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Chapter 21: Worlds Apart: The Americas and Oceania

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Title: Chapter 21: Worlds Apart: The Americas and Oceania


1
Chapter 21 Worlds Apart The Americas and
Oceania
Before you get started, This would be a great
chapter for a graphic organizer, charts, Venn
diagrams . . . You choose. Most of the chapter is
about the Aztecs and the Incas, and those two
empires should demand most of your
attention. Four pages at the end of this chapter
are about Oceania, and there could be a few
multiple guess questions about the region on the
AP exam. The essay portions of the exam do not
address Oceania until the period of 1450 - 1750.
Be sure to return to these four pages for a
thorough review before you begin Chapter 23. For
now concentrate on the Aztecs and Incas, use your
graphic organizer. STATES EMPIRES IN
MESOAMERICA NORTH AMERICA The people of North
and South America, who had only fleeting contact
with Asia, Africa, and Europe from 1000 - 1500
C.E., did develop similar empires of highly
organized governments, distinctive cultural and
religious traditions, and elaborate trade
networks. The indigenous people of Australia and
the Pacific Islands created self-sufficient
societies and tended to their own needs. The
Toltecs and the Mexica (Themes Patterns of
Interaction, Trade, War) The Toltecs emerged at
the end of the tumultuous ninth and early tenth
centuries as the dominant culture in much of
central Mexico.
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The Toltecs and the Mexica (Themes Patterns of
Interaction, Trade, War) Their capital city,
Tula, grew to a population of over 60,000, due to
irrigation from the nearby river which allowed
the Toltecs to grow crops of beans, maize,
peppers, tomatoes, chilies, and cotton. Their
large army allowed the Toltecs to build a compact
regional empire supported by the people they
conquered who were required to send them tribute.
Trade networks, stretching along the Gulf of
Mexico, supplied the Toltecs with luxury items
from throughout Mesoamerica. The Toltec empire
was at its height from 950 - 1150 and by 1175,
they could no longer halt struggles between
ethnic groups or defend against nomadic invaders
from northwest Mexico. The Mexica, also known as
the Aztecs, came to central Mexico around the
middle of the 13th century. Known as disorderly
for kidnapping women and seizing lands already
cultivated by other groups, the Mexica were
constantly on the move, as their neighbors
challenged their disruptions. Around 1345, the
Mexica settled on a marshy region of Lake Texcoco
and founded their capital, Tenochtitlan. The site
offered water and abundant wildlife, allowing the
Mexica to create a system of agriculture based on
raised gardens known as chinampas. Good farmers
could produce as much as seven crops per year
from the lake bottom soil. By the early 1400s,
the Mexica, were led by Itzcoatl followed by
Moctezuma, (Montezuma), who began a series of
raids to add areas of southwestern Mexico, the
Gulf Coast region, and finally the high plateaus
of central Mexico to their empire. They formed an
alliance with two allies, which allowed them to
become the dominant culture of Mesoamerica. The
reason for expansion was tribute food crops,
textiles, jewelry, obsidian knives, and rubber in
exchange for jade, emeralds, jaguar skins, and
sea shells for use by the elite class.
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The Toltecs and the Mexica (Themes Patterns of
Interaction, Trade, War) The Aztecs did not
develop elaborate bureaucracies to control their
empire. Instead, the Mexica and their allies
conquered other regions and demanded tribute,
leaving local government up to the people they
conquered. They did not have a permanent standing
army, rather, they simply raised their forces
whenever needed and their ruthless reputation
kept most of the conquered peoples in submission
to their rule. Mexica Society (Theme Social and
Gender Structures) Mexica society was strictly
hierarchical and patriarchal. The most elite
social group were warriors who enjoyed great
material wealth and took positions of leadership
as the council chose the Mexica ruler, debated
public needs, and filled government posts. A
priestly class were highly ranked and part of the
Mexica elite. Priests received an education
centered on rituals and calendar lore, they also
presided over religious ceremonies which the
Mexica saw as crucial to the continuation of
their world. At times, members of this group
became rulers of the Mexica, Motecuzoma II for
example. Artisans who worked with gold, silver,
cotton textiles, or feathers had a place of great
prestige in Mexica society because their work
supplied the luxury items for the elite class.
Merchants who specialized in long-distance trade
were in a prestigious position but were often
seen as greedy. They also gathered foreign and
military intelligence. Most of the Mexica were
commoners who lived in and around the chinampas
and other lands given to them by the calpulli,
organized community groups. The calpulli, began
as an ancestor-based groups evolving into
location-based groups that organized their own
affairs and distributed land to individual
families.
