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Civilizations of Meso-America. Aztecs, Mayans and Incas. Aztecs. Who were the Aztecs?. Civilization in the Valley of Mexico Ruled the region from 1100s to 1500s . Aztec Empire. Aztec Empire Arrived in the Valley of Mexico in 1148 Economy based on agriculture

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civilizations of meso america

Civilizations of Meso-America

Aztecs, Mayans and Incas

  • Who were the Aztecs?
  • Civilization in the Valley of Mexico
  • Ruled the region from 1100s to 1500s
aztec empire
Aztec Empire
  • Aztec Empire
  • Arrived in the Valley of Mexico in 1148
  • Economy based on agriculture
  • Spanned from the Pacific Coast to the Gulf of Mexico
  • Major city: Tenochtitlan
  • By 1520, included 20 million people
aztec culture
Aztec Culture
  • What was life like in Aztec Culture?
  • Aztec culture divided into 2 classes, commoners and nobles
    • Noble male children attended school until 15
    • Women were subordinate to men
    • Slavery was common
aztec culture1
Aztec Culture
  • What was life like in Aztec Culture?
  • Laws were simple and harsh
    • Most crimes punishable by death, beatings or mutilation
    • Slander ( or lying) was punishable by the loss of your lips!
  • What caused the end to the Aztec Civilization?

Aztec Rule Montezuma though Spanish explorer Cortez was a returning god.

Montezuma offered gifts of gold.

Excited by the riches, Hernan Cortes and an army to defeat the Aztecs in 1520

  • What were some contributions the Aztecs made to the world?
  • Education
    • One of the first civilizations to require education
  • Medicine
    • Surgery
    • Muscle relaxing medication
  • Mathematics
    • Idea of zero
    • Accurate calendar
  • Food
    • Popcorn
    • Chocolate
    • Chewing gum
  • Contributions difficult to trace because of destruction by Catholic missionaries
aztec beliefs
Aztec Beliefs
  • What were the beliefs of the Aztec people?
  • Aztecs religion was polytheistic (more than one god), they worshiped about 1,000 different gods.
  • The head of the gods was Huizilopochtlid, god of war and god of sun.
aztec beliefs1
Aztec Beliefs
  • What did the Aztecs Believe?
  • They put their greatest efforts into making strong, beautiful temples to please their gods.
  • Their arts had a part in their religion. They drew pictures that told about their gods.
  • They recorded religious events with hieroglyphics and even number symbols.
  • They worshipped the sun god the most.
aztec beliefs2
Aztec Beliefs
  • What did Aztecs believe?
  • The god of the Sun had told the Aztecs to wander until they found an eagle with a serpent in its mouth perched on a cactus growing from a rock. When they found this, they claimed the area around it, which is now known as Tenochtitlan.
aztec beliefs3
Aztec Beliefs
  • Who was responsible for worship in Aztec Culture?
  • Priests and priestesses were very important people. They acted as doctors, and taught science, art, writing, music, dance, history, and counting.
aztec beliefs4
Aztec Beliefs
  • Where did people worship?
  • Religious ceremonies took place in a temple called a teocalli.
  • This temple had sacred pools for ceremonial cleansing, gardens, living quarters for a priest, and racks to hold the skulls of victims.
  • Religion played a great part in Aztec life.
aztec beliefs5
Aztec Beliefs
  • How did Aztecs worship?
  • Sacrifice was one of the main events in the Aztec religion.
  • Priests made human sacrifices to make the sun god happy.
  • Aztecs fought in wars to capture men to sacrifice.
  • On God's Feast Day, they killed their slaves for the gods.
  • Human sacrifices were offerings to the sun and earth so that food would grow.
mayan civilization
Mayan Civilization

Pre-Classic(2600 B.C.E-250 B.C.E)

Classic (250 C.E-900 C.E)

Mayan Collapse

Post-Classic period ( 1000-1600 C.E)

mayan civilization1
Mayan Civilization
  • Where did Mayan Civilization occur?

