Early Civilizations The blossoming of life as we know it…
Early Civilizations: In order from oldest-youngest The Olmecs3,500 years ago 1 2 3 4 The Mayas 3,000 years ago The Aztecs 700 years ago The Incas 500 years ago
The Olmecs (1200 B.C. – 600 B.C.) Central America: Along the Gulf of Mexico Location Economy Art and Science Government and Religion Farming: Grew Surplus (extra) crops to sell to nearby cities Carved stone: 10ft carved stone heads Well organized government, Different social classes and complex religion
The Mayas (250 A.D. – 900 A.D.) Central America: Mexico/Guatemala Farming: Maize (corn) was most important crop Used slash-and-burn agriculture – trees are cut down and burned to clear and fertilize the land. Location Economy Art and Science Government and Religion The Mayan Calendar: Developed to help Mayans know when to hold religious celebrations. (First 365 day calendar like our own) Numbers: First to have concept of “zero” Hieroglyphics: A system of writing using signs and symbols Priests and Nobles: Most power held by Priests who lived in the center of the city in large palaces. Mayas were Polytheistic.
The Aztecs (1325 A.D. – 1521 A.D.) Central America: Mexico Farming: Swampy Land Aztecs built island gardens to grow crops and even built aqueducts to transport water. Farmers used boats to transport produce to the capital. Location Economy Art and Science Government and Religion Aztec Calendar: Based on Mayan calendar. Had 13 months of 20 days each. Astronomy: Aztecs were skilled at studying the stars. Schools: Tenochtitlan (capital city) had schools and a university for boys from noble families. Strict Class System: Emperor royal family, nobles, priests and military leaders soldiers, Artisans (skilled creators of jewelry, pottery, sculpture) farmers (largest group) Slaves (most were prisoners of war) Human Sacrifice: (polytheistic) Most important god was the Sun god. Priests thought the sun would not have the strength to rise and cross the sky each day without human blood. Without sun, no crops!
The Incas (1400s A.D. – 1535 A.D.) South America: Andes Mountains (Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina) Farming: Terraces - Step-like ledges cut into mountains needed to create flat land to farm. Quipu: a group of knotted strings used to keep track of information like births, deaths and harvests. Location Economy Art and Science Government and Religion Engineering: Used stone to build long lasting buildings and built bridges. Buildings were so well made, most are still standing today. Sapa Inca: Incan ruler/emperor. People believed he was related to the sun-god. He owned all the land and divided it among the people. (Polytheistic) Census: an official count of the people to keep track of responsibilities and taxes.
The Moundbuilders: Native American Groups who built earthen mounds