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Civilizations of the Americas

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Presentation on theme: "Civilizations of the Americas"— Presentation transcript:

1 Civilizations of the Americas
The Maya A.D. Aztec A.D. Inca A.D.

2 Location Aztec Empire – The Valley of Mexico located in the high plateau of central Mexico Mayas – From the Yucatan in southern Mexico through much of Central America Incas – western South America

3 Geography of the Americas

4 Type of Government Aztec Empire – A single ruler, an emperor who was chosen by a council of nobles and priests. Maya – Divided into city-states with a ruling chief for each city-state. Inca – A “sapa inca” who was supreme ruler, owned everything and was divine.

5 Religion Aztec – Polytheistic, priests were powerful; many human sacrifices to the god Quetzalcoatl who was the sun god. His giant pyramid towered above central Tenochtitlan.

6 Religion Maya – Polytheistic; priests held power because only they could perform important ceremonies. Priests held sacrifices on platforms of high temples while ordinary people watched from below.

7 Religion Inca – Polytheistic
The Ruler was also the chief religious leader. Polytheistic; belief in many nature spirits A powerful class of priests served the gods Chosen Women – special attendants had honored role in Incan ritual.

8 Agriculture Aztec – Farmed on “floating islands” or chinampas to create more farmland Grew corn, squash and beans Used canals and aqueducts for transportation.

9 Agriculture Maya – slash and burn method: Cut down tropical forest; burn brush and spread ashes for fertilizer. Grew corn, beans, squash, fruit trees, flowers Incas – Used irrigation; grew 700 kinds of potatoes on mountain slopes; terrace farming. Terrace farming because of mountains.

10 Advances Aztecs – Had a calendar – excelled in math and astronomy; used herbs for medicine; priests recorded laws and history; extensive trade networks Maya – Had a number system and zero; a calendar; bark books and used hieroglyphic writing

11 Advances Incas – Great Road System through the mountains
Roads helped army and messengers Pottery/Weaving Quipus-knotted ropes for record keeping Calendar Medicinal Herbs

12 Buildings/Cities Aztec – Tenochtitlan was the capital city.
It was located in Lake Texcoco and was connected to the mainland by causeways. The city contained temples, palaces, zoos and floating gardens. It was the center of the empire

13 Buildings/Cities Maya – Pyramid temples Palaces Carved Pillars

14 Buildings/Cities Inca - Ceremonial Centers
Stone building (can’t get a knife through the stones) and engineering Cuzco - capital Machu Picchu Machu Picchu

15 Social Classes Aztec Maya Inca Emperor Priests Nobles Warriors
Commoners/ Farmers Slaves (Criminals or POWs) Ruling Chief of EACH CITY Nobles (military leaders, directed public works and collected taxes) (Sometimes women ruled) Ruler/Priest Nobles/Local Chiefs Government Officials (kept records of taxes) Strict regulations on job assignments and marriages

16 How Did the Empire End? Aztec Maya Inca
Montezuma defeated by Spanish conquistadors and Hernan Cortes in 1500 A.D. Cities abandoned by 900 A.D. Why?? Wars? Overpopulation? Revolts? The Mayan language still survives in S. Mexico and Guatemala In 1525 the Emperor dies and his two sons fight for control. This weakens the empire making it easy for Francisco Pizarro to conquer in 1535 A.D.

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