Southern Mexico: Yucatan peninsula, and modern Chapas, and Tabasco in Mexico

mayan society





Mayan Society
  • What was life like in the Mayan Civilization?
  • Land divided into states (major city and surrounding towns) were headed by a ruler who was often a priest
mayan society1
Mayan Society
  • What was life like in the Mayan Civilization?
  • Very few people lived in the urban centers
  • Mostly involved in agriculture
mayan society2
Mayan Society
  • What was life like in the Mayan Civilization?
  • Mayan civilization had unique ideas of beauty
    • Crossed Eyes:Considered particularly beautiful
      • Babies were given objects to stare at to encourage crossed eyes
    • High, flat, sloping forehead
      • Tied boards to babies foreheads
mayan beliefs
Mayan Beliefs
  • What did Mayan People believe?
  • Polytheistic (more than one god)
  • Gods were not good or evil,
  • Like Aztecs, religious ceremonies closely tied to natural cycles ( moon phases, seasons, etc.)
mayan beliefs1
Mayan Beliefs
  • What did the Mayan people believe?
  • Religious ceremonies consisted of singing, dancing, competitions, dramatic performances, and some human sacrifice
    • Human sacrifice usually voluntary
    • Participants gives blood or pieces (arms, tongue, eye, etc) to the god
mayan beliefs2
Mayan Beliefs
  • What did the Mayan people believe?
  • Mayan people believed in an afterlife
    • Heaven was reserved for people who died in sacrifice, childbirth or hanged
    • Hell or xibal was for everyone else
mayan beliefs3
Mayan Beliefs
  • What was the role of priests in Mayan society?
  • Believed priests could talk to gods
  • Most daily life directed by priests
  • Decided: when to plant, who could marry, sometimes leaders
mayan beliefs4
Mayan Beliefs
  • What did Mayan People believe?
  • Believed in the underworld, the sky and the Earth
  • Knowing the past meant knowing the cycle of the present and knowing the present provided information for knowing the future
  • This focus on time led to development of sophisticated calendars and time keepers
end of the mayan civilization
End of the Mayan Civilization
  • Why did the Mayan Civilization end?
  • It took 170 years for the Spanish to get control of Mayan lands.
    • Mayans remained independent until the 1700s
  • Mayan culture, language, and art still practiced
mayan civilization2
Mayan Civilization
  • What are some contributions the Mayan civilization made to the world?
  • Written language
  • Calendars
  • Art and architecture
    • Temple building
    • City development
inca location
Inca Location
  • Where was the Inca civilization?

Along the coast of South America.

Modern Chile, Peru, parts of Argentina and Boliva

Andes Mountain Range

inca time period
Inca Time Period
  • When was the Inca civilization?
  • Little historic record of where the Incas came from.
    • No written language
  • Cuzco( in modern Peru) is the center.
    • Incas began spreading out from Cuzco in the 1400s
    • eventually created one of the largest empires in all of history
inca society


Royal family

Tribal leader

Clan leader

Common people

Inca Society
  • What was it like to live in Inca Society?
  • Royal family had absolute power
  • Relationships within clans based on community and cooperation
  • Strongly head belief that there is enough for everyone
  • Conquered people required to pay a labor tax which provided roads and farmlands through the Andes mountains
inca society1
Inca Society
  • What was it like to live in Inca society?
  • Most people lived above 10,000 feet in elevation
  • Worshiped at over 15,000 ft. in elevation
  • Difficult today, scientists still wonder how the Incas did it
  • Clothing made from Alpaca, and lama wool for the cool temperatures at high altitudes
inca beliefs
Inca Beliefs
  • What did Incas believe?
  • Polytheistic (more than one god)
  • Gods mostly tied to natural objects or events
  • Main god- Sun-god
    • Sun-god was the only god to have temples
    • Royal family descended from the sun-god
    • Referred to as “the Giver of Life”
inca beliefs1
Inca Beliefs
  • What did the Incas believe?
  • Worshipped with monthly festivals to honor gods
  • Human sacrifice rare in Incan Culture
    • Reserved for major festivals or the crowning of a new emperor
contributions of inca civilization
Contributions of Inca Civilization
  • What contributions did Inca Civilization make?
  • Engineering
    • Forts built of cut stone that fit so precisely together they do not require mortar and are still standing in near perfect condition
    • Highly sophisticated network of roads, more roads than the Romans
    • Aqueducts and irrigation systems
  • Advanced Surgery and Medicine
  • Textiles and Ceramics
end of the inca civilization
End of the Inca Civilization
  • Why did the Inca Civilization end?
  • Inspired by Cortes’ victory over the Aztecs, Francisco Pizzaro, another Spanish explorer invaded in 1531 with 200 soldiers
  • Pizzaro captured the Incan ruler and killed him in 1533.
  • Pizzaro did not gain complete control over the region until the 1560’s.
macchu picchu
Macchu Picchu
  • Probably built at the height of the Incan Empire around 1450
  • 7,500 feet above sea level
  • Self sustaining city
  • One of the great wonders of the world