Three outstanding civilisations represent the last stages of pre-Conquest urban civilization in the New World: the Maya, the Aztecs, and the Incas. Representing longstanding traditions of complex society in Mesoamerica ( Mexico and north-western Central America ) and the Andean part of South America, these civilizations reached high degrees of urban edification in the centuries before the reaching of Spanish ground forcess.
Until the terminal of the fifteenth century the Old World and New World civilisations might every bit good have been on different planets as each was rather incognizant of the being of the other. It is true that the Norse sometimes visited Newfoundland and Labrador, Polynesians surely visited South America and took the sweet murphy place with them, and mediaeval north Europeans on occasion found a baffled Eskimo in a kayak washed up on their shores, but these fugitive contacts had no cultural effects.
While the primary civilisations of the Old World were in, albeit tenuous, contact with one another, the primary civilisations of the New World developed wholly without outside influences. Some people have found this difficult to accept, indicating in peculiar to the superficial similarity between the pyramids of ancient Egypt and the temple pyramids of Mesoamerica. A assortment of unlikely theories have been advanced to explicate this similarity, nevertheless, as the first pyramids of Mesoamerica were non built until 1400 old ages after the last pyramids had been built in Egypt, a connexion can be ruled out on chronological evidences entirely. The different symbolic significance und utilizations of the constructions in each civilisation besides points to divide development. The similarities of these constructions, and the zikkurats of Mesopotamia and the ceremonial platforms of Peru, are easy explained. All of these civilisations lacked advanced architectural accomplishments and in such fortunes garnering together what is in consequence a big heap of rock, Earth or brick is the lone manner to construct a tall and baronial construction. Faced with similar jobs it is truly no surprise that people in different parts of the universe and at different clip came up with similar solutions.
In 1519, a group of Spanish soldiers on an explorative ocean trip from the Spanish settlement in Cuba encountered a great civilisation in full flower in the Valley of M & A ; eacute ; xico. From a cold mountain base on balls between the amazing snow-capped extremums of Popocat & A ; eacute ; petl and Ixtaccihuatl, the nervous Spaniards looked down on a singular series of interrelated lakes in the Valley, with well-ordered towns and raised Fieldss on the shores, and a great metropolis built on islands and causeways towards the western border of the largest of the lakes. They know something of the Aztec people who built this metropolis, Tenochtitlan, for earlier in the escapade the Spaniards had encountered the Aztecs ‘ Alliess and enemies and heard narratives of their huge imperium. As the Spaniards marched down on to the field and neared the metropolis, they went across one of the causeways associating the island city to the mainland and were astounded by Tenochtitlan ‘s size and beauty. The great temples and castles rose from the H2O like a vision. One member of the Spanish force, Bernal Diaz del Castillo, subsequently likened it to a metropolis from a fairy tale, a vision of captivation.
