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SPONGE 1.Most scientists think that bands of hunters reached North America across a __________ ________. (p.36) 2.The earliest known civilization in the.

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Presentation on theme: "SPONGE 1.Most scientists think that bands of hunters reached North America across a __________ ________. (p.36) 2.The earliest known civilization in the."— Presentation transcript:

1 SPONGE 1.Most scientists think that bands of hunters reached North America across a __________ ________. (p.36) 2.The earliest known civilization in the Americas was that of the _________ in Central America. (p.37) Chapter 2, Lesson 1

2 The First Civilizations of the Americas Chapter 2, Section 1

3 There is no way to know how long Native Americans have lived in the Americas or where they come from. Scientific evidence suggests that Native Americans came across the Bering Straight from Asia during the last ice age (13,000 – 20,000 years ago.) At this time glaciers covered 1/3 of the earth and reached as far south as Kentucky. Reaching the Americas

4 Others believe that the first Americans arrived by boat from Asia, Polynesia or Africa. Most tribes have an oral history that says they came from this land – not from another continent. These early Americans multiplied and spread all the way to the tip of South America, living in a variety of lands and climates. Around 12,000 years ago, the ice age ended and the land bridge between Asia and Alaska disappeared. At the same time, many types of large animals died out and tribes began to rely more on farming and gathering. Reaching the Americas

5 Farming allowed tribes to build food surpluses and support large cities for the first time. 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. The Olmec

6 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, while farmers and slaves were the least powerful. Priests made amazing advances in math, calendars and astronomy.

7 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.

8 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 great revolution tore society apart

9 The Aztec Centuries after the Mayans fell, Aztec nomads settled in the Valley of Mexico (1100’s AD.) 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, farmers and slaves, as well as gifted craftsmen.

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

11 The Inca Around 1200, the Incas settled in Cuzco (Peru.) Most Incans 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.

12 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.


14 Early Cultures of North America Before the Mayan and Aztec cultures fell, many of their ideas, foods, art and beliefs traveled to tribes further north. Farming techniques had already spread to the American southwest by 1,000 B.C. and societies like the Hohokams and Anasazis emerged there.

15 People of the Southwest The Hohokams lived in present-day Arizona. About 2,000 years ago they began digging networks of irrigation ditches so they could farm the desert. Farmers could now raise corn, squash and beans.

16 People of the Southwest The Anasazis built large adobe houses that the Spanish later called Pueblos. In the year 1,000 this tribe built their villages into cliffs in order to escape attacks from neighboring tribes. Farmers planted crops on land above the cliffs.

17 Mound Builders In the east, more farming cultures grew. One of them, the Mound Builders, built thousands of earthen mounds from Wisconsin to Florida. The first mounds were used for burials, but later ones were used for religious purposes. The largest Mound Builder city was Cahokia, where 30,000 people lived around 1500.

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