2 Early American Civilizations A). Long before the arrival of Europeans in the early 1500s, several great civilizations, or highly developed societies, arose in present-day Mexico and in Central and South America.B). These civilizations built:Enormous cities (in thick jungles and on mountain tops that were hard to reach).Developed complex systems for writing, counting, and tracking time.
3 Early American Civilizations The largest and most advanced of these civilizations were the:OlmecMayaAztecIncaOlmecLived in what is now Mexico, Guatemala, and HondurasLived between 3000 B.C. and 1500 B.C.Built stone pavement and drainage systemsFarmers produced enough food to sustain cities containing thousands of peopleSculptured large stone monumentsTheir civilization influenced their neighbors.
4 The MayaMayan CitiesTikal—the largest Mayan city was surrounded by 5 pyramids.The Mayan civilization was a Theocracy, or a society ruled by religious leaders.The Mayans believed that the gods controlled everything that happened on earth.Only the priests knew the gods’ wishes and therefore the priests held great power in the Mayan society and made most of the important decisions.The temples on the top of the pyramids were religious and governmental centers.The priests wore gold jewelry and detailed headdresses; the priests in the temples performed rituals dedicated to the Mayan gods.Built their civilizations in the steamy rain forests of present-day Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and Belize.Planted Maize, Beans, Sweet potatoes, and other vegetables to eat.Pulled enormous stones from the earth to build monuments and pyramids that still stand today.Much of labor was performed by enslaved people, usually prisoners of war.
5 Skilled Astronomers and Writers The Mayan became skilled astronomers and developed a writing system called hieroglyphics. Hieroglyphics uses symbols or pictures to represent things, ideas, and sounds.They used their knowledge of the sun and starts to develop a 365-day calendar.
6 Mayan Transport and Trade TransportationTradeDid not have wheeled vehicles or horses!Transported on human’s backs using a network of roads that had been carved out of the jungle.Traveled by canoe up and down Mexico’s east coast.Farmer’s brought maize and vegetables to outdoor markets in the cities; Exchanging their crops for cotton, cloth, pottery, deer meat, and salt.Canoes carried jade statues, turquoise jewelry, cacao beans for making chocolate, and other goods.
7 Decline of a Civilization Around A.D. 900, the Mayan civilization in the lowlands began to decline.By A.D. 1100, the great cities were almost ghost towns.No one knows what caused the decline!Perhaps:Slaves and farmers revolted against their Mayan masters???The soil became too exhausted by erosion and fire to produce enough food for the people???Mayan civilization collapsed , but descendants still live in parts of Mexico and Central America.
8 AztecCenturies after the fall of the Maya, a group of hunters wandered through central Mexico in search of a permanent home.In 1325, they came upon an island in Lake Texcoco (today part of Mexico City).There, the Aztec saw a sign: an eagle sitting on a cactus, with a snake in its beak.That meant this island was to be their home.
9 Tenochtitlan One of the greatest and largest cities in the Americas Home of the Aztec’s capital cityCenter of trade, attracting thousands of merchants to its outdoor market placesIts construction was a miracle of human labor and engineeringDirected by priests and nobles, workers toiled day and nightA). Workers created bridges and causeways by pulling soil from the bottom of the lake linking the island to the shoreB). Workers filled parts of the lake with earth so that crops could be grown
10 War and Religion Aztec civilization grew into a military empire 1400s, the Aztec army conquered nearly all rival communitiesAztec warriors raided their victims taking: maize, cotton cloth, copper, and weaponsConquered people were forced to work as slavesLike the Maya, the Aztec organized their society around religionAztec believed that human sacrifices were necessary to keep the gods pleased and to ensure abundant harvestsThousands of prisoners were sacrificed in religious ceremonies
11 Inca Inca Empire developed in the western highlands of South America. Its capital city, Cuzco, was founded around A.DInca Empire was the largest of the early American civilizations.1438, Emperor/Inca ruler, Pachacuti and his son, Topa Inca, conquered neighboring lands building their empire, stretching for more than 3,000 miles!More than 9 million people at its height (includes many conquered people).
12 Life of the IncaIncas were very advanced. They built 10,000 miles of stone paved roads, that ran over mountains, deserts, and through jungles.Rope bridges made from grass crossed canyons and riversRunners carried messages both to and from the Emperor to remote outposts of the empire to Cuzco.Quechua—Language of the Inca. Became the official language of the entire Inca empire.Inca did not have a system of writing, but they developed a system of record-keeping with string called Quipus.Inca developed a system of TERRACING the land by building broad platforms so that they could plant crops on mountainous slopes. Stone walls were built on the terraces to hold the soil and plants in place.Farmers grew: maize, squash, tomatoes, peanuts, chili peppers, melons, cotton, and potatoes.
13 WorshippingAll land belonged to the Emperor, who was believed to be a descendant of the sun god.Inca believed that the sun god enjoyed displays of gold. Therefore, the Inca created magnificent gold jewelry and temple ornaments.Inca built special cities devoted to religious ceremonies: Machu Picchu, one of these cities, was on a mountaintop site.
14 Key Terms Define the following terms: Civilization Theocracy HieroglyphicsTerrace
15 5 Question Quiz Machu Picchu is a small ________ city. a). Aztec b). Maya c). Inca2). Tikal was the largest _______ city.a). Aztec b). Maya c). Inca3). Tenochtitlan was an ________ city.a). Aztec b). Maya c). Inca4). Developed hieroglyphicsa). Aztec b). Maya c). Inca5). The ___________ grew into a military empire.a). Aztec b). Maya c). Inca
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