Ancient Civilizations of Latin America Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas The Mayan Civilization The Mayans were a very advanced culture during the period of 250 A.D. – 900 A.D. Historians classify the Mayan society to that of Greece and Rome Mayans had a written language, studied astronomy, mathematics, and built intricate cities This civilization centered on the Yucatan Peninsula Yucatan Peninsula Copan: A Mayan City Located in the present day country of Honduras Population 20,000 people The city was very densely populated – small land area Hundreds of buildings that would range from grand temples to grass huts Pokta-Pok This Mayan game was a cross between soccer and basketball Very large spectator sport Often times losing team was sacrificed to the Gods as worthy warriors No hands, full pads, goal was to get the ball through a stone hoop Cash Crop Economy largely based on agriculture What is maize? Yum Kax, maize god, was to have created the Mayans from maize dough Other crops included beans, squash, peppers, avocado, and papaya Top delicacy came from the cacao tree. What does this tree produce? Mayans also hunted native game Boys vs. Girls Boys were removed from their homes in their early teens to live in group homes In these group homes, boys were taught to be warriors, and learned to play PoktaPok Girls stayed at home with their mothers to learn how to cook and take care of the home Hierarchy of Mayan Society What is a hierarchy? Kings Warriors Wealthy Farmers Merchants Average to Poor Farmers Slaves (POW’s) Monotheistic or Polytheistic? Three Worlds: – Upper World – Middle World – Under World Studied astronomy as part of their religion – Allowed them to create a calendar Hundreds of gods Fall of the Maya? If they were so powerful, and such a great society, what happened to them? Answer: Who knows… The Aztec Empire: In the Beginning… The Aztecs, originally the Mexica, traveled throughout present day Mexico searching for a suitable home (This is where Mexico gets its name today) Some believe that many were the last of the Mayans They finally arrived at Lake Texcoco In the middle of this lake, there was an island… The Aztec Empire: In the Beginning…(cont’d) On this island a sign from the heavens was received… What sign can you imagine was seen? This sign was an eagle who flew from high in the sky and landed on a cactus and began eating a snake…this sign was interpreted as the gods informing the Aztecs to settle there Good Choice??? What a bum deal from the Gods… The island that would eventually become the great city of Tenochtitlan, was nothing but swamp land…good for nothing What are Chinampas? Chinampas are human made islands (see page 162 in your textbook) Reeds were tied together, then fertile lake mud was piled on the reeds, allowing the Aztecs to create fertile islands for farming in the swamp lands they called home Cash Crop The most important crop was…Corn Other crops were squash tomatoes, chili peppers, and edible flowers. 3 out of every four Aztecs were farmers Others worked in the construction of buildings and causeways They also raised turkey, ducks, geese, and dogs for food Tenochtitlan One of the grandest cities seen by any of those that witnessed it at its peek in relation to any of the great cities of Europe. Gold was plentiful and used in many fashions to beatify the city Very large, and open all night! Life of War and Sacrifice “There is nothing like death in war” Only blood can nourish the Sun God 30,000/year 2,500/month 625/week 89/day 3/hour 1 every 20 minutes Every male served as warriors – regardless of standing The Fateful Dream… Montezuma the powerful king of the Aztecs has an ironic dream of the Sun God coming to visit him by sea. The ironic part of this dream is that on the same day the Sun God was to come, Hernan Cortes came to visit the Aztecs from Spain Cortes was treated as a god Taking advantage of the situation… Cortes realizing that he was being welcomed as a king, took advantage of the situation Once believing that conquering the Aztecs would be difficult, he now knew he had things easy Cortes took all the riches for the most part without a fight Disease Takes Hold Not only did the Aztecs have to deal with disadvantage of the Spaniards metal weapons and defenses, but disease also took a terrible toll on the Aztec people Without having built up tolerances against certain European diseases and sicknesses, the Aztecs immune systems were unable to fight anything off The Inca Civilization If you were told that the Inca were very similar to te other two cultures we discussed, answer the following questions… Were the Incas monotheisitc, or polytheistic? What was the main crop of the Inca? What natural resource do you think the Inca had ample amounts of? Who was the most important god to the Inca? Answers Polytheistic Corn Water Sun God – The Inti A civilization in the mountains… The Inca civilization was based out of the Andes Mountains. Agriculture was a huge part of Inca society Every year the Inca emperor would in ceremonial fashion take the first cut into the land with a plow of pure gold How would people in the Andes Mountains farm? Answer The Inca developed a terrace system on the side of the mountains where they lived (check out textbook page 164).