Mesoamerican Civilizations

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Information about Mesoamerican Civilizations

Published on March 26, 2008

Author: rhalter

Source: slideshare.net

MESOAMERICAN CIVILIZATIONS Olmecs, Mayas, Incas, and Aztecs

Geography and People The first great American civilizations developed in Mesoamerica, also call Middle America Region includes Mexico and Central America The people that inhabited this region had migrated from other parts of North America The people farmed and grew corn, beans, squash, sweet potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes Farmers also domesticated animals

The first great American civilizations developed in Mesoamerica, also call Middle America

Region includes Mexico and Central America

The people that inhabited this region had migrated from other parts of North America

The people farmed and grew corn, beans, squash, sweet potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes

Farmers also domesticated animals

Map of Mesoamerica

The Olmecs The Olmec Empire, which existed from 1400-500 BC was the first major Mesoamerican civilization Developed in the tropical rain forests of Mexicos gulf coast They invented a calendar and system of writing made up of carved inscriptions Strongly devoted to religion and priests were highly respected

The Olmec Empire, which existed from 1400-500 BC was the first major Mesoamerican civilization

Developed in the tropical rain forests of Mexicos gulf coast

They invented a calendar and system of writing made up of carved inscriptions

Strongly devoted to religion and priests were highly respected

The Olmec Empire

The Mayas Flourished from AD 300-900 Complex agricultural society Mayas established large city-states Farming and Trade – most of the people were farmers. Men farmed while the women turned the crops into food. Farmers paid taxes in foodstuffs to support the city state. Religion was very significant and priests were well respected. Priests were the only who could conduct ceremonies and rituals that the Mayas believed would ensure bountiful harvests and victories in battle

Flourished from AD 300-900

Complex agricultural society

Mayas established large city-states

Farming and Trade – most of the people were farmers. Men farmed while the women turned the crops into food. Farmers paid taxes in foodstuffs to support the city state.

Religion was very significant and priests were well respected. Priests were the only who could conduct ceremonies and rituals that the Mayas believed would ensure bountiful harvests and victories in battle

Mayan Social Structure Ruling Chief Nobles (Military and Government Officials) Merchants and Artisans Farmers

Ruling Chief

Nobles (Military and Government Officials)

Merchants and Artisans

Farmers

Mayan Contributions Architecture – Built large pyramids and palaces Agriculture – Grew enough food to support large populations Science – Developed a hieroglyphic style of writing, an accurate calendar, numbering system, and understood the concept of zero

Architecture – Built large pyramids and palaces

Agriculture – Grew enough food to support large populations

Science – Developed a hieroglyphic style of writing, an accurate calendar, numbering system, and understood the concept of zero

Mayan Decline Around 900 AD, the Mayas abandoned their cities for unknown reasons. Historians speculate that possible causes of the decline may have been warfare, overpopulation, famine, or natural disaster.

Around 900 AD, the Mayas abandoned their cities for unknown reasons. Historians speculate that possible causes of the decline may have been warfare, overpopulation, famine, or natural disaster.

Map of the Mayan Empire

Mayan Ruins

The Aztecs In the late 1200’s, a nomadic group settled into Mexico and established their capital in Tenochtitlan The Aztecs were fierce warriors using military conquests and alliances to build a huge empire The Aztec Empire became very wealthy from collecting taxes from conquered people By the 1500’s, the Aztec Empire covered most of Mexico and included approximately 30 million people

In the late 1200’s, a nomadic group settled into Mexico and established their capital in Tenochtitlan

The Aztecs were fierce warriors using military conquests and alliances to build a huge empire

The Aztec Empire became very wealthy from collecting taxes from conquered people

By the 1500’s, the Aztec Empire covered most of Mexico and included approximately 30 million people

Social Structure of the Aztecs Aztecs were rules by a single emperor who was chosen by a council of priests and nobles Nobility Warriors Traders – also acted as military scouts Farmers Slaves

Aztecs were rules by a single emperor who was chosen by a council of priests and nobles

Nobility

Warriors

Traders – also acted as military scouts

Farmers

Slaves

Aztec Religion Priests were highly respected individuals Chief god was the Sun God To please their gods, the Aztecs offered thousands of human sacrifices

Priests were highly respected individuals

Chief god was the Sun God

To please their gods, the Aztecs offered thousands of human sacrifices

Aztec Contributions Developed an accurate calendar and established schools Doctors learned to set broken bones and dentists learned to treat dental cavities Architecture – the capital was built on the site of present day Mexico City. The city began as two small islands on Lake Texaco. Engineers filled in parts of the lake and built bridges to connect the city to the mainland.

Developed an accurate calendar and established schools

Doctors learned to set broken bones and dentists learned to treat dental cavities

Architecture – the capital was built on the site of present day Mexico City. The city began as two small islands on Lake Texaco. Engineers filled in parts of the lake and built bridges to connect the city to the mainland.

Human Sacrifice and the Capital

The Incas In the 1400’s, the Incas Emerged from the Andes Mountains and conquered a large area that extended over 2500 miles down the Pacific Coast The Incas were ruled by and emperor who held absolute power and also acted as chief religious leader and the son of the Sun God Capital was located at Cuzco The government controlled the lives of the people within their empire, everyone had to speak the Incan language and worship Incan gods

In the 1400’s, the Incas Emerged from the Andes Mountains and conquered a large area that extended over 2500 miles down the Pacific Coast

The Incas were ruled by and emperor who held absolute power and also acted as chief religious leader and the son of the Sun God

Capital was located at Cuzco

The government controlled the lives of the people within their empire, everyone had to speak the Incan language and worship Incan gods

Incan Roads The Incans built a large and elaborate system of roads Runners used these roads to carry news to far off provinces and the capital Often compared to the Roman system of roads

The Incans built a large and

elaborate system of roads

Runners used these roads to

carry news to far off provinces

and the capital

Often compared to the Roman

system of roads

Religion Worshipped many gods related to the forces of nature Sun God was the most important Priests were very powerful members of society

Worshipped many gods related to the forces of nature

Sun God was the most important

Priests were very powerful members of society

Incan Contributions Engineering – a system of roads that extended over 12,000 miles and included bridges and tunnels Temple of the Sun – built in the capital, it was so strong it could withstand the power of major earthquakes Agriculture – terrace farming used in mountainous regions Communication – Incan government officials kept records by means of a knotted, colored string system called quipus Incans also excelled in medicine

Engineering – a system of roads that extended over 12,000 miles and included bridges and tunnels

Temple of the Sun – built in the capital, it was so strong it could withstand the power of major earthquakes

Agriculture – terrace farming used in mountainous regions

Communication – Incan government officials kept records by means of a knotted, colored string system called quipus

Incans also excelled in medicine

Temple of the Sun and Quipus

Spanish Conquistadors Francisco Pizarro – conquered the Incan Empire Hernan Cortes – conquered the Aztec Empire The Native Mesoamerican population was devastated by diseases brought over by the Europeans The Europeans also had superior military technology

Francisco Pizarro – conquered the Incan Empire

Hernan Cortes – conquered the Aztec Empire

The Native Mesoamerican population was devastated by diseases brought over by the Europeans

The Europeans also had superior military technology

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