The Aztec Empire
Picture 1 – Aztec Empire
At the bosom of the cardinal Highlandss of Mexico lies the Valley of Mexico, the floor of which was one time filled by a big, snaking lake called Lake Texcoco. In the convulsion after the autumn of the Toltecs in Tula a figure of tribes came into the vale and occupied the shores of the lake. A latecomer was a Nahuatl-speaking mobile group from the North called the Mexicas, or Aztecs, who – harmonizing to their ain fables – had wandered for 200 old ages before settling in the vale. In about 1325, they founded a metropolis on a boggy island in the center of the lake, and named it Tenochtitlan. A century subsequently the Aztecs were powerful plenty to come in a military ternary confederation with the neighbouring metropoliss of Texcoco and Tlacopan, and they set about suppressing first their neighbors, so geting an ever-greater imperium across the comprehensiveness of Mesoamerica. By 1480, the Aztecs had become the dominant spouses in the confederation ; Tenochtitlan was now efficaciously the capital of an imperium that controlled 38 states and stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and as far south as the old Maya lands. The Aztecs won their imperium by pitiless military aggression, and maintained it by posting military forts in the occupied lands. These forts besides enforced the one-year payment of testimonial – a monolithic measure of goods, which the Aztecs demanded of their capable states. Tenochtitlan became affluent, the hub of trade, and a vivacious Centre for humanistic disciplines that mirrored all the predating traditions of the Mesoamerican civilisations. F: fdvyhst-13903421038269_2104_24944000.jpg
Picture 2 – TenochtitlanTenochtitlan was founded harmonizing to an ancient Aztec prognostication, which spoke of a great metropolis lifting from the topographic point where an bird of Jove was seen devouring a snake while sitting on a cactus turning out of a stone. Such a topographic point was identified on an island in Lake Trexcoco, but the Aztecs had to get the better of immense logistical troubles to construct at that place, on an unpromising mixture of swamp and rescued land. All stuffs had to be brought across the lake on tonss, including big measures of quarried rock and the monolithic tree-trunks that were driven into the clay as hemorrhoids to keep foundations. The consequence was a eye-popping metropolis, criss-crossed by canals and linked to the mainland by causeways. By 1500, Tenochtitlan had some 200 000 dwellers and was much larger than any other metropolis at that clip. Almost all of Tenochtitlan has now been obliterated by Mexico City, which stands on its site.F: fdv29.4.2010 11 ; 29 ; 41.JPG
Aztec society was purely hierarchal, led from the top by its semi-divine swayer, the tlatoani ( literally, ‘speaker ‘ ) . He was elected from the household of the opinion dynasty by an educated and privileged elite of Lords, who besides acted as his advisors and main decision makers. Among them was his all important deputy, oddly called the cihuacoatl ( ‘snake adult female ‘ ) , although the place was ever held by a adult male. The cihuacoatl was in charge of running the authorities, the tribunals and the civil service. Military heads besides played a cardinal function in govern¬ment. They belonged to two orders of privileged knights, the Eagles and the Jaguars – a construct borrowed from the Toltecs. Access to the highest ranks of the armed forces was won by courage on the battleground, and judged by the figure of prisoners personally taken. The boies of Lords had entree to schools, where they learnt jurisprudence, history, uranology, mathematics, spiritual observation, combat and the basicss of pictographic authorship ( otherwise the preserve of priestly scribes ) . Priests, who were besides ranked among the aristocracy, were trained in seminary schools. They led a life apart and remained celibate. Among their of import undertakings was the observation of the calendar: based on the Maya theoretical account, it marked the sacred significance of the transition of clip and dictated all activities, from the agricultural seasons to jubilations for the rhythms of the universe.
Below the elite was a wide set of freewomans and common mans, who had rights to set down for farming and edifice. These included craftsmans who produced the full scope of Mesoamerican trades. Among the active and comfortable community of bargainers were the close pochteca, merchandisers belonging to a club that controlled the long-distance trade in luxury goods. The Aztecs did non utilize animals of load or wheeled vehicles, so porters played an of import portion in this trade. They covered more than 50 kilometer ( 30 stat mis ) a twenty-four hours, transporting on their dorsums tonss of up to 45 kilograms.
The mass of people lived by farming and market trading. All ordinary Aztecs were members of clan-like groupings called calpulli, which owned land and had their ain temples, societal constructions, schools and festivals. Aztec citizens led ordered lives ; offense was minimum, and penalties were purely regulated by jurisprudence. Health was maintained by a sophisticated cognition of herbal remedies, a plentiful diet and besides a high degree of cleanliness. Almost all houses were equipped with steam suites for bathing. On the lowest round of society were the slaves. By and big, they were treated good, and could gain their freedom. All members of society displayed their rank with their hairdos, vesture and jewelry. Merely nobles, for illustration, could have on places, or an decoration through their pierced lower lip.
