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Early Civilizations in Latin America

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Presentation on theme: "Early Civilizations in Latin America"— Presentation transcript:

1 Early Civilizations in Latin America
Chapter 10, Section 1

2 Learning Targets I can describe the similarities and differences between the Mayan, Aztec and Incan civilizations. I can list the factors that led to the fall of the Mayan, Aztec and Incan empires.


4 The Olmec The Olmec were the first civilization in the western hemisphere. They lived in Central America about 3500 years ago. They built stone temples and giant stone heads. They studied the stars and developed a simple calendar. The Olmec disappeared mysteriously into the jungle.

5 The Maya Lived in the southern Mexican and northern Central American rainforest, rising to power from about A.D. 300 to 900. Cities like Tikal, Copan and Chitzen-Itza were centers for religion, trade, art, and for farmers to sell their food. Priests and Nobles were most powerful in Mayan Society, farmers and slaves were the least. Priests made amazing advances in math, calendars and astronomy.

6 The Maya The most important Mayan crop was corn, called maize. Mayans also ate beans, squash, peppers, avocados and papayas. Mayan priests developed a system of writing using signs and symbols called hieroglyphics.

7 The Fall of the Maya Around 900 A.D. the Mayas suddenly left their cities and no one knows why. Many think it could have been: Crop failures War Drought Disease Famine A revolution tore society apart

8 The Aztec The Aztec were nomads that settled in the Valley of Mexico around 1100. They built their capital, Tenochtitlan, on an island in lake Texcoco, fulfilling an old prophecy. In the 1400’s they expanded by conquering their neighbors, forcing them to pay tribute. The Aztec, like the Maya, had an Emperor, nobles, priests, warriors and slaves, as well as gifted craftsmen.

9 The Aztec Aztec doctors developed more than 1,000 medicines from plants. Scientists also developed complex calendars. Sacrificed thousands a year to help the sun battle across the sky. By 1500 they had a large empire across central Mexico.

10 The Inca Around 1200 the Incas settled in Cuzco. Most Inca were farmers who grew maize and other crops. Through wars and conquest, the Incas gained control of the entire Cuzco Valley and, eventually, nearly the entire western coast of South America. By 1500 the Inca ruled 12 million people. Their language, Quechua, is still spoken today.

11 The Inca Incan government was complex and well-run.
Incan engineers built massive stone temples and more than 19,000 miles of roads through the Andes Mountains. The Inca increased their farmland by building stone terraces into mountainsides. They also built aqueducts that carried water from the mountains to farmlands.

12 European Exploration Chapter 10, Section 2

13 Europeans Arrive in America
In the 1400’s, European countries like Spain searched for new trade routes to Asia. Europeans craved Asian goods like spices and silks. In 1492, Christopher Columbus convinced the Spanish crown to finance a voyage to reach the Indies by sailing west. After sailing for months, he and his crew finally arrived in the Caribbean.

14 Spanish Conquistadors
Spain and Portugal soon became fierce rivals over American territory. The Portuguese came to control Brazil, while the Spanish conquistadors conquered the rest of Latin America. A Conquistador is a Spanish conqueror who came to the Americas to gain riches and to convert the Native population to Christianity.

15 Spanish Conquistadors
In 1519, Hernan Cortes heard rumors of a wealthy empire in Mexico and took 600 soldiers and 16 horses there in search of gold. Once on the shores of Mexico he burned his boats and headed inland. Once in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, the Spanish were welcomed by Montezuma, who believed they were gods. Peace between the two sides did not last.

16 Cortez Formed alliances with Aztec enemies.
Was kicked out of Tenochtitlan after some Aztecs were killed by his men. Returned with thousands of allies, destroyed the city and killed Moctezuma. The Aztec empire had fallen.

17 Francisco Pizarro Traveled to the Incan Empire in Peru.
Captured and executed Emperor Atahualpa (1532). The Inca system soon collapsed and Pizarro conquered much of the empire including the capital of Cuzco.

18 Spanish Conquistadors
Though the Spanish had fewer soldiers they were able to defeat the Aztec and Inca because they had… Horses and superior weapons. Recruited native enemies of the empires. Spread European diseases that resulted in the death of most Natives in Latin America.

19 Spanish Conquistadors
Unlike the Maya, both the Aztec and Incan empires fell to Conquistadors. Disease also played a huge factor, as both empires lost millions of lives to smallpox. Like the Maya, large populations of Aztec and Incan Indians still live in Latin America today.

20 Colonization By the 1540’s, Spain had claimed most of the Americas between the southern U.S. and the tip of South America. Spain divided its territories into provinces that each had its own government. Spain’s most important provinces in the territories were New Spain and Peru.

21 Society in New Spain The most powerful people in Spain either came from Spain (Peninsulars) or had Spanish parents but were born in the Americas (Creoles.) Mestizos were people of mixed Spanish and Native American heritage. Mestizos were in the middle of society. Indians and Africans were the least powerful in Spanish society and many of them were enslaved.

22 Harsh Life for Native Americans
The Spanish forced Native Americans (and later Africans) to work in households and on haciendas. A Hacienda was a plantation owned by Spaniards or the Catholic Church. The gold-hungry Spanish also forced Native Americans to work in mines. Conditions were horrible and most workers died within a few years.

23 The Effect of European Rule
Many Native Americans died from overwork, malnutrition and European diseases. From 1492 to 1519 the Native population of New Spain went from 25 million down to only 3 million.

24 Learning Targets I can describe the similarities and differences between the Mayan, Aztec and Incan civilizations. I can list the factors that led to the fall of the Mayan, Aztec and Incan empires.

25 Maya

26 Maya

27 Pok-a-tok



30 Maya

31 Maya

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