central and northern regions.

  15. Maya Civilization - Architecture A Maya pyramid is a base with four triangular sides. The Mayas built step pyramids. You could climb them. Pyramids were built to honor their gods and their leaders. Priests climbed the pyramids to conduct ceremonies on the steps where everyone could see them. The most important ceremonies were conducted at the top of the pyramids. Because ceremonies were held at the top of pyramids, Maya pyramids had flat tops. Temples were places of worship, and home to the many priestsof the Maya civilization. At the foot of the temple was typically where the Mayas placed their ball courts. Like the palaces, temples had a central courtyard offering privacy to those who lived there.

  16. Maya Civilization - Architecture

  17. Mayan Agriculture • A method known as slash and burn is one of the oldest methods of farming. • They used this method before they began planting crops. First, the Mayans would cut down all the trees in the area where they wanted to plant the crops. Cutting down the trees was the “slash part” of the slash and burn farming method. • Next, they burned the tree stumps and the trees. The ashes from the fires mixed with the soil. The ashes made the soil fertile. • In the final step, the Mayan farmers planted seeds in the soil and waited for their crops to grow. The crops included maize (corn), squash, beans, chili peppers, and cacao (cocoa), which is used to make chocolate.

  18. Cacao Plant

  19. Mayan Housing • Maya houses were made of perishable organic materials, stone or mud (adobe), then covered with a limestone plaster and roofs made from palm leaves or grasses. • The house was one rectangular room with rounded corners, no windows, and one central door built to face east. • The floor in a Maya home was made of sascab, a foundation of gravel covered with white packed soil.

  20. Maya - Housing

  21. Mayan Government • The Mayan empire was divided into many city-states. Each city-state had its own ruler. His name was halach uinic or “the true or real man.” The Mayas believed halach uinic was a living god. • The Mayas believed halach uinic was a living god. He ruled until his death. At his death, his oldest son became the next halach uinic. • The ruling noble selected a council of elders, warriors, judges, etc. to enforce the laws. • Maya law was very strict. If you stole something and you were caught, you became the captive of your victim. If you committed a lesser crime, your hair would be cut short. Short hair was a sign of disgrace. It was possible that, as a punishment, all your possessions might be sold at auction. 

  22. Mayan Social Structure • King (halach uinic ) or High Priest • Council – Royal Family • The smallest (and most wealthy and powerful) part of Maya social structure was the ruling noble class. Nobility was hereditary, or passed down from one generation to the next, in Maya society. • The middle class within Maya society was made of professionals, government workers, artisans, and merchants. • The middle class was expected to supply some amount of free labor to the upper class, and they tended to make up the middle ranks in the Maya military.

  23. Mayan Social Structure • The people at the bottom of the Maya society were the farmers and slaves. • The farmers and slaves performed most of the hard labor, and of course, the farmers provided the entire society with its most important resource…food. • This structure worked because the lower and middle classes believed that the upper class had been granted the right to rule by the gods. In fact, they probably believed that the nobles were somehow descendant from the gods.

  24. Religion • The Maya worshipped many gods, including a creator, a sun god, a moon goddess, and a maize god. Each god was believed to control a difference aspect, a part of something, of daily life. • According to Maya beliefs, the gods could be helpful or harmful, so people tried to please the gods to get their help. The Maya believed their gods needed blood to prevent disasters or the end of the world. Every person offered blood to the gods by piercing their tongue or skin. On special occasions, the Maya also made human sacrifices. They usually used prisoners captured in battle, offering their hearts to stone carvings of the gods.

  25. Mayan Achievements • The Mayan Game: Courts had a large playing area. There was a stone hoop mounted in the wall at one end. The Mayas used the ball courts to play a ball game they called pok-a-tok. • Astronomy: To study the heavens, the Mayas built large observatories in many of their cities. The observatory at Chichén Itzá is one of the important Mayan buildings that still stands. • Calendar: Mayas invented a calendar of remarkable accuracy and complexity based on astronomy and a 365 day system. 18 months of 20 days each month. • Mayans used the calendar for farming, planning attacks on enemies and religious holidays.

  26. Maya Civilization - Astronomy An advanced system of astronomy was also developed by the Mayas. The priest studied the movements of the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars. They could predict eclipses and the orbit of the planet Venus. The Mayas believed that the heavenly bodies were gods. If they studied the sky, the Mayas hoped to learn to predict events on earth that these gods controlled.

  27. Mayan Achievements • Math: The Mayans had a number system consisting of shells, dots, and lines. The Maya were one of the only ancient civilizations that understood the concept of zero. This allowed them to write very large numbers. • They commonly used three symbols: a dot (1), a bar (5), and a shell-like shape (0). The Maya were perhaps the first people to use the idea of a zero.

  28. Circle Map Early Maya

  29. Image Analysis • What do you find interesting about this image? • What do you find puzzling about this image? • Write down a question to ask the creator about this image?

  30. Ancient Incas BrainPOP

  31. Geography of the Inca Civilization • The Inca Empire was located in South America in the Andes mountains in what is now Peru, Ecuador, and Chile. • Cuzco is the capital city of the Inca Empire.

  32. Inca Government • The Sapa Inca ruled everything with absolute power. • The ancient Incas believed The Sapa Inca was a descendant of the gods and they worshipped him as both a god and a ruler. • Supreme Council (4 men) • Provincial Governors • Officials: (army officers, priests, judges, and others from the noble class) These individuals could ride in a litter and had other special privileges not enjoyed by the general population. • Tax collectors • Workers: At the bottom of the pyramid were the workers. Workers were organized into family units called ayllus. Most of the people in the Inca Empire were workers.

  33. Religion • The Inca social structure was partly related to religion. For example, the Incas thought that their rulers were related to the sun god and never really died. As a result, priests brought mummies of former kings to many ceremonies. People gave these royal mummies food and gifts. • Inca ceremonies often included sacrifices. But unlike the Maya and the Aztecs, the Incas rarely sacrificed humans. Instead they sacrificed llamas, cloth, or food. • In addition to practicing the official religion, people outside Cuzco worshipped other gods at local sacred places. The Incas believed certain mountaintops, rocks, and springs had magical powers. Many Incas performed sacrifices at these places as well as at the temple in Cuzco.

  34. Inca Agriculture • The mountains presented farmers with special challenges. To create enough flat land for the crops, the Incas carved flat step-like terraces into the mountain sides. • The terraces also helped to keep the soil from being eroded, or wasted away. • The terraces also helped to keep rainwater from running off. • They reduced erosion. • The government built raised aqueducts to carry water to farmlands for irrigation. • Modern Andes farmers still use many of the ancient Inca terraces • The Incas were great farmers. The three staple crops were corn, potatoes, and quinoa - quinoa seeds were used to make cereal, flour, and soups.

  35. Agriculture - Inca The Inca used guano, or bird dung, as fertilizer to help create bigger harvests on these terraced fields.

  36. Inca Architecture • The Incas were master builders. They had the best planned cities in the ancient Americas. • Each city had a central plaza, with the major temples and public buildings surrounding it • Architecture was by far the most important of the Inca arts. The breathtaking site of Machu Picchu was constructed by Inca engineers. • The Incas built a network of roads and suspension bridges to link the vast Inca Empire.