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Ancient Latin American Civilizations

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Presentation on theme: "Ancient Latin American Civilizations"— Presentation transcript:

1 Ancient Latin American Civilizations
Mayas, Aztecs, and Incas

2 Maya Civilization Arrived in (present-day) northern Guatemala around 1000 BC The Mayas are BEST known for: Studying the stars and planets (led to a calendar being created) Developing a system of writing called HIEROGLYPHS The Maya also lived in southern Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, and Belize.

3 Maya Origins and Religion
Early Maya lived in small, isolated villages Villages soon began TRADING with each other---as TRADE increased, villages GREW TRADE, not RULERS, linked the Maya’s cities Religion: Worshipped MANY gods EXS: sun god, moon goddess, and maize (corn) god Believed each god controlled a different part of everyday life Wanted to please the gods---believed them to be BOTH HELPFUL and HARMFUL

4 Advancements Studied math and astronomy extensively (With a lot of detail) Created calendars based on various movements Ex.: 260-day calendar for sacred days and a 365-day calendar based on the sun’s movements Maya calendar was MORE accurate than any calendar used by Europeans until the 1700s.

5 HIEROGLYPHS Created a system of writing called Hieroglyphs
Best developed written language in ancient Latin America Example of Maya hieroglyphs from the Museo de sitio in Mexico.

6 The Mayans Disappear? Early AD 900s, the empire began to decline
People stopped building structures and left the cities, moving back to the countryside There are MANY theories (ideas) as to why the Maya empire collapsed, but one thing is for sure---by the time the Spanish arrived in the 1500s, the Mayas had faded.

7 Aztec Civilization Arrived in the Valley of Mexico in the 1100s
The Aztecs were made up of a number of wandering warriors, most from the Mexica tribe All the “good” land was taken, so they settled on a swampy island in the middle of Lake Texcoco Had little land to farm on, so the Aztecs built floating gardens called CHINAMPAS

8 Aztecs Expand 1325: began building their capital, Tenochtitlan, and conquering nearby towns Came to power mainly due to war and the conquest of other peoples The Aztecs forced those conquered to pay TRIBUTES (taxes) How could tributes be paid? Food, cotton, gold, or slaves Tributes allowed the Aztecs to grow very rich


10 Aztec Society The MOST important member of society was the EMPEROR
Chose trusted nobles to oversee his demands regarding trade, payment collections, and warfare All men, including PRIESTS, had to join Aztec army for 2 reasons: (1) help maintain a powerful empire and (2) religious.

11 Religion Religion: Worshipped MANY gods, believed the gods controlled nature and human activities. Exs.: Quetzalcoatl, Tezcatlipoca, and Huitzilopochtli Human sacrifices were regularly made by priests to please the gods (mostly SLAVES and those captured in battle were sacrificed)

12 Aztec Achievements Sculpted stone pyramids and statues
Like the Maya, studied astronomy and made a calendar Like the Mayans, used HIEROGLYPHS for their writings and kept detailed records of historical information Had a strong oral tradition

13 End of Aztec Empire Late 1400s: Spanish arrive
Are looking for (1) Adventure, (2) Riches, and (3) Converts to Catholicism 1519: Group was led by conquistador (conqueror) Hernan Cortes Aztec’s are taken over by Cortes and the Spanish Hernan Cortes vs. Montezuma II story

14 Incas 1200: Settled in Cuzco, which is a village in the Andes (South America) Began as a small tribe in the Andes Cuzco eventually became the capital city Mid 1400s: Inca ruler, Pachacuti, began to expand Inca territory (some conquering) Other leaders soon followed his example Empire eventually stretched from (present-day) Ecuador to central Chile About 12 million Incas lived in the empire

15 Inca Government To rule effectively, built a strong CENTRAL government
Pachacuti removed local leaders from conquered lands because he wanted to remain the MAIN leader/ruler Created an official language (Quechua) to UNIFY the people Government also told households what work to do.

16 Social Divisions Inca had NO Slaves, didn’t practice this idea.

17 Incan Religion Worshipped many gods
Inti, the sun god was the most important Incas thought their rulers were related to the SUN god (their most important) and that they never really died. Inca had ceremonies with sacrifices, but didn’t use humans like the Maya and Aztec. Those outside of Cuzco worshipped other gods as well and at other “sacred” locations Mountaintops, rocks, and springs

18 Inca Achievements Excellent farmers, builders, and managers
Cuzco (capital) was the center of government, trade, learning, and religion Built more than 19,000 miles of roads Why? Roads allowed the Incas to better govern their empire; they could get to other areas easier

19 Achievements continued
The Incas also built canals and aqueducts What is an AQUEDUCT? Pipe or channel designed to carry water from a distant source Why did the Incas feel that canals and aqueducts were important? Allowed the Incas to irrigate (dampen) land that was otherwise too dry to grow crops

20 Inca Language? Had NO written language
Recorded info. using a QUIPUS (kee-pooz) What is a Quipus? A “writing” system of knotted strings where the knots=numbers and the different color strings represent info. about crops, land, and other important topics When Spanish arrived, they had Inca stories/historical info. written in Spanish

21 Quipus

22 The End of the Inca Empire
Late 1520s: Civil War breaks out amongst the Incas—2 brothers both want to be NEW ruler Atahualpa (ah-tah-WAHL-pah) vs. Huascar 1532: Atahualpa wins, but the fighting has weakened the Inca army On the way to his crowning, Atahualpa learns of a Spanish group in the area; led by Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish attack Atahualpa is captured (and later killed) and the Incas are defeated

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