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The Americas - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Who were the earliest Americans?. The Americas. Guess how much the statue weighs!. Student who comes closest gets a prize (2 mins ). 8 tons/16,000 pounds!!!!. http://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/28709-discovery-atlantis-olmec-civilization-and-atlantis-video.htm. Intro video.

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Guess how much the statue weighs
Guess how much the statue weighs!

Student who comes closest gets a prize (2 mins).

Intro video


Intro video

Aks 36

36a explain the rise and fall of the http://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/28709-discovery-atlantis-olmec-civilization-and-atlantis-video.htmOlmec, Mayan, Aztec and Inca empires

36b compare the culture of the Americas including government, economy, religion, social structure, technology and the arts of the Mayans, Aztecs and Incas

Aks 36

Essential question
Essential questionhttp://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/28709-discovery-atlantis-olmec-civilization-and-atlantis-video.htm

Who were the Olmecs and what was their contribution to civilization in the Americas?

The earliest civilizations
The earliest civilizationshttp://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/28709-discovery-atlantis-olmec-civilization-and-atlantis-video.htm

How did they get here
How did they get here?http://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/28709-discovery-atlantis-olmec-civilization-and-atlantis-video.htm

Review of effects of agriculture
Review of effects of agriculturehttp://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/28709-discovery-atlantis-olmec-civilization-and-atlantis-video.htm

How did people survive before settled agriculture
How did people survive before settled agriculture?http://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/28709-discovery-atlantis-olmec-civilization-and-atlantis-video.htm

Early civilizations

The http://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/28709-discovery-atlantis-olmec-civilization-and-atlantis-video.htmOlmec

Early civilizations

Olmec civilazation

  • Mesoamerica’s first civilization builders http://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/28709-discovery-atlantis-olmec-civilization-and-atlantis-video.htm

    • What does “Mesoamerica” mean?

  • Began carving out a society around 1200 BC in the jungles of southern Mexico

  • Thrived 800-400 BC

  • San Lorenzo – the oldest site


Olmec heartland
Olmechttp://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/28709-discovery-atlantis-olmec-civilization-and-atlantis-video.htm heartland

What do you think the olmec environment was like
What do you think the http://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/28709-discovery-atlantis-olmec-civilization-and-atlantis-video.htmolmec environment was like?

Where was the olmec civilization located
Where was the http://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/28709-discovery-atlantis-olmec-civilization-and-atlantis-video.htmolmec civilization located?

The environment

  • Hot and humid and covered with swamps and jungleshttp://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/28709-discovery-atlantis-olmec-civilization-and-atlantis-video.htm

    • Rainfall often caused rivers to flood

  • Large deposits of salt and tar and clay to make….?

  • Wood and rubber from rain forest

  • Flooded plains near rivers provided…?

The environment

Olmec society

  • Earthen mounds, courtyards, and pyramidshttp://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/28709-discovery-atlantis-olmec-civilization-and-atlantis-video.htm

  • Planned ceremonial centers

  • Stone symbols – writing?

  • Ritual ball games

Olmec society

Olmec culture

Olmec culture

Olmec religion

Olmec religion

Trade and commerce

  • Olmec heads tell us about their culture? trade spanned north and south!!!

  • Trade spread Olmec influence

Trade and commerce

Decline by 400 bce

What do you think happened to the heads tell us about their culture?Olmec?

Decline (by 400 BCE)

Legacy impact

The heads tell us about their culture?Olmec left their mark

Olmec art and construction affected future cultures like the Maya

Olmec developed ceremonial centers, ritual ball games, and ruling class

Later cultures in Mesoamerica adopted Olmec ways

Influenced Mayan writing system

Origin of the Mayan calendar system



3 – things you learned heads tell us about their culture?

2 – things you want to find out more about

1 – question you have


The mayans

Who were the Mayan’s and what triggered their decline? heads tell us about their culture?

The Mayans

Engineering an empire
Engineering an Empire heads tell us about their culture?

The mayans1
The Mayans heads tell us about their culture?

Tikal pyramids
Tikal Pyramids heads tell us about their culture?

Mayan civilization

Southern Mexico into northern Central America heads tell us about their culture?

Includes dry scrub forest of the Yucatan Peninsula

Also – dense, steamy jungles

Maya took on Olmec influences and blended it with their local customs

Mayan Civilization


What was the climate like for the Mayans? heads tell us about their culture?

Where was their civilization located?


Mayan civilization cont

  • AD 250-900 = “Classic Period” of Maya civilization heads tell us about their culture?

  • Built many cities (Tikal) in northern Guatemala

    • Each city-state

      • Which means what for its government?

  • Giant pyramids, temples, palaces, and elaborate stone carvings

  • Tens of thousands of people surrounded the city center

Mayan Civilization (cont)


How was each Mayan location set-up in terms of government? heads tell us about their culture?



  • Each Maya city featured a ball court heads tell us about their culture?

    • What happened to the losers?

