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Civilizations of Meso-America


Written language Calendars Art and architecture Temple building City development Mayan Temples Inca Civilization Inca Location Where was the Inca civilization? – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Civilizations of Meso-America

Civilizations of Meso-America
  • Aztecs, Mayans and Incas

  • Who were the Aztecs?
  • Civilization in the Valley of Mexico
  • Ruled the region from 1100s to 1500s

Aztec Empire
  • Aztec Empire
  • Arrived in the Valley of Mexico in 1148
  • Economy based on agriculture
  • Spanned from the Pacific Coast to the Gulf of
  • Major city Tenochtitlan
  • By 1520, included 20 million people

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Aztec Culture
  • What was life like in Aztec Culture?
  • Aztec culture divided into 2 classes, commoners
    and nobles
  • Noble male children attended school until 15
  • Women were subordinate to men
  • Slavery was common

Aztec Culture
  • What was life like in Aztec Culture?
  • Laws were simple and harsh
  • Most crimes punishable by death, beatings or
  • Slander ( or lying) was punishable by the loss of
    your lips!

Aztec Rule Montezuma though Spanish explorer
Cortez was a returning god. Montezuma offered
gifts of gold. Excited by the riches, Hernan
Cortes and an army to defeat the Aztecs in 1520
  • What caused the end to the Aztec Civilization?

  • Education
  • One of the first civilizations to require
  • Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Muscle relaxing medication
  • Mathematics
  • Idea of zero
  • Accurate calendar
  • Food
  • Popcorn
  • Chocolate
  • Chewing gum
  • Contributions difficult to trace because of
    destruction by Catholic missionaries
  • What were some contributions the Aztecs made to
    the world?

Aztec Beliefs
  • What were the beliefs of the Aztec people?
  • Aztecs religion was polytheistic (more than one
    god), they worshiped about 1,000 different gods.
  • The head of the gods was Huizilopochtlid, god of
    war and god of sun.

Aztec Beliefs
  • What did the Aztecs Believe?
  • They put their greatest efforts into making
    strong, beautiful temples to please their gods.
  • Their arts had a part in their religion. They
    drew pictures that told about their gods.
  • They recorded religious events with hieroglyphics
    and even number symbols.
  • They worshipped the sun god the most.

Aztec Beliefs
  • What did Aztecs believe?
  • The god of the Sun had told the Aztecs to wander
    until they found an eagle with a serpent in its
    mouth perched on a cactus growing from a rock.
    When they found this, they claimed the area
    around it, which is now known as Tenochtitlan.

Aztec Beliefs
  • Who was responsible for worship in Aztec Culture?
  • Priests and priestesses were very important
    people. They acted as doctors, and taught
    science, art, writing, music, dance, history, and

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Aztec Beliefs
  • Where did people worship?
  • Religious ceremonies took place in a temple
    called a teocalli.
  • This temple had sacred pools for ceremonial
    cleansing, gardens, living quarters for a priest,
    and racks to hold the skulls of victims.
  • Religion played a great part in Aztec life.

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Aztec Beliefs
  • How did Aztecs worship?
  • Sacrifice was one of the main events in the Aztec
  • Priests made human sacrifices to make the sun god
  • Aztecs fought in wars to capture men to
  • On God's Feast Day, they killed their slaves for
    the gods.
  • Human sacrifices were offerings to the sun and
    earth so that food would grow.

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Mayan Civilization
Pre-Classic(2600 B.C.E-250 B.C.E) Classic (250
C.E-900 C.E) Mayan Collapse Post-Classic period (
1000-1600 C.E)
Mayan Civilization
  • Where did Mayan Civilization occur?

Southern Mexico Yucatan peninsula, and modern
Chapas, and Tabasco in Mexico
Mayan Society
  • What was life like in the Mayan Civilization?
  • Land divided into states (major city and
    surrounding towns) were headed by a ruler who
    was often a priest

Mayan Society
  • What was life like in the Mayan Civilization?
  • Very few people lived in the urban centers
  • Mostly involved in agriculture

Mayan Society
  • What was life like in the Mayan Civilization?
  • Mayan civilization had unique ideas of beauty
  • Crossed EyesConsidered particularly beautiful
  • Babies were given objects to stare at to
    encourage crossed eyes
  • High, flat, sloping forehead
  • Tied boards to babies foreheads

Mayan Beliefs
  • What did Mayan People believe?
  • Polytheistic (more than one god)
  • Gods were not good or evil,
  • Like Aztecs, religious ceremonies closely tied to
    natural cycles ( moon phases, seasons, etc.)

