Maya, Aztec, Inca

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Identify the first major metropolis in Mesoamerica
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Teotihuacan
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Discuss key characteristics about Teotihuacan
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It was the first major metropolis in Mesoamerica. Capital of an early kingdom about 30 miles northeast of Mexico City that arose around the third century BCE. Along the main thoroughfare were temples and palaces.Living in the fertile Valley of Mexico, an upland plateau, the inhabitants of Teotihuacan probably obtained the bulk of their wealth from agriculture.
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Identify the approximate date that sees the decline of the Maya
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Sometime in the eighth or ninth century
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Explain what a chinampa
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Swampy islands crisscrossed by canals that provided water for their crops and easy transportation to local markets for their excess produce.
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Identify the location of Mayan development
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Far to the east of the Valley of Mexico, another major civilization had taken form in the Yucatan peninsula. This civilization was the Maya, which was older and just as sophisticated as the society at Teotihuacan.
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Identify the two commodities that enabled the Maya to develop trade relations with other civilizations
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Since the area was a source for cacao trees and obsidian, the inhabitants soon developed relations with other early civilizations in the region. Cacao trees were the source of chocolate, which was used as a beverage by the upper classes, while cocoa beans, the fruit, were used as currency in markets throughout the region. NEED SECOND COMMODITY
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Explain the purpose of the sacred ball court in Mayan society
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A rectangular space surrounded by vertical walls with metal rings through which the contestants attempted to drive a hard rubber ball. Although the rules of the game are only imperfectly understood, it apparently had religious significance, and the vanquished players were sacrificed in the ceremonies held after the close of the game.
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Discuss the similarities and differences in the Mayan and Aztec civilizations
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In some ways, Mayan culture was more advanced than the later Aztec civilization in the Valley of Mexico. The Mayan writing system was much more sophisticated than the relatively primitive system used by the Aztecs.
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Explain the regional political structure of the Aztec Empire
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Like all great empires in ancient times, the Aztec state was authoritarian. Power was vested in the monarch, whose authority had both a divine and a secular character. The Aztec ruler claimed descent from the gods and served as an intermediary between the material and the metaphysical worlds. Once placed on the throne, the Aztec ruler was advised by a mall council of lords, headed by a prime minister who served as the chief executive of the government, and a bureaucracy. Beyond the capital, the power of central government was limited. Rulers of territories subject to the Aztecs were allowed considerable autonomy in return for paying tribute, in the form of goods or captives, to the central government. The most important government officials in the provinces were the tax collectors, who collected the tribute.
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Identify the name of the Aztec capital
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Tenochtitlan
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Identify the name of the Aztec God of the Sun and patron of Tenochtitlan
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Huitzilopochtli
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Explain the social structure of Aztec society
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Positions in the government bureaucracy were the exclusive privilege of the hereditary nobility. The remainder of the population consisted of commoners, indentured workers, and slaves. Slavery was not an inherited status and the children of slaves were considered free citizens. The vast majority of the population were commoners.
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Explain the name and purpose of Aztec kinship groups
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All commoners were members of large kinship groups called calpullis. Each calpullis, often consisted of as many as a thousand members, was headed by an elected chief. Each calpulli was responsible for providing taxes and conscript labor to the state.
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Discuss the major characteristics of Aztec kinship groups
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Each calpulli maintained its own temples and schools and administered the land held by the community. Farmland within was held in common and could not be sold. In the cities, each calpulli, occupied a separate neighborhood, where its members often performed a particular function. The calpulli compounds themselves were divided into smaller family units.
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Discuss gender roles in the Aztec culture
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Gender roles within the family were rigidly stratified. Male children were trained in war and were expected to serve in the army on reaching adulthood. Women were expected to work in the home, weave textiles, and raise children, although like their brothers they were permitted to enter the priesthood. Although women in Aztec society enjoyed more legal rights that women in some traditional Old World civilizations, they were still not equal to men.
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Identify which God retained a higher level of recognition in Aztec culture due to its tenth century departure from the Valley of Mexico and promised future victorious return
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Quetzalcoatl
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Explain the key characteristics of sacrifice in Aztec religion
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Victims were prepared for the ceremony through elaborate rituals and then brought to the holy shrine, where their hearts were ripped out of their chests and presented to the gods as a holy offering. It was an honor to be chosen for the sacrifice.
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Explain the purpose of the human sacrifices practiced by the Aztecs
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The Aztecs believed that by appeasing the sun god, Huitzilopochtli, with sacrifices, they could delay the final destruction of their world.
