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Nubian, Olmec, and Chavin Civilizations

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Presentation on theme: "Nubian, Olmec, and Chavin Civilizations"— Presentation transcript:

1 Nubian, Olmec, and Chavin Civilizations

2 Nubia, 3100BCE – 350CE Aswan and Khartoum Trade center – Sub – Saharan Africa and Mediterranean Resources: gold, copper, stones Nile, irrigation, trade (boats/caravans to avoid cataracts) Bantu migrations- farmers in the Sahel migrate East and South


4 Early Cultures and Egyptian Domination, 2300 – 1100 BCE
Old Kingdom Egypt sought riches that came through Nubia Middle Kingdom – Egypt more aggressive, wanted more control (forts), mostly peaceful 1750 BCE Kingdom of Kush – huge mud brick monuments Belief in afterlife (possessions sacrificed/buried) New Kingdom – Egypt destroyed Kush, ruled over Nubia, exploited for gold Egypt imposed culture (elites, military, manufactured goods, towns, gods) 2300 BCE – Aswan southern limit to Egypt, noblemen led caravans into Nubia for gold, incense, ebony wood, ivory, slaves, and exotic animals from Egypt – dangerous work, needed protection from Nubian chiefs Middle Kingdom – Egypt wanted gold mines/more direct access to goods from sub Saharan Africa Egypt a huge supplier of gold for middle east, forced natives to mine, high fatalities

5 QUESTIONS: Review core/periphery terms. Was Nubia ever a core civilization? How did the technological and cultural influences of Egypt affect the formation of Nubia?


7 Kingdom of Meroe, 800 BCE – 350 CE
1200 BCE - Egypt loses control over Nubia (Napata and Meroe) Brief control over Egypt, lost when they challenged the Assyrians, Egyptian cultural influence continued 4th c. BCE – Meroe (trade, agriculture), sub – Saharan culture, new language, new deities Matrilineal system (queens involved in warfare, diplomacy, monumental buildings) City of Meroe huge, reservoirs, iron smelting Collapsed 4th c. BCE (nomads on camels, loss of trade) Napata (8th – 4th c. BCE) and Meroe (4th c. BCE – 4th c. CE) 25th Dynasty Nubian rulers, kept many royal Egyptian customs, kept Nubian names, depicted with sub – Saharan features, Kings resided at Memphis, at Thebes a female – God’s Wife of Amon Nubians offered to help local Palestinians in 701 BCE, Assyrians MAD and pushed them back to Napata/traditional border, Nubians mummified rulers, sandstone pyramids Meroe – king succeeded by the son of his sister, queens sometimes ruled alone/partnerships with husbands


9 QUESTIONS: Compare/contrast what we know about the role of women in Egyptian and Nubian society. What was the importance of trade to the native civilizations that emerged along the Nile south of Egypt?

10 Early American Civilizations
Arrival of humans to Americas contested (35,000 to 13,000 BCE) – isolated Environment (Guns, Germs, and Steel thesis – see page 9 in textbook) Elites organized population to change environment for their needs 1000 BCE – Olmec (Mesoamerica) and Chavin (Andes)



13 Olmecs 1200BCE – 400BCE Located in Mexico (near Veracruz)
Grew corn beans and squash primarily Vast trade networks, encompassing very diverse areas, but small territory relative to land available- no empire/political unification Each center seems to have fallen due to a violent rebellion (defaced monuments) Colossal mounds used in religious ceremonies, importance of animal motifs, calendar/writing Clear social structure, elites controlled labor pool (increased food production), merchants Domestication of staple crops allowed specialization, religious/political elites emerged – population organized irrigation canals, civic buildings Separate Olmec centers developed independently, exchanged specialized products (salt, cacao, limestone, etc.) Cities in alignment with paths of certain stars Large platforms of packed earth Elites controlled labor pool, skilled artisans lived near city cores – merchants who engaged in trade

14 OLMEC ART Almost all of these colossal heads bear the same features - flattened nose, wide lips, and capping headpiece - possible features of the Olmec warrior-kings. Often carved from volcanic stone at the stone's source, these heads would be rafted to the centers of the major Olmec cities along the southern Gulf of Mexico coast. This head is approximately 6 feet tall and 5 feet across. Shamanistic religion- The most well-known aspect of shamanism in Mesoamerican religion - and in the whole of Native American shamanism - is the ability to assume the powers of animals associated with the shaman. Such animals are called nahuales, and in Olmec art the most common of these is the jaguar. In a sense, the optimal spirit would have the spirituality and intellect of man and the ferocity and strength of the jaguar - these are all combined in the shaman and his jaguar nahuale.

15 Question: Compare the Olmec Empire to the River Valley civilizations. What similarities/differences can you find: socially, politically, economically, and religiously.

16 Chavin 900 – 250 BCE Very diverse environment (Andes mountains, jungles, coastal plains) Maize, quinoa, potatoes, LLAMAS Center of regional trade System of reciprocal labor obligations (monumental structures and irrigation) American metallurgy first developed in Andean region Not conquered or brought down by rebellion Rulers were buried with lots of gold, etc. Similar religious beliefs as Olmecs- jaguars, priests/shamans, etc. LLAMA extremely important for trade, carrying massive quantities around


18 QUESTIONS What role did nature and the environment play in the development of early civilizations in the Americas? (What geographic challenges did American civilizations face that Euro-Asian civilizations did not?)

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