Mayan Beliefs
  • What did the Mayan people believe?
  • Religious ceremonies consisted of singing,
    dancing, competitions, dramatic performances, and
    some human sacrifice
  • Human sacrifice usually voluntary
  • Participants gives blood or pieces (arms, tongue,
    eye, etc) to the god

Mayan Beliefs
  • What did the Mayan people believe?
  • Mayan people believed in an afterlife
  • Heaven was reserved for people who died in
    sacrifice, childbirth or hanged
  • Hell or xibal was for everyone else

Mayan Beliefs
  • What was the role of priests in Mayan society?
  • Believed priests could talk to gods
  • Most daily life directed by priests
  • Decided when to plant, who could marry,
    sometimes leaders

Mayan Beliefs
  • What did Mayan People believe?
  • Believed in the underworld, the sky and the
  • Knowing the past meant knowing the cycle of the
    present and knowing the present provided
    information for knowing the future
  • This focus on time led to development of
    sophisticated calendars and time keepers

End of the Mayan Civilization
  • Why did the Mayan Civilization end?
  • It took 170 years for the Spanish to get control
    of Mayan lands.
  • Mayans remained independent until the 1700s
  • Mayan culture, language, and art still practiced

Mayan Civilization
  • What are some contributions the Mayan
    civilization made to the world?
  • Written language
  • Calendars
  • Art and architecture
  • Temple building
  • City development

Mayan Temples
Inca Civilization
Inca Location
  • Where was the Inca civilization?

Along the coast of South America. Modern Chile,
Peru, parts of Argentina and Boliva Andes
Mountain Range
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Inca Time Period
  • When was the Inca civilization?
  • Little historic record of where the Incas came
  • No written language
  • Cuzco( in modern Peru) is the center.
  • Incas began spreading out from Cuzco in the 1400s
  • eventually created one of the largest empires in
    all of history

Inca Society
  • Royal family had absolute power
  • Relationships within clans based on community and
  • Strongly head belief that there is enough for
  • Conquered people required to pay a labor tax
    which provided roads and farmlands through the
    Andes mountains
  • What was it like to live in Inca Society?

Inca Society
  • What was it like to live in Inca society?
  • Most people lived above 10,000 feet in elevation
  • Worshiped at over 15,000 ft. in elevation
  • Difficult today, scientists still wonder how the
    Incas did it
  • Clothing made from Alpaca, and lama wool for the
    cool temperatures at high altitudes

Inca Beliefs
  • What did Incas believe?
  • Polytheistic (more than one god)
  • Gods mostly tied to natural objects or events
  • Main god- Sun-god
  • Sun-god was the only god to have temples
  • Royal family descended from the sun-god
  • Referred to as the Giver of Life

Inca Beliefs
  • What did the Incas believe?
  • Worshipped with monthly festivals to honor gods
  • Human sacrifice rare in Incan Culture
  • Reserved for major festivals or the crowning of a
    new emperor

Contributions of Inca Civilization
  • What contributions did Inca Civilization make?
  • Engineering
  • Forts built of cut stone that fit so precisely
    together they do not require mortar and are still
    standing in near perfect condition
  • Highly sophisticated network of roads, more roads
    than the Romans
  • Aqueducts and irrigation systems
  • Advanced Surgery and Medicine
  • Textiles and Ceramics

Contributions of the Inca Civilization
End of the Inca Civilization
  • Why did the Inca Civilization end?
  • Inspired by Cortes victory over the Aztecs,
    Francisco Pizzaro, another Spanish explorer
    invaded in 1531 with 200 soldiers
  • Pizzaro captured the Incan ruler and killed him
    in 1533.
  • Pizzaro did not gain complete control over the
    region until the 1560s.

Macchu Picchu
  • Probably built at the height of the Incan
    Empire around 1450
  • 7,500 feet above sea level
  • Self sustaining city
  • One of the great wonders of the world
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