Fall Of The Aztecs
The Aztec imperium collapsed rapidly following the invasion of the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes in 1519. The high quality of Spanish arms and armor was merely a minor factor in the Aztecs licking. Their usage of contending with aim of taking captives in conflict besides set Aztecs at a important disadvantage against the Spanish soldiers, who fought to kill. The Aztecs devastation was completed by diseases introduced by the Spanish, like variola, to which they had no opposition.
The Inca Empire
The greatest of the civilisation of antediluvian South America was the Inca imperium, a formidably well-organized province which united about the full Andean part under its regulation.
Picture 3 – The Inca EmpireThe Incas dated their business of the upland metropolis of Cuzco to the reign of a semi-legendary 13th-century male monarch called Manco Capac, said to hold descended from the Sun God. He was the first ‘inca ‘ – the rubric given to the dynastic god-kings. We know the imperium and people by this name, but they called their land Tahuantinsuyu, ‘land of four quarters ‘ , for their imperium was divided into four regions.F: fdvyhst-13903421038269_2104_35429188.jpg
The Incas won their imperium through military conquering, patterning their scheme on the successes of Huari and Chimu. Once local warlords in Cuzco, they began their enlargement under a series of great Incas, get downing with Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui ( reigned 1438-71 ) . By the reign of his grandson Huayna Capac ( 1493-1525 ) , their imperium covered the full Andes and the seashore from Ecuador to cardinal Chile. It was by far the largest imperium of the ancient Americas. They besides ran a more efficient, centrally organized authorities than any other state in the part. In 1471 Topa Inca Yupanqui ( reigned 1471-93 ) imposed the Inca linguistic communication Quechua as the common lingua to be used across the imperium.
The imperium prospered by bring forthing colossal measures of nutrient, in peculiar corn and murphies, from irrigated vales and the extended patios that rose up the steep hillsides environing the small towns. The past extent of these is still apparent today, across the Andes. Farmers besides raised llamas as animals of load, alpacas for wool, and Canis familiariss, guinea hogs and ducks for meat.
To the Incas, their swayer was a god-king, the boy of the Sun, and Cuzco was a cosmic Centre ; its name meant ‘navel ‘ ( of the universe ) . Cuzco was in fact a ceremonial Centre that was reserved for the elite merely. Amply painted and decorated in gold and colorful hanging fabrics, it was an orderly metropolis of castles and temples. The cardinal focal point of the metropolis was the Temple of the Sun, which was the scene for the one-year Festival of the Sun, at which the dressed, mummified organic structures of former Inca swayers were exhibited for worship.
The ordinary people of Cuzco lived in the 12 environing satellite towns. They were non permitted to look the Inca in the face, and even Lords – all relations of the swayer – would set on workingmans ‘s baskets and grovel before him to de-monstrate their lowly position. The Inca married his sister as his chief married woman, but besides had 100s of other married womans and courtesans, and as many kids. Many of these adult females were expected to attach to the Inca on his journey to paradise after decease, and were strangled for burial alongside him. The new Inca was chosen from among the many boies, making a regular unit of ammunition of dynastic bickers.
The Incas revered the destroyed metropolis of Tiahuanaco as the beginning of their faith. The supreme divinity was Viracocha, the Godhead God and swayer of all life fnings, who had visited the fh’ngcfom in legendary times, so headed off across the Pacific Ocean where the Sun set – possibly one twenty-four hours to return and make a new aureate age.
The Inca imperium encompassed all the countries of earlier Andean civilisations. The inordinately rich scope of trade work that this district produced became portion of the Inca civilization, and at that place was a vigorous trade in clayware, fabrics and gold work that spanned all four quarters of the Inca lands.
Picture 4 – Inca stonework, Cuzco. Although non neatly
rectangular, the rock
blocks fitted together with
The Inca contributed an extraordinary accomplishment in architecture. Masons shaped big stones into polygonal, smooth blocks, which fitted neatly together without howitzer. Here once more, most of the stonework was achieved with rock tools, although bronze was used to do chisels and wrecking bars. The jigsaw-like characteristics of the monolithic rock walls is a typical grade of Inca edifice, which has proved good adapted to this earthquake-prone landscape.