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Identify the location of the Pyramid of the Sun
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Teotihuacan
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Identify the Spanish conquistador responsible for the demise of the Aztecs
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Hernan Cortes
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Explain the reasons for the downfall of the Aztecs
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In 1519, a Spanish expedition under the command of Hernan Cortes landed at Veracruz, on the Gulf of Mexico. Monarch Moctezuma Xocoyotizin (Montezuma) initially believed his visitor was a representative of Quetzalcoatl, a god-like “feathered serpent”. Tensions soon erupted between the Spaniards and the Aztecs, provoked in part by demands by Cortes that the Aztecs denounce their native beliefs and accept Christianity. When the Spanish took Moctezuma hostage and began to destroy Aztec religious shrines, the population revolted and kicked him out of their city. Receiving assistance from the state of Tlaxcallan, Cortes managed to fight his way back into the city. The Aztecs were beginning to suffer the first effects of the diseases brought by the Europeans; it would eventually wipe out a majority of the local population. In a battle that seemed to symbolize the dying of the legendary fifth sun, according to the Aztecs, the Aztecs were soon vanquished.
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Explain the reasons for the decline of the Mayans
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Sometime in the 8th or 9th century, the classical Mayan civilization in central Yucatan peninsula began to decline.Whether the decline was caused by overuse of the land, invasion, internal revolt, eruption is a question that has puzzled archaeologists for decades. Recent evidence supports that over cultivation of the land due to a growing population gradually reduced crop yields. Another theory is that a long drought, which lasted two centuries in 9-10 CE, may have played a major role in the decline. The period was characterized by an increase in internecine war among the states and rise of powerful nobles.
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Identify similarities between the Aztec and the Maya
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Both had writing systems that were based on hieroglyphics. Their religious systems (polytheistic and rituals) were the same. There number systems were alike as well (based on 20 numbers) using dots and sticks from Olmec. Liked human sacrifices!!!
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Explain the key characteristics of Mayan religion
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Polytheistic. Mayan gods shared many of the characteristics of deities of nearby cultures. The supreme god was named Itazmna (Lizard House). Deities were ranked in the order of importance. Human sacrifice (normally by decapitation) was practiced to propitiate the heavenly forces.
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Identify the Incan king who began the conquests that led to the creation of their empire
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Pachakuti
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Discuss the communication system that existed in the Inca empire
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The lack of a fully developed writing system didn’t stop them: they used drama, both comedy and tragedy, and poetry, often set to music to express themselves
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Discuss the distribution of population of the Inca civilization
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Pachakuti created a highly centralized state. He divided his empire, called Tahuantinsuyu, or “the world of the four quarters” into provinces and districts. Each province contained about ten thousand residents and was ruled by a governor related to the royal family. Excess inhabitants were transferred to other locations.
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Identify the Spaniards who led the conquests against the Aztec and Inca empires
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Francisco Pizarro and a few hundred companions and Hernán Cortés
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Understand how time influenced the relationship between the Aztec and Maya
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Explain why the Inca fell to the Spanish
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The Spanish possessed steel weapons, gunpowder, and horses, none of which were familiar to the Inca. Internal factionalism, combined with the onset of contagious diseases spread unknowingly by the Europeans, had weakened the ruling elite, and the empire fell rapidly to the Spanish forces in 1532.
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Explain similarities between the Aztec and the Inca
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They greatly respected their gods whom they believed gave them their food. The way they made their houses (material and form). Both believed in living in tribes.
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Mayan writing
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The only Mesoamerican people who devised a complete written language. It was both phonetic and ideographic and was somewhat based on hieroglyphs
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Aztec writing
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It was based on hieroglyphs
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Aztec Capital city
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Tenochtitlan
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Inca Record keeping
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They kept records using a system of knotted strings called quipu. This did not prevent the Inca from realizing a high level of cultural achievement. They tallied various data of their kingdom on strands of knotted yarn.
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Itzamna
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The Mayan supreme deity. “Lizard House”
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Quetzacoatl
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God retained a higher level of recognition in Aztec culture due to its tenth-century departure from the Valley of Mexico and promised future victorious return. His visage of a plumed serpent was prominent in the royal capital of Teotihuacán. He was the leader of the Toltecs, was humiliated by another god and left his homeland. He swore that he would come back.
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Intí
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Incan sun god. He is more appropriately viewed as a cluster of solar aspects, since the Inca divided his identity according to the stages of the sun
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Viracocha
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Great Creator of the Incan gods. He was the most important creator of all things, or the substance from which all things are created, and intimately associated with the sea.
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Huizipochli
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name of the Aztec God of the Sun and patron of Tenochtitlan

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