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Mexica Society (Theme Social and Gender
Structures) In addition to their own land, the
commoners also worked the land for the
aristocrats and contributed labor to public
building projects like temples, palaces, roads,
and irrigation systems. Commoners were also
responsible for producing and delivering tribute
to the aristocrats. Mexica society also had major
slave populations, most of whom were Mexica,
either sold by their families out of financial
need or because of their own criminal behavior,
so most slaves WERE NOT foreigners. Though women
played littler public role in a male dominated
society, such as this one, they did play
significant roles in their families and in their
society as the mothers of warriors. Almost all
Mexica women married, as tradition taught that a
womans value was first and foremost as mothers
of warriors (have you heard of this in another
culture weve studied), and that bearing children
was equal to capturing an enemy in battle. Death
in childbirth was celebrated as a death on the
battlefield! Mexica Religion (Themes Cultural
and Religious Developments) Mexica tradition was
built on the foundations of earlier Mesoamerican
traditions such as speaking Nahutal, adapting the
Mayan calendar, and embracing the ball game.
Their gods emerged from the traditional group of
gods and included Tezcatlipoca, the giver and
taker of life, and Quetzalcoatl, the supporter of
the arts, crafts, and agriculture. The gods were
believed to have shed their blood to provide life
giving moisture for the earth to ensure its
fertility. Ritualized bloodletting was an
important part of Mexica religious practice.
Human sacrifice was seen as essential to the
worlds survival.
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Mexica Religion (Themes Cultural and Religious
Developments) When the Aztec warriors adopted
Huitzilopochtli as their patron god in the early
14th century, the amount of humans sacrificed
increased dramatically, as did the Mexicas
military victories. The blood of the sacrificed
criminals, prisoners of war, or people given in
tribute was believed to sustain the sun, secure
needed moisture, and continue their
society. Peoples and Societies of the
North (Theme Political Structures) The people of
North America mostly lived in hunting, gathering,
and foraging societies which did not support
large, dense populations, but they also built
some large-scale agricultural societies. The
Pueblo and Navajo people in the North American
southwest built an agricultural society based on
maize cultivation. The Iroquois built a complex
society based on agriculture in the regions east
of the Mississippi. Iroquois culture often
included wooden longhouses and compounds
surrounded by wooden palisades. Women took
responsibility for village life and men assumed
the responsibilities for hunting, fishing, and
war. Mound-building people in the eastern half of
the modern U.S. built large cities such as the
one whose remains are best seen outside St.
Louis, Missouri today. Though these people left
no written records, archaeological evidence
suggests societies linked by trade and
characterized by a range of social classes.
STATES EMPIRES IN SOUTH AMERICA Since there
was no tradition of writing in South America
prior to the Spanish arrival, knowledge about
those empires comes mostly from archaeological
evidence and from information recorded by the
Spanish conquerors.
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The Coming of the Incas (Theme Patterns of
Interaction Changes and Continuities) After the
end of the Chavin society in the fourth century
B.C.E., and Moche society in the ninth century
C.E., a series of small, regional states emerged
in Andean South America. The kingdom of Chuchito,
which dominated the border region between modern
Bolivia and Peru, relied on terraced farming of
potatoes and herding of llamas and alpacas for
food and trade items necessary to survive in the
high Andes. The kingdom of Chimor or Chimu
emerged on the Peruvian coast in the tenth
century. Using irrigation networks to tap Andean
water, the Chimu and its capital Chanchan emerged
as a thriving agricultural society built on
abundant maize and sweet potatoes. In the
mid-fifteenth century, both the Chuchito and
Chimu societies fell under the domination of the
Incas who began to expand their realm outside
their Lake Titicaca settlements. By the late
fifteenth century, the Inca empire stretched from
the Pacific to the limits of the Amazon
rainforest and from modern Ecuador to Argentina,
with a population of more than eleven million
people. Cuzco was the administrative, religious,
and ceremonial capital of the empire. Inca
royalty, nobility, high priests, and hostages
from the conquered people lived in handsome red
stone buildings in this city of nearly 300,000. A
road system of nearly 10,000 miles tied Cuzco to
the rest of the empire and Inca traditions spread
throughout the vast empire which they ruled by
shrewd use of their power. They encouraged
obedience of conquered people by using them in
their armies and by posting them to bureaucratic
positions. They took hostages from the ruling
classes and sent their own loyal subjects to
colonize difficult regions and they sometimes
forced rebelling people to relocate in distant
parts of their empire.
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The Coming of the Incas (Theme Patterns of
Interaction Changes and Continuities) Inca
bureaucrats kept detailed records using a
mnemonic device called quipu to record
statistical information like population, tax
rolls and receipts, labor services, and to
remember historical information relating to
rulers and their deeds. Inca Society and
Religion (Themes Social, Cultural and Religious
Developments) The main classes in Inca society
were the rulers, aristocrats, priests,and
peasants. There was no large merchant class
because the Inca government did not allow
individuals to become independent merchants.
