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The Americas on the Eve of Invasion Chapter 11. Classical Era in the Americas approx. 600-900 Indigenous peoples built upon the past –Similar religion.

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Presentation on theme: "The Americas on the Eve of Invasion Chapter 11. Classical Era in the Americas approx. 600-900 Indigenous peoples built upon the past –Similar religion."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Americas on the Eve of Invasion Chapter 11

2 Classical Era in the Americas approx Indigenous peoples built upon the past –Similar religion & architecture Created thriving civilizations –Political organization –Advanced math, astronomy –Agricultural techniques –Population growth and urbanization –Social Stratification –Developed economies & trade Major Classical Civilizations –Teotihuacán (teh-o-tee-Wah-kahn) –Maya

3 Teotihuacán –30 miles northeast of modern-day Mexico City –Height of power in 600 –Largest city in Americas: 125, ,000 ppl Urban population lived in apartment compounds –live in city & work on farms outside city –Government: Most likely ruled by alliance of elite families & priests –Elites & priests distinguished themselves through diet, dress, residence –Religion: Polytheistic: Quetzalcoatl most impt. God Human sacrifice Pyramid temples –Economy: Agriculture and trade Chinampas (floating gardens) Military to protect trade –Collapse around 650 Likely due to class struggles, mismanagement of resources, invasion

4 Maya Tropical Climate, poor soil Variety of ag. techniques depending on environment –Slash & burn (aka swidden agriculture) –Drain swamps for land –terracing Government: –Series of rival kingdoms w/ hereditary rulers Rulers serve both political & religious function

5 Maya Empire

6 Maya Religion –3 layer cosmos (underworld, human world, heavens) –Close tie b/t warfare and religion Rituals & fasting before war Use of war to gain captives –Many used for human sacrifice; others for labor –Bloodletting, tattooing, painting of skin –Elaborately decorated temples Symbolic of the cosmos aligned w/ sun & planets Science/Technology –Sophisticated calendar-making –Hieroglyphic writing system –Concept of zero in mathematics america/images/maya_hieroglyphs.gif

7 Maya Collapse of the Maya –Cities abandoned between 800 and 900 –No clear explanation –Possible reasons Disease Decline in trade (likely associated with fall of Teotihuacán) Environmental degradation Decline in agricultural production Internal warfare

8 Post-Classical Americas approx Continuity: –Many characteristics of the classical period continue Architecture, religion, social structure, urban organization Change: –Compared to earlier periods, the Post- Classical period was characterized by Increased agricultural production, population growth, increased warfare and conquest

9 Toltecs Created military state in Mexico and Central America –Capital: Tula Influential on later Mesoamerican empires Warlike culture –Temples and art depicts scenes of war and human sacrifice Dual Kingship –Led to weakness and division Power struggle and decline around : Tula invaded and Toltec culture overrun by other groups

10 Toltec Warriors

11 Aztec Mexica (Meh-she-ca) Moved into Central Mexico after decline of Toltecs –Originally, clans who served other more powerful groups Began to buildup powerbase near Lake Texoco 1325: construction on Tenochtitlan & Tlateloco –Twin capitals- Foundation of Mexico City Began to expand & take new territory –Buildup of an empire

12 Aztec

13 Aztec Government: –Single ruler chosen by council of aristocrats Did not have absolute power –Ruler chosen from royal family, but not based upon primogeniture –Military conquest to display their power Tie between war and religion

14 Aztec Social Structure: –Great degree of social & economic inequality Power and land controlled by elites and warriors Lower classes often worked as slaves or landless commoners on estates owned by elites –Little opportunity for social mobility Highest positions in society were hereditary

15 Aztec Economy: –Relied upon ag. to feed urban population Irrigation, dikes, chinampas to increase ag. –Tribute system supplied other goods to city Conquered peoples sent food, cloth, luxury items, military equipment, and sacrificial victims to city –Trade important Barter system

16 Aztec Religion: –Polytheistic –Most gods were both male and female –Temples dedicated to gods –Extensive use of human sacrifice Thousands annually Both religious and political function –Aztecs believed Huitzilopochtli required a steady supply of human hearts in order to bring the sun’s warmth to Earth –Public sacrifice helped deter rebellion and opposition

17 Northern Peoples By 900, organized societies had emerged in the American Southwest and Mississippi River Valley regions. –Much like the societies of Mesoamerica, these northern peoples depended upon maize, beans, and squash to help feed their populations. Major societies: –Southwest: Anasazi –Mississippi Mound Builders

18 Anasazi “ancient ones” –Located in American Southwest –Large community in Chaco Canyon of NM Influenced by Mesoamerica –Beans, maize, squash Urban life centered in underground buildings (kivas) –Accomplished as basket-making, cloth-weaving, and pottery w/ geometric patterns –More on Anasazi on p. 280

19 07/cro02.jpg

20 Mississippi Mound Builders Initially hunter-gatherers who then adopt ag. –Population increase leads to growth of cities –Most settlements near rivers Government: Chiefdom Urban centers had a plaza surrounded by large earthen mounds –Height of culture at Cahokia –Mounds served as residence for chiefs, temples for religious ceremony, and burial sites for elites Decline of Cahokia in 13 th century, smaller settlements continue to thrive until the arrival of the Europeans

21 Andean Civilizations In South America, a series of cultures grew in a most unlikely place –Harsh environment Mountains (Andes) Desert along west coast (Atacama) Rainforest to the east Andean civilizations typically followed the same plan for organization of society and the economy

22 Andean Civilizations Society: –Territorial states ruled by hereditary aristocrats and kings –Clan-based societies Clan known as Ayllu Each Ayllu owned land communally Households in the Ayllu tied together by system of reciprocal obligation to help each other

23 Andean Civilization Economy: –On a larger scale, each state was organized in a system known as mitá System required each ayllu to contribute workers to perform various forms of labor –Each person assigned a task (based largely upon gender) To help promote efficiency, each community tended to specialize in a certain type of work based upon the environment –Ie. Coastal areas produced fish Colonies were also sent out to exploit resources in the area –Societies used various ag techniques to improve productivity in the harsh environment Irrigation, terracing, growing frost-resistant crops, etc. –All goods produced in the mitá system were then brought together for exchange Use of quipu to keep records –Series of knotted colored cords

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25 Inca Among the Andean Civilizations, the Inca are the best known The Inca began as a chiefdom that began to expand its power in the 1430’s –Developed an imperial state in the Andes Mountains of South America –By 1525, population of over 6 million Capital: Cuzco (Peru)

26 cuzco%20anntravel.jpg Machu Picchu City constructed at height of Inca Empire

27 Inca Use of typical Andean social and economic organization –Mitá system Buildup of military Government: –Rulers began reign with military conquest to prove their power Heirs of the rulers taken hostage to ensure cooperation

28 Inca Achievements of the Inca: –Skilled at stone work Stone buildings constructed w/o mortar –Cuzco constructed to look like a Mountain Lion Palaces and temples in the center of the city Temple of the Sun –Interior lined w/ gold –Temple used for ritual, ceremony, and occasional human sacrifice –Ruler used temple & ceremony to justify his rule –Quipu: record keeping system –Build upon earlier developments Astronomical observation conducted by priests

29 Inca Highly structured, government-regulated economy led to prosperity Imperial system created inequality Ie. Commoners could be executed for daring to look the ruler in the face 1525: Stage is set for European conquest –Inca were weakened by internal division Ruler died, triggering a power struggle between his two sons Civil war weakens the Inca –Making them vulnerable to Europeans


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