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Toltecs , Incas, Aztecs. toltecs. Moved into southern Mexico from north around time of Mayan collapse Took over and expanded Mayan centers Built capital city of Tula using Mayan architectural and construction techniques Developed impressive metal-working industry Specialized in jewelry

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Toltecs , Incas, Aztecs

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  • Moved into southern Mexico from north around time of Mayan collapse
  • Took over and expanded Mayan centers
  • Built capital city of Tula using Mayan architectural and construction techniques
  • Developed impressive metal-working industry
    • Specialized in jewelry
  • Established trade network which stretched into northern South America
  • Civilization flourished for around 100 years
    • Empire eventually fragmented into small states, constantly fighting among themselves
  • Also known as Mexicas
  • Originally a nomadic tribe from north
    • Looking for “promised land”
    • Found it in 1325 AD on island in middle of Lake Texcoco in central Mexico
  • Built capital city on island
    • Tenochtitlán
  • Rich mud of island home ideally suited for agriculture
    • Produced abundant crops
    • Standard of living increased dramatically
  • Were in high demand as mercenaries in wars between post-Toltec states
  • Rose rapidly
    • Stepped into power vacuum and took over much of central and coastal Mexico and northern Central America
  • Grew wealthy from tribute from conquered territory
  • Turned city into magnificent place
    • Canals served as arteries of transportation
    • Aqueduct system for fresh water and sophisticated waste removal system
    • Huge temples and places
    • Brightly colored art
aztec religion
Aztec Religion
  • Two sets of gods
    • Nature gods
      • Worshipped by farmers
      • Had shape of the item the god controlled
    • Great gods of state
      • Usually portrayed as half human/half animal or as monster
      • Chief god was Huitzilopochtli
        • God of the sun
human sacrifice
Human Sacrifice
  • Believed that the world had passed through four previous stages (“suns”)
    • Each one destroyed by catastrophe
  • To prevent destruction of fifth “sun”, Huitzilopochtli had to be appeased
    • By feeding him human hearts
    • Aztecs therefore sacrificed victims by ripping out their hearts and holding them up for Huitzilopochtli to symbolically eat
how often did sacrifice take place
How often did sacrifice take place
  • Spanish claimed that sacrifice was performed on a daily basis and that thousands were sacrificed on religious holidays
    • Historians have used this information to argue that it was the need to get victims that motivated Aztec conquests and their harsh legal code
  • Others claim Spanish exaggerated number of sacrifices to justify their conquest and destruction of Aztec civilization
aztecs decline
Aztecs Decline
  • Spanish conquistador, Hernando Cortez, destroyed Aztec civilization in 1519
    • Very tragic act
    • Wiped out a rich and vigorous culture off the face of the map
      • Enormous loss to all civilized human beings
  • South American Indian tribe
  • Known for their military
  • Social structure very strict
    • Inca- head ruler and his wives were supreme head of state
    • High priest and Army commander came next
    • merchants and artisans came next
    • Everyone else: who had no rights
record keeping
Record keeping
  • A khipu consists, minimally, of a main cord from which pendant cords hang. (Pendants of pendants are called subsidiaries.)
  • Knots tied in the pendant cords and other modifications of the pendant are the commonest data-bearing or significant features.
  • Inka functionaries used cord records for censuses, inventories, tribute records, and documents about transactions; Spanish courts also accepted them as documents of record in early colonial times.
  • The comprehension of how irrigation can benefit agriculture is evident by the expansion into the highland areas.
  • They developed drainage systems and canals to expand their crop resources.
  • Potatoes, tomatoes, cotton, peanuts and coca were among the many crops grown by the Inca.
  • Llama were used for meat and transportation.
  • There was more than enough resources available for everyone.


    • Capital city of the Inca
  • Macchu Picchu-
    • The site of Machu Picchu was not discovered by the Spanish during the Conquest. In fact, it wasn't known to the outside world until 1911 when an American Archeologist, Hiram Bingham, made the steep climb to a lofty saddle high above the Urubamba river.
    • The city is clearly laid out in sections. There is a "royal" section where the stone work is the finest, the rooms are largest and running baths are nearby. The bulk of the food for the inhabitants was grown on the agricultural terraces of the city.
conquering of the inca
Conquering of the Inca
  • Francisco Pizarro, Spanish conquistador arrived in Peru
  • Killed the Inca emperor
  • Proceeded to ransack the city of Cuzco
  • The 40,000 member army of the Inca was destroyed by a 180 member Spanish conquistador army, which was commanded by Francisco Pizarro.
  • The warriors of the Inca were no match for the Spanish guns. By 1535, the Inca society was completely overthrown.
  • The Incas were probably weak due to contact with the Spanish and foreign diseases they brought from Europe