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For God, Gold and Glory. The Conquest of Latin America. Ancient Latin America Civilizations of Mesoamerica. From 1200 B.C. until 1500 A.D., great civilizations flourished in Mesoamerica, also known as Middle or Central America.

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For god gold and glory

For God, Gold and Glory

The Conquest of Latin America

Ancient Latin America Civilizations of Mesoamerica

From 1200 B.C. until 1500 A.D., great civilizations flourished in Mesoamerica, also known as Middle or Central America.

These civilizations include the Maya of the Yucatan Peninsula, western Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Belize.

The Aztec were another great civilization that settled in what is now Mexico City.

Finally, the Inca, rose up in the Andes Mountains of Peruand conquered the people of the surrounding areas. Their empire included parts of what are now Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, northern Chile, and northwestern Argentina.

Once the word spread of riches in the Americas, the hunt for gold was on.

The conquistadors of Spain , commissioned by their government set out to find gold and become rich, spread the word of God and claim glory for the crown

In so doing, the natives of these new lands were conquered by conquistadors such as Hernan Cortes and Francisco Pizarro.

The maya
The Maya

  • Existed as early as 1600 B.C.

  • Were at their peak from 250 A.D. until 900 A.D.

  • Built great cities in Palenque, Tikal and Chichen Itza.

  • Built an observatory at Chichen Itza as they were great astronomers.

  • They charted planets and were able to predict eclipses of the sun.

  • Observatory at Chichen


The maya1

Created an intricate calendar: 260 day calendar of sacred days and a 365 day calendar based on the sun’s movement.

Developed the best-developed Latin American written language based on time and events.

Codices were the religious books written by the Maya.

Created stone trees using hieroglyphs to tell of wars, conquests, births, and deaths of kings.

Understood the mathematical concept of zero.

The Maya

The maya2
The Maya

  • King was head of the state and ascended through his ancestry that could be traced to a divine ancestor

  • Civilization followed strict rules regarding social classes that could seen in their art and carvings.

  • Sacrifice was the core of Mayan religion. They believed that the gods rained blood to provide water and to fertilize the crops, so they cut themselves to collect blood to burn in sacrifice.

  • They believed in 3 levels of existence much like Judeo-Christians.

Mayan agriculture
Mayan Agriculture

  • The Mayan were an agricultural society.

  • Practiced slash and burn agriculture in which the Maya would cut down and burn trees and plant crops in their place. This was mainly done with subsistence farming in mind.

  • After a few years, the forest was allowed to grow back in order for the soil to regain nutrients.

  • They also built up ridges along floodplains on which to farm since these areas were rich with nutrients and the ridges prevented crops from getting too wet.

Terracing in the sides of hills or Mountains

The Slash and Burn Technique



  • Maya~

Decline of the mayan empire
Decline of the Mayan Empire


The aztecs
The Aztecs

  • The Aztecs were made up of a number of wandering tribes of which the Mexica were the most dominant.

  • They grew in numbers from about 1200 to 1500 A.D. when they were conquered by the Spanish.

  • They settled on the island city of Tenochitlan, where Mexico City now stands.

The aztecs1
The Aztecs

  • The Aztec Empire centered on warfare.

  • All men were required to join the Aztec army in order to maintain a powerful empire and for religious reasons.

  • Dying in battle honored the war god, Huitsilopochtli.

  • Tribes who lost men to the Aztecs either as sacrifices or slaves became their enemies.

  • Aztec War God

The aztecs2
The Aztecs

  • Aztec ~


Aztec agriculture
Aztec Agriculture

  • Because the majority of the island the Aztecs lived on was a marsh, they had to find a way to farm that would produce the crops needed to survive.

  • They built chinampas, a kind of floating garden created by heaping fertile mud on rafts secured between trees.

The Conquistadors

  • During the late 14th and 15th centuries, following the expedition of Christopher

  • Columbus, the Conquistadors left Spain to do 3 things:

  • Spread Christianity to the heathens: God

  • Search for fortunes for the crown/government of Spain

  • and to increase their own wealth: Gold

  • 3. Conquer lands in the name of Spain and gain fame: Glory

Hernan Cortes:

Conquistador and conqueror of the Aztec

Hernan cortes
Hernan Cortes

  • Cortes recruited many of the tribes who were enemies of the Aztecs, and had superior weaponry the Aztecs could not win against.

  • In 1519 Cortes captured the Aztec ruler, Montezuma II, and enslaved the Aztec people.

  • Many that were not enslaved died of diseases brought by the Spaniards.

  • In 1521 he claimed the Aztec Empire for Spain and renamed it New Spain

The inca
The Inca

  • Lived in the Andes Mountains of Peru as well as the surrounding areas of Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, northern Chile, and northwestern Argentina ruled from their capital of Cuzco.

  • Developed an intricate system of roads built of stone and still in use today to connect all parts of the empire.

  • These roads were used by teams of runners to relay messages across the empire.

  • Did not have a writing system, but were master stonemasons who used wooden rollers to move the heavy stone blocks.

  • Built terraces connected by stairways

  • Most remarkable stonework of the Inca is Machu Picchu, that was built without the use of mortar to hold it together.

  • Kept records using a system of knots called quipus.

The inca empire
The Inca Empire


Francisco Pizarro:

Conquistador and Conqueror

of the Inca

  • In 1532, having heard of the riches founded by Cortes, Francisco Pizarro set out to make a name for himself just as his cousin had. He desired to find treasures and claim land for the crown.

  • Pizzarolanded in part of South America, the home of the Inca in the Andes Mountains of Peru.

  • Pizarro defeated the Inca ruler, Atahualpa and like Cortes, claimed the

  • empire for Spain.

The colombian exchange
The Colombian Exchange

The native tribes, the Aztec and the Inca , once conquered, became slaves

In their own lands. They were forced into hard labor, such as mining silver.

The Spanish grew crops such as corn, peppers and tomatoes, crops never seen

Before and sent them to Spain.

Manufactured products from Spain, especially textiles, were also shipped to

Latin America.

This exchange of culture came to be know as the Colombian Exchange: the

Exchange of goods and ideas between Europe and its colonies in North

and South America, Africa, and Asia.