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Chapter 1: Peopling the Western Hemisphere. Lesson 1: Early Cultures. Indian Groups in Chapter 1. Olmec. Lesson 1. Lesson 2. Aztec. Maya. Inca. Mound Builders. Anasazi. Click on an Indian tribe name to learn more about that tribe.

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lesson 1 early cultures

Chapter 1:

Peopling the Western Hemisphere

Lesson 1: Early Cultures

indian groups in chapter 1
Indian Groups in Chapter 1


Lesson 1

Lesson 2

  • Aztec
  • Maya
  • Inca
  • Mound Builders
  • Anasazi

Click on an Indian tribe name to learn more about that tribe.

Once on the page, click on the Indian tribe page again to return to this page,

or click anywhere on the page to continue the slideshow.


Click on the vocabulary term to reveal the definition.



  • Ice Age
  • A period of extreme cold during which much of Earth’s water was frozen into glaciers.
  • glacier
  • A huge sheet of ice.
  • To spend most of one’s time doing one kind of job.
  • specialize
  • A culture that has complex systems of government, education, religion, and often many people living in cities.
  • civilization
  • irrigation
  • A method of supplying dry land with water through a series of ditches or pipes.
the first americans

Click on the picture to learn more about the Ice Age, glaciers, Beringia, and the first Americans.

hunter gatherers the earliest farmers
The first settlers came over on land bridges.

Land bridges were formed when glaciers took so much water that ocean levels dropped and land appeared.

Hunter-Gatherers & The Earliest Farmers
  • When the glaciers melted the land bridges were covered with water

the people and animals could not return to Asia and Europe.

Europeans traveled across a North Atlantic land bridge to America.

Asians traveled across a land bridge called Beringia to America.

  • The people spread out around North and South America
    • Some were Hunter-Gathers
    • Others became Farmers
hunter gatherers
Hunted animals

Example: Mammoth


Dug up roots

Wild fruits










The Earliest Farmers

the olmec and the maya
  • Farmers
  • Specialized: Focused on one kind of job
  • Made complex communities



One of the earliest places this development occurred was in what today is Mexico.

the olmec
The Olmec
  • One of the earliest civilizations in the Americas.
  • Farmers in southern Mexico
  • Built a trading city call La Venta
  • Created a calendar
  • Played ceremonial ball games

The Olmec were among the first to use stone in sculpture and architecture.

the maya
The Maya
  • Farmers in southern Mexico and Guatemala
    • Corn (maize) was the main source of food
  • Large populations in big cities
    • Artists
    • Scientists
    • Historians
    • Traders
  • First to understand concept of zero
  • Mysteriously disappeared around 909 A.D.
the mound builders
The Mound Builders
  • Some Mound Builders:
    • Adena
    • Hopewell
    • Cahokia
  • Mounds used for:
    • Religious ceremonies
    • Bury dead
    • Sundials and tracking stars

The Great Serpent Mound in Cincinnati, Ohio was made by the Hopewell.

  • Lived in Four Corners
    • Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona all meet
  • Made villages
    • Beneath rock cliffs
    • On sides of canyons
    • Tops of mesas – tall,

flat hills

  • Used irrigation to

farm in desert

time lines the maya and the anasazi
Time Lines: The Maya and the Anasazi

250 – Maya culture flourishes

900 – Maya culture ends

A.D. 1 A.D. 300 A.D. 600 A.D. 900 A.D. 1200 A.D. 1500

900 – Anasazi culture flourishes

200 – Anasazi culture begins

1300 – Anasazi culture ends

600 – Anasazi begin to build large village buildings

time lines the maya and the mound builders
Time Lines: The Maya and the Mound Builders

900 – Maya culture ends

800 – Maya settle in Mexico

250 – Maya culture flourishes

1000 B.C 500 B.C. A.D. 1 A.D. 500 A.D. 1000 A.D. 1500 A.D. 2000

1000 – Cahokia people build flat-topped temple mounds

700 – Adena people build burial mounds

1700 – Mound Builder culture ends

500 – Hopewell people build many mounds

lesson 2 aztec and inca
Lesson 2: Aztec and Inca

Chapter 1:

Peopling the Western Hemisphere

vocabulary and people
Vocabulary and People



Click on the vocabulary term to reveal the definition.

  • slavery
  • The practice of people owning other people and focing them to work..
  • Pachakuti Inca
  • 1400s Emperor who enlarged the Inca Empire.


A large area where different people are controlled by one ruler or government.

the aztec
  • 1st Location: Valley of Mexico (A.D. 1100)
  • 2nd Location: Tenochtitlan (A.D. 1325)
      • “Land of prickly pear cactus”
  • Language: Nahuatl
  • Built “chinampas” (“floating gardens”) for food
  • Large Empire
  • War was important
    • Forced enemies into slavery
the inca
  • Capital: Cuzco
      • Rich mountain valley in southern Peru
  • Built empire through war
strong leaders
Strong Leaders
  • Pachakuti Inca
    • Emperor of Inca
    • Greatly expanded Incan Empire
    • Organized empire
      • Cleared land for settlement
      • Appointed governors
      • Made citizens help expand empire and spread religion

Statue of Pachakuti Inca

skilled builders
Skilled Builders
  • The Inca built:
    • more than 19,000 miles of roads within their empire.
    • straw bridges between high mountain peeks.
    • terraces up mountainsides for farming.
    • irrigation systems.