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Location: Gulf Coast of Mexico

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Presentation on theme: "Location: Gulf Coast of Mexico"— Presentation transcript:

1 Location: Gulf Coast of Mexico
Olmec Civilization: The Mesoamerican Frontrunners (1200 BC – 500 BC) Location: Gulf Coast of Mexico

2 Olmec Civilization Highly centralized government Strict hierarchy
No specific rulers are known

3 Olmec Civilization Polytheistic
Practiced bloodletting as a form of sacrifice Human sacrifice (maybe?) Religious activities performed by a combination of rulers & priests

4 Olmec Civilization May have been the first civilization in the western hemisphere to develop a system of written language Calendar Concept of zero

5 Olmec Civilization Possible Explanations for Decline: Not known
Outside invaders? Internal destruction?

6 Location: Yucatan Peninsula
Mayan Civilization (AD 250 – 900) Location: Yucatan Peninsula

7 Mayan Civilization Composed of city-states Each contained: Its own ruler, farmland & an urban center built around ceremonial temples

8 Mayan Civilization Polytheistic Offerings of food, flowers & incense
Sacrificed humans (generally peasants) Worshipped nature gods

9 Mayan Civilization Written language; similar to hieroglyphics
System of numbers that included zero Accurate 365-day solar calendar

10 Mayan Civilization Society:
Men cultivated crops, while women processed them To support Mayan cities, farmers paid taxes in food

11 Mayan Civilization Possible Explanations for Decline: Frequent warfare
Overpopulation  over farming  soil exhaustion Peasant revolts

12 Aztec Civilization (AD 100 to 1500s)
Location: Mexico Valley

13 Aztec Civilization Single ruler – unified empire
Theocratic government characterized by frequent warfare Built an empire in Tenochtitlan by conquering neighboring civilizations

14 Aztec Civilization Polytheistic
Worshipped over 1, gods, but the sun god was the most important; his name was Huitzilopochtli Made human sacrifices

15 Aztec Civilization Social Hierarchy: King
Nobles (officials, judges, etc.) Warriors Commoners (farmers) Slaves (criminals & POWs)

16 Aztec Civilization Explanation for Decline:
Conquered by the Spanish (led by Hernando Cortes) Conquest led to destruction & epidemic disease, specifically smallpox

17 Incan Civilization (1400s – 1500s)
Location: Peru (South America)

18 Incan Civilization Incan Government:
Very efficient with many different levels Record keeping & tax collection

19 Incan Civilization The emperor (aka the Inca) had total control over the empire Claimed that he was the son of the sun, or divine… Therefore, he also served as the chief religious leader

20 Incan Civilization Polytheistic Believed in nature gods
Inti, the sun god, was most important Offerings of food & clothing

21 Incan Civilization Built 12,000 miles of road to unite empire
Runners were posted along Incan roads to relay messages of rebellions & natural disasters

22 Incan Civilization No flat land for farming
In order to overcome this challenge, farmers used terraces – strips of flat land carved into steep hillsides

23 Incan Civilization Explanation for Decline:
Weakness within the empire led to vulnerability Conquered by the Spanish (led by Francisco Pizarro)

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