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The Americas - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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The Americas

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  1. Before Contact with Europeans The Americas

  2. Introduction • Migration to the Americas • Early migrations from northern Asia to Alaska – occurred 35,000 to 15,000 years ago • Some contact with Polynesians possible • Geography • Great geographical diversity – frozen regions, tropical rain forests, vast plains, heavily forested areas, and high mountain ranges • Made farming impossible in some areas • Long distance between arable areas made contact between groups difficult • Two main areas of agriculture • Mesoamerica- Mexico and Central America • Andean Mountain region – along the west coast of S. America

  3. Olmecs

  4. Early American Civilizations • Olmecs (1200-400 BCE) • Society • Authoritarian and Hierarchial • Priestly class • Ruler and his family • Artisans and merchants • Labor class • Political • Form of kingship • Giant sculptures of heads.Evidence of power of the ruling family. • Fall was due to internal conflict

  5. Early American Civilizations • Olmecs • Cultural – SEE MAYANS!! • Economic • Agricultural-based economy • No large beasts of burden (horse, oxen) • No wheeled vehicles • Human labor did all the work • BUT: Built elaborate drainage systems • Traded various products – salt, cacao, clay and limestone • Developed religious centers which grew into city-states

  6. Chavin

  7. Early American Civilizations • Chavin (900 – 250 BCE) • Social • Hierarchal • Ruler and his family • Priestly class • Artisans and merchants • Commoners • Political • Empires were created to control 3 ecological zones (coastal plains, mountain valleys, and tropical rain forests and connecting trade routes) • Some evidence of irrigation projects and organized military • Shows political power of the central government

  8. Early American Civilizations • Chavin • Cultural • Chavin religion spread to other areas, perhaps Meso-America • Economic • Chavin capital, Chavin de Huantar was situated along long distance trade routes • Trade between west coast of S. America and Andes mountain region • Agriculture-based economy • Used llamas to carry things up and down the mountains

  9. Mayan Empire

  10. Classical American Civilizations • Maya (300-900 CE) • Social • Rigid and strict classes • Political • Rulers performed both priestly and political functions • Rulers NOT divine but able to communicate with gods and ancestor spirits • Fall of the Mayan Empire • Around 800 CE – Mayan population moved out of cities which soon fell into decline • No evidence as to why – possible explanations include foreign invasion, civil war, disease

  11. Classical American Civilizations • Maya • Cultural • Religion • Polytheistic • Some rituals called for human sacrifice • Victims were prisoners of war • Mayan priests constructed very advanced calendar for religious ceremonies, planting/harvesting crops • Economic • Agriculture-based economy • Practiced slash and burn agriculture • Also built terraced fields along the river banks • Cities – built large cities • Primarily religious and administrative cities

  12. Classical American Civilizations • Maya • Economic • Cities (cont.) • Little trade conducted within the cities • Included large pyramids, houses for the elite, ritual ball courts • Memorial alters and pillars • To honor great actions of leaders • Inscribed with pictograms (similar to hieroglyphics)

  13. Classical American Civilizations • Teotihuacan (300-750 CE) • Social • Priests were an important part of the elite class • Political • Teotihuacan was the name of the capital city • City was well planned • Evidence of group of powerful families ruling cooperatively • Cultural – See Aztecs!!

  14. Teotihuacan

  15. Classical American Civilizations • Teotihuacan • Economic • Agriculture-based economy • Irrigation produced abundance of crops • Trade • Unlike the Mayans, the Teotihuacan had a large class of professional merchants who traded their products

  16. Toltecs

  17. Post-Classical American Civilizations • Toltecs (950-1150 CE) • Social • The priestly class was important part of the elite class • Emphasis on military prowess • Led to rise of an elite warrior class from which rulers would emerge • Political • Created an extensive Empire from Central Mexicoto Yucatan Peninsula to Guatemala • A strong militaristic legacy • Allowed the Toltecsconquer or intimidate neighboring peoples • Required “tribute” – in the form of treasure, food, prisoners/slaves

  18. Post-Classical American Civilizations • Toltecs • Political • Had 2 rulers instead of 1, leading to internal conflicts • Decline due to internal fragmentation • Cultural • Relied heavily on religious sacrifices to satisfy the gods

  19. Post-Classical American Civilizations • Toltecs • Economic • Agriculture-based economy • The exchange of turquoise with people in the American Southwest • Tributary payment from surrounding areas was a large part of the Toltec economy

  20. Aztecs

  21. Post-Classical Civilizations • Aztecs • Social • Militaristic aristocrats headed the social structure • Priests were advisors to the king and performed religious rituals • Warrior class – came from ordinary freemen who proved themselves in battle • Merchant class – conducted long-distance trade • Serfs/Freemen • Slaves – mainly prisoners of war or debtors • Women were subservient to menbut those who bore warrior sons were given higher status

  22. Post-Classical American Civilizations • Aztecs • Political • Tenochtitlan was the capital city • Emperor appointed military governors to rule over conquered peoples • Empire stretched from Central Mexico to Guatemala • Aztec military power - Led to tributary empire • Conquered peoples had to pay tribute – such as food, luxury goods, and prisoners

  23. Post-Classical American Civilizations • Aztecs • Cultural • Religion played an extremely important role in Aztec culture • Large step pyramids • Religion provided political legitimacy • Human sacrifice practiced extensively • Victims were mainly prisoners of war

  24. Post-Classical American Civilizations • Aztecs • Economic • Agriculture-based economy • Innovations include chinampas – floating islands for growing food • Led to increase food production • Tribute system • Gov’t controlled the distribution of tribute to the population – noble class received the majority and commoners received much less • Long-distance trade • Traded for luxury goods with neighboring peoples • Carried by slaves or serfs because there were no beasts of burden

  25. Inca Empire

  26. Post-Classical American Civilizations • Incas (1100-1540 CE) • Social • INCA (Emperor) was on top • Aristocratic class – served emperor as advisors and governors • Priests • Warrior class • Peasants – organized into communities • Patriarchal but women did have the ability to inherit property

  27. Post-Classical American Civilizations • Incas • Political • Cuzco was the capital • The Inca/Emperor owned all property and the commoners worked for the Inca • Mit’a system = all commoners owed required labor to the state for a certain number of months each year, to build temples, roads, etc. • The Inca/Emperor controlled the empire with: • Vast and powerful military • Extensive network of roads • Alliances were made with neighboring rulers who swore allegiance to the Inca and were allowed to keep their ruling positions

  28. Post-Classical American Civilizations • Incas • Cultural • Religion played an important role in the Inca Empire • Temples were built for religious rituals • Human sacrifice was practiced but NOT as much or as frequently as the Aztecs • Victims were mainly prisoners of war or as tribute given by neighboring peoples • The Incas had no written language • Relied on system of knots (quipu)

  29. Post-Classical American Civilizations • Incas • Economic • Agriculture-based economy • Innovations included terraced farming to utilize the mountains • Agricultural surplus was owned by the state and stored in state storehouses • For use in times of shortages or famine • Mit’a system created a more socialized economy – people didn’t “own” property but instead worked for the good of the Inca people • No distinct merchant class • Long distance trade was LESS important than the Aztecs due to self-sufficiency and state regulation of production and surplus