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Mesoamerican Cultures: Maya, Aztec, Inca

Mesoamerican Cultures: Maya, Aztec, Inca. Global History: Spiconardi. Maya. Periods Pre-classic: (c. 2000 BC to 250 AD) Classic: (c. 250 AD to 900 AD) Post-classic: (900 AD to 1500s AD). Maya. Location: Modern day southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras. Maya.

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Mesoamerican Cultures: Maya, Aztec, Inca

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  1. Mesoamerican Cultures: Maya, Aztec, Inca Global History: Spiconardi

  2. Maya • Periods • Pre-classic: (c. 2000 BC to 250 AD) • Classic: (c. 250 AD to 900 AD) • Post-classic: (900 AD to 1500s AD)

  3. Maya • Location: • Modern day southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras

  4. Maya • Social Structure

  5. Maya • Religion • Believed each day was a living god • Had to please the gods via sacrifice • Piercing of bodies with needle • Also done to show fierceness of a warrior • Flowers & incense

  6. Maya • Religion (Con’t.) • Human Sacrifice • Sacrificed prisoners of war, slaves, and children • Children were preferable as they were pure • Victim painted blue, had chest cut open, and heart removed • Drug Use • Smoked a strong tobacco w/hallucinogenic effects • Drank fermented water, honey, and tree bark drink

  7. Maya • Farm, Trade, and Agriculture • Slash-and-burn farming clear land by burning current vegetation and planting new crops in the ashes • No Formal Currency…Used the cocoa beans as $ • Counterfeit cocoa beans • Some merchants would remove the cocoa from the bean and refill it with wax

  8. Maya • Achievements • Hieroglyphic symbols • Only Mesoamerican culture to have a complete writing system • Concept of zero & counting system • Calendar • Only .0002 days short; extremely accurate • Predicted the end of the world 12/2012

  9. MesoamericanBallgame

  10. Maya: Collapse Theories Non-ecological Ecological 200 year drought? Overuse of slash & burn? Disease? • Overpopulation? • Peasant revolts? • Foreign invasion? • Disruption of key trade routes?

  11. The Aztec

  12. Aztec • Tenochtitlan • A group of people first known as the Mexicas, later the Aztecs, found the city of Tenochtitlan (modern day Mexico City) in 1315. • Tenochtitlan became an urban center that was larger than European capitals • Dubbed the “Venice of the New World”

  13. Aztec • Tribute System • The Aztecs ruled their empire by indirect means • Instead of exerting their supreme authority on conquered people, they demanded tribute. • Conquered leaders were even restored to their positions i.e. feathers, greenstones, cloth, firewood, and food

  14. Aztec • Cocoa Plant • Like the Maya, the Aztec used cocoa as currency • 20 beans a year could support a commoner • A man could sell his daughter as a sacrifice or sex slave for upwards of 500 beans • Beverages • First accounts of chocolate beverages were noted by the Spanish • Thickened with maize flour and seasoned with a chilies

  15. Aztec • Social Structure • Nobility • Not hereditary. Being born to noble parents did not necessarily mean you would become a noble • Peasants • Very few farmers. Mostly artisans and warriors. • Slaves • Prisoners of war, criminal punishment, or payment of a debt

  16. Aztec • Social Structure • Like the Maya, Aztecs also intoxicated themselves, but… • ONLY ELDERS WERE ALLOWED TO GET DRUNK

  17. Aztec: Social Structure • Education • From ages 0-14, parents guided education • At age 15, both boys and girls (of all classes) went to school • Aztecs were one of the first civilizations to require all children go to school. • The Schools • Telpochcalli • Military training • Calmecac • Taught writing, astronomy, theology, etc. • But girls were taught domestic skills & religion. • Not taught to read or write.

  18. Aztec • Religion • As an agricultural people, the Aztec depended heavily on the forces of nature and worshiped them as gods • The Aztec believed that the benevolent gods must be kept strong to prevent the evil gods from destroying the world • Human Sacrifice • Victims of sacrifice were usually prisoners of war, some Aztec warriors would volunteer for the more important sacrificial rituals • The god Tlaloc was believed to prefer children as sacrificial victims

  19. Aztec Human sacrifice Aztecs took human sacrifice to a new level. According to Ahuitzotl, over the course of four days the Aztec sacrificed some 84,000 people to dedicate the new Great Pyramid.

  20. Aztec • Agriculture • Tenochtitlan was constructed on swamp land not suited for farming • Chinampas “floating gardens;” artificial islands made of soil and reed mats that were placed in Lake Texcoco

  21. Aztec • Spanish Conquest • In 1519 Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés and more than 500 Spaniards landed in eastern Mexico in search of land and gold • Kidnaps Aztec leader Montezuma for a gold ransom • Conquered all of the Aztec by 1525 • 1/3 of population killed • Mostly from small pox • Survivors forced into labor mining for gold or working on the estates of the Spaniards

  22. Inca • Government • The Emperor owned all people, land, & resources • Government had complete control over the economy • Farmers worked on cooperative farms • Early form of socialism/communism • Massive bureaucracy • For every 10,000 people there were 1,331 government officials • Mita  special tax, but in the form of labor NOT money • All able bodied citizens required to work for the government for a set number of days per year

  23. Inca • Religion • Worshipping of sun played a major role in the religion • Emperor seen as the son of the sun god • Human Sacrifice? • Only on the rarest occasion; usually children or virginal women who dedicated lives to worshipping the sun • Most of sacrifices were guinea pigs and llamas

  24. Inca • Religion • Believed in reincarnation • Moral Code: “ama suwa, ama llulla, ama quella” • Do not steal, do not lie, do not be lazy • Those who followed those rules went to live in the Sun's warmth while others spent their eternal days in the cold earth • Practiced cranial deformation

  25. Inca • Achievements • Massive Road System • Connected all the people of the Incan Empire • All roads led to the Capital of Cuzco • Machu Picchu • Served as religious city and fortress during the Spanish conquest • Could only be reached by bridges over rivers 1,950 feet in the air

  26. Machu Picchu

  27. Inca • Achievements • Terrace farming • What other cultures that we have studied this year have used this method? • Quipu  a series of knotted strings used by Incan officials for keeping records • Incans did not have a writing system or advanced calendar

  28. Inca • Spanish Conquest • Conquered by Pizarro in 1532 • Despite getting the ransom of gold and silver he demanded, Pizarro killed Incan ruler • Spanish ruled Inca harshly • Destroyed traditional culture and farming methods • Forced them to mine gold and silver

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