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Postclassical Central America

Postclassical Central America

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Postclassical Central America

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  1. Postclassical Central America The Aztec and Toltec

  2. The Beginning of the Toltec • Were nomadic people from the north • Took full advantage of the fall of the Mayan civilization to take control of more prosperous farm land • Established capital at Tula in 968 • Adopted from sedentary people and became strongly militaristic • Adopted cult of sacrifice and war • Aztecs thought they were “the givers of civilization”

  3. Heritage • Topiltzin was dedicated to the god Quetzalcoatl had a struggle with other group and lost so was sent into exile but vowed to return on the same date he left • Influenced the response of Aztecs to Europeans • Spread as far south as Guatemala • Conquered Chichén Itzá • Spread to north • Traded with Anasazi • Turquoise and obsidian • Disputed if in Mississippi/Ohio

  4. Aztec Rise to Power • Geography • Rich aquatic environment • Nomadic tribes fought over the lake but the Aztecs won • Eventually had a centralized city with lesser city-states around it

  5. Story of Reaching the Valley • Legend: Lived in exile to north in Aztlan • Wondered until they saw an eagle on a cactus eating a snake • Settled and founded capital Tenochtitlan • History: One of the nomadic tribes that took control after the fall of the Toltec

  6. Warriors • Distrusted by other tribes because of their fighting ability • Used as allies by other tribes • Moved around lake fighting with people all the way • Fanatical worshipers of gods • Sacrifice captured people

  7. Social Contract • Subjects pay tribute, surrender lands and serve in the military if the Aztecs said • Supreme ruler-representative of god on earth • Rewrote histories to benefit themselves- people chosen to serve the gods • Human sacrifice- captives

  8. Religion/Ideology • Polytheistic • World of gods and natural world almost the same • 3 groups of gods • All had many forms and a female/ feminine form • Sacrifice to fuel sun • Not known how much was religion and how much was to control the people • Questions about afterlife, gods and good life

  9. Tenochtitlan • Considered the “foundation of Heaven” • Metropolis surround by adobe districts • Nobility had 2 story houses with garden on top • 4 entrances to city • City was maintained by calpulli

  10. Food • Some from tribute from conquered people • Chinampas • Produced 4 corn crops a year • Flooded frames filled with mud and plants • Every community had a market very periodically • Cocoa beans and gold dust used as currency • Long distance trade for luxury goods • State regulate trade and redistribute tributes

  11. Widening Social Gap • Life based on calpulli • Not just clans anymore • Governed by family heads and all not equal • Nobility-most prominent people in calpulli • Military prestige based on how many captives you took • Status shown by wearing certain type of cloths and hair style • Nobility-> scribes and artisans-> peasants • Competition between corporate groups

  12. Overcoming Technological Restraints • Women almost equal in rights but still subordinate to men • Could inherit property and pass it on to heirs • Peasant women worked in fields but main place was in the house • Weaving most important skill • Arranged marriages with virgin bride • Nobility had more than one wife but peasants only had one • Women worked 6 hour days grinding corn

  13. A Tribute Empire • Each city-state was ruled by Speaker • Great Speaker was elected from royal siblings • Governing council but had no real power • Religion and military became most important • Conquered kingdoms kept their power as long as they met their obligations to the empire

  14. Weaknesses • Terror system placed to subdue the citizens • Rise in nobility • Both caused stress and then revolt • Fell to the Europeans