Individual artisans made goods for local
consumption and a few made specialized goods for
the ruling and priest classes, however, items
were bartered for on the local level. In theory,
the Inca chief ruler was an absolute and
infallible deity descended from the sun, and he
owned all land, livestock, and property in his
empire during his lifetime and even after his
death. The dead rulers, still considered powerful
because they were believed to act as
intermediaries between the dead and the living,
were mummified, cared for, and brought out for
ceremonial occasions and when the living Inca
ruler needed their counsel. Aristocrats who made
up the government bureaucracy wore fine clothes,
consumed fine foods, and wore elaborate ear
spools as symbols of their authority. Further,
these aristocrats staffed the government
bureaucracy which allocated the Inca rulers land
which the commoners cultivated on his behalf.
Inca priests, who also came from aristocratic
families, were responsible for overseeing
religious rituals. Common Inca peasants lived in
communities called ayllu, which consisted of
several families who lived together on state
lands and the production from the land went to
support the ruling, aristocratic, and priestly
classes.
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THE SOCIETIES OF OCEANIA The people of Oceania
built flourishing societies of their own,
creating trade networks between hunting and
gathering societies. The Nomadic Foragers of
Australia (Themes Changes/Continuities
Cultural/Religious Developments) Life for the
aboriginal peoples of Australia changed little
after they learned how to exploit the continents
varied resources. Despite knowledge of food
cultivated in other lands, they never developed
agriculture instead they relied on their lands
regional bounty and on the exchange of surplus
foods as they met other mobile and nomadic people
during their seasonal migrations. Trade goods,
like pearly oyster shells, have been found more
than one thousand miles inland. Stone axe heads,
spears, boomerangs, furs, skins, and fibers were
commonly traded items from the interior, and
stone clubs, decorative trinkets, exotic plants,
and valuable iron axes indicate that goods
entered Australia from New Guinea and the islands
of southeast Asia. Religious traditions of the
aboriginal people were local and centered on
geological features and continuing supplies of
plants, animals, and water. These ideas and
practices did not spread beyond the regions of
individual societies. The Development of Pacific
Island Societies (Themes Economic, Migration,
Interaction, Socio-Cultural) By 1000 C.E., a
surging population prompted social and political
development in Pacific Island societies. Because
of their proximity, mariners linked island
societies in the central and western Pacific
regions to develop trade networks for useful and
exotic goods as well as food.
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The Development of Pacific Island
Societies (Themes Economic, Migration,
Interaction, Socio-Cultural) However, due to the
huge distances in the eastern Pacific Ocean,
regular trade networks did not develop.
Occasional long voyages could have memorable
results, as did Polynesian voyages to South
America in the fifth century C.E. that introduced
the sweet potato to the islands where it became a
prominent source of food, especially in New
Zealand. Population growth occurred as islanders
built productive agricultural and fishing
societies. The cultivation of yams, sweet
potatoes, bananas, and other foods and the
development of technologies like Hawaiian
fishponds both stimulated rapid population
growth. Dense population placed tremendous
pressure on natural resources and human
institutions. Conflicts like the ones on Easter
Island in the early 1500s resulted in the
eventual decline of some long-term societies.
Restrictions on food supplies and on the wearing
of feathers was part of the stratification of
social and political powers. War gods and
agriculture were common throughout the Pacific
Islands, though individual islands and groups had
their own deities as well. Structures known as
marae were built with several terraced floors of
rock or coral walls designating the boundaries of
a sacred place. In Tonga and Samoa, temples were
made of timber with thatched roofs for worship,
sacrifice, and communication with the gods.
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Finished Reading the Chapter?Be sure you can . .
.
  • Describe and analyze the social, cultural,
    economic, and political patterns in the
    Amerindian world Aztec and Inca.
  • Explain the impact of Aztec and Inca migrations
    on demographics and the environment
  • Trace the growth and role of cities in the Aztec
    and Inca Empires
  • Compare and contrast the Aztec and Inca empires.
    (Social hierarchy, religious ideals and
    practices, economic organization, and political
    institutions are logical categories to draw from
    this chapter.)

11
Primary Source Questions
  1. Read Mexica Expectations of Boys and Girls on
    page 545.
  2. What does the use of animal imagery at a young
    boys birth suggest about Mexica culture?
  3. What do the midwifes words indicate about
    womens roles in Mexica culture?
  4. How might social class impact these expectations?
  5. Examine the quipu photograph, on page 519.
  6. In what ways is quipu well-suited for Inca
    culture?
  7. Why might the Incas have developed this method
    using these materials for recording
    communication?
  8. What parallels exist between quipu technology and
    modern communication methods?
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