Inca Child Sacrifice
Picture 5 – The mountaintop grave in ColombiaIn recent old ages some singular archeological remains have been found on distant extremums of the Andes, in Peru, Chile and Argentina They are the to the full appareled organic structures of kids, preserved from decay by stop deading temperatures. There used to be 1000s of such Gravess in the Inca lands, in about all of the sacred topographic points, called huacas. Every so frequently a capac hucha ( ‘royal duty ‘ ) festival was called by the priesthood. Tonss of kids would be sent to Cuzco for a approval by the Inca swayer, so ceremonially married before returning place to be strangled, or killed by a blow to the caput, or buried alive. It was a great honor to be chosen for forfeit and victims were venerated.
The End of Incas
The Inca imperium covered virtually the full scope of South American landscape and clime, from high mountains to coastal desert and forested Lowlandss. With clip, it might good hold extended along the full length of the Andes, stretching due norths to encompass the independent gold-working civilizations of the Muisca ( or Chibcha ) in the Highlandss of Colombia, and even the Tairona on the Caribbean seashore. But in 1525, while sing the northern bound of his imperium with his warrior boy Atahualpa, 2000 kilometer ( 1200 stat mis ) from his capital, the Inca Huayna Capac was struck down by disease. There had been intelligence of queerly pale, bearded, fair-skinned people on the seashore. Some said it was Viracocha, returning from his visit in the Pacific. The disease proved fatal – it was smallpox. It had likely arrived with these aliens, and was every bit baleful.
The most celebrated old civilisations are ever the Egyptian, the Roman one and the Greek, but it is barely of all time heard speak of the Aztec mas in the same manner that of the Egyptians, neither of the Inca Catacombs as it is spoken of the Horse of Troy. As much these as many other comparings are those that the uncertainty of which were those fantastic civilizations, take topographic point and if you continue reading a small spot more, you will recognize the true yesteryear of America.
In the Sixteen century, the Spanish vanquishers of America found large civilisations. One in Mesoamerica – the district controlled by the Aztecs and the Mayan in the clip of the conquering ; and another in South America – the district of the part Andean cardinal, low Inca sphere. The occupants of these parts formed a mosaic of folks and states among whose accomplishments were plants art instructors, dramatic metropoliss and a remarkable focal point of the life. The strong base of the economic organisation, political relations and societal, typical of each one of these imperiums, it was based in old American civilizations.
When the Europeans arrived to these lands get downing from 1492, they found legion Aboriginal communities that had different degrees of cultural development. Very few were mobile and they lived off the fishing and of the assemblage. Other more legion communities were seminomadics and they had begun the pattern of the agribusiness, the trade and they completed their eating with the Hunt and the assemblage.
We can sum up that for the minute in that the Europeans arrived in America, there had already been developed large autochthonal civilisations, among those that the Aztecs, the Mayan and the Inca stand out.
We are left to inquire what the universe might hold been like today if their civilisations – a bequest of 1000s of old ages of development, and offering a alone position on human being – had non been so resolutely erased by European encroachers.
Ancestor – prednik
Commemorative stelae – spominski pokonA?en steber
Lack of intellect – pomankanje izobraA?enstva
Irrigation canals – namakalni kanali
Impose tributary relationships – vsiliti dajatvene odnose
Long-distance trade – trgovina na dolge razdalje
Mercenary warrior – koristoljuben, podkupljiv vojak
Mortuary memorial – mrtvaski spomenik
Semi-divine swayer – napol boA?anski vladar
Smallpox – koze ( bolezen )
Sudden cramp of force – nenaden napad nasilja
Try to suppress – poskusiti osvojiti
Wrongdoer – gresnik, hudodelec