  • Religious and political significance

  • Maya believed the playing of this game would maintain the cycles of the sun and moon and bring rain


Ball game gear
Ball game gear heads tell us about their culture?

The americas

Exact rules and method of scoring are unknown. heads tell us about their culture?

Inscriptions indicate that players could not use their hands or feet to move a solid rubber ball.

Members of the losing team might be sacrificed by beheading.

Agriculture and trade

City-states exchanged their local products and craft goods heads tell us about their culture?

No unifying currency, cacao (CHOCOLATE) beans sometimes served as one

Maize, beans, and squash provided the basis for Maya life

Agriculture and trade

Social structure

Social structure


  • What type of religion do you think they practiced? (hereditary)

    • Polytheism – gods of corn, of rain, of war, etc.

  • How did they worship?

    • Prayed, made offerings of food, flowers, incense

    • Offered their blood to nourish the gods

    • Human sacrifice – of captured enemies


Math and religion

Mayans believed that time was a burden carried on the back of a god

Very important to have an accurate calendar to know which god was in charge of the day

260 day religious calendar

365 day solar calendar

Math and religion

Mayan numerals
Mayan numerals of a god

Written language

  • 800 hieroglyphic symbols ( of a godglyphs)

  • Carved glyphs into a bark-paper book known as a codex (only 3 survive)

    • Burned by Spanish priests in 16th century

  • PopulVuh – the Maya’s version of the story of creation

    “Before the world was created, Calm and Silence were the great kings that ruled. Nothing existed, there was nothing”

Written language

Mayan writing
Mayan writing of a god


Why was math and religion important to the Mayans? of a god

Describe their social structure.




Use your creativity

In one paragraph, write a short story about what you think happened to the Mayans?

Use your creativity

The aztecs
The happened to the Mayans?aztecs

Essential question1

Who were the Aztecs? How did their civilization function, thrive, and ultimately decline?

Essential question

The aztecs1
The thrive, and ultimately decline?aztecs

Setting the stage

Greatest empire in Mesoamerica thrive, and ultimately decline?

Heart of civilization located around modern Mexico City

Ancestors of the Olmec

Setting the stage

location thrive, and ultimately decline?

Teotihuac n

“City of the Gods” thrive, and ultimately decline?

First major city-state of Central Mexico

Peak population ~150,000 – 200,000

Obsidian – Green or black volcanic rock used to make razor sharp weapons

Abandoned by 750 AD


Teotihuac n1
Teotihuacán thrive, and ultimately decline?

Preview thrive, and ultimately decline?

The aztecs2

  • Arrived in the Valley of Mexico ~1200 AD thrive, and ultimately decline?

  • The god of sun and warfare told them to create a city

  • Based power on military conquest

    • Demanded tribute from their neighbors (gold, jade, maize, cacao)

The Aztecs

Aztec social structure

  • Emperor thrive, and ultimately decline?

  • Nobles: Military, Priests, Government Officials

  • Merchants, Artisans, and Soldiers

    • Merchants formed a subgroup of elite

  • Enslaved People

Aztec social structure

Tenochtitlan thrive, and ultimately decline?


Established by the early 1500’s thrive, and ultimately decline?

Population 200,000 – 400,000 (larger than London or other European Cities at the time)

Built on an island surrounded by marshland/water


Tenochtitlan thrive, and ultimately decline?

Aztec religion

  • Worshipped sun god thrive, and ultimately decline?

  • Human sacrifice was a way to please the gods

    • Enslaved, war prisoners

    • Without blood, the sun would not rise

Aztec religion


Describe the beginning of the Aztecs. thrive, and ultimately decline?

What was their social structure?

What was their religion?

How did they decline?


Human sacrifice
Human sacrifice thrive, and ultimately decline?




  • Describe: decline

    • 3 traits of the civilization

    • 3 strengths leading to power

    • 3 weaknesses leading to decline


The incas

The Incas decline

Essential question2

Who were the Incas and what were some of their social innovations unique to Pre-Columbian culture in the Americas?

Essential Question

Origins location


Incan government

  • Governed by central innovations unique to Pre-Columbian culture in the Americas?bureaucracy?

    • What is bureaucracy?

  • Roads tied the empire together

  • The heart of the empire of the city of Cuzco

  • Ayllu – extended families that performed tasks to large for a regular family

    • A chief lead each group but they reported to the emperor

Incan government

Roads 14 000 miles
Roads (14,000 miles) innovations unique to Pre-Columbian culture in the Americas?

Welfare state

  • Compared to modern socialism innovations unique to Pre-Columbian culture in the Americas?

  • Mita – Annual labor tribute

    • Work on roads, make goods, etc

  • Messages travelled on road system (postal system)

  • No writing system

  • Kept detailed numerical records using quipu

  • Cared for entire population

Welfare state


  • Incan king was considered a descendent of sun god innovations unique to Pre-Columbian culture in the Americas?

  • Worshipped sun, moon, rain, thunder gods

  • Young men and women would be drafted into a lifetime of service

  • Great cities – Machu Pichu

    • Sun Temple (center), public buildings, central plaza