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The ancient civilizations of Central and South America

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Introduction

History Report: Central and South America was once home to some of the ancient world's most magnificent and glorious civilizations. The Incas, Aztecs, and Mayas were just three of these civilizations. These civilizations ruled the area for many years, and flourished greatly in their own different ways. They were the cause for much advancement in arts, architecture, politics, religion, and society in the world. These civilizations created pyramids, temples, and monuments in honor of their gods and rulers. Their people proved to be intellectually advanced, and they were able to successfully create calendars, alphabets, and predict solar eclipses. They all developed differently from each other but shared one thing in common, the fact that they were all highly successful. It took a great many years to finally bring an end to these civilizations. Many attacks and assaults from the Spanish conquistadors, European diseases, and selfish kings to finally bring an end to their influence on the world. The Aztecs were the first major civilization to rule the area of Central and South America. They are also sometimes known as the Mexicas, but we refer to them the Aztecs. They might not have been a huge empire when they began, and never really had the land area that many empires of their time could boast, but nevertheless had a great influence on Europe and Spain in particular. The Aztec Empire also ranges to the Aztec Triple Alliance. The Aztec Triple Alliance was a group of three tribes that were brought together for military purposes. The Mexicas, Acolhuas, and Tepanecas made up this particular alliance. Eventually they all combined to form the Aztec Empire � The Aztecs first came to the Americas in 1168 AD. They began as a tribe of nomads and hunter-gatherers. They were not used to settling and living in one area for many years, and so it was after a few years that they began to form permanent settlements. ...read more.

Middle

Whatever was left was given to the government as a tax. Many people who did not have the necessary crops to pay the tax were ordered into labor. They would, along with other poor people, create roads, temples, forts, or royal residences for the emperor of the empire. The farmers of the Inca Empire were also expected to fight in the army or do battle whenever they were called upon by the Inca emperor. 4 The empire was divided into four quarters, or suyus. Each suyu (quarter) was ruled by a governor who was from the emperor's family. It was his job to make sure law and order was maintained in that region and they would then report back everything to the emperor. These peasants were also busy creating a vast, complicated system of roads. These roads were created for helping messengers, so that they could deliver messages at a quicker speed from one part of the empire to another. Since there was no other route, land had to be used, and it had to be improved. Building large roads was the only way of doing that. A lot of labor was needed to build the roads, and many of the people working there were like slaves, as they were forced into the work. 5 The Inca's political affairs were kept very secret and had a complex nature to them as well. Since the Incas had not managed to invent writing and did not have an alphabet they used a quipu. The quipu was a string which had several beads placed on it. The different colors, shapes, and positions of the beads signified different amounts of money. They could also stand for other values, depending on the situation. This was a very advanced and well-thought of system and it generally worked very well. But the only problem was that only selective people could read and understand what the quipu meant, and so not everyone had the privilege of using this method of keeping records. ...read more.

Conclusion

The city was well protected and was never threatened either. 7 In 1511, the Maya empire was invaded by the Spanish conquistadors. This opened Spain's eyes to another great civilization and an outpost for more wealth and riches. After three or four successful invasions in 1697 they successfully achieved their aim of dominating and conquering the entire Maya region. The majority of the Maya population was killed in battle, or by European diseases. The few people that were left of this magnificent civilization were forced to work as slaves in Spanish farms or in their gold mines. 7 The Maya Empire was a remarkable civilization which went through many stages of growth and development. They matured into one of the greatest civilizations of this area, but were subdued by the Spanish in the very end. A fantastic few centuries of Maya rule was destroyed by the Spanish who only took a 100 or so years to wipe out their entire population. The Maya Empire may be long gone, but their legacy still lives. 7 The Aztecs, Incas, and Mayas ruled the Americas for hundreds of years. They were influenced from the past and they influenced the future of the area. Their origins were similar in a special way. These civilizations all started of as small tribes or groups of peoples that migrated from one area into Central and South America. Over the years they destroyed all sources of resistance and stamped their authority on the region. Their cultures and civilizations are remembered by many people even until now. These civilizations will always remain in my mind as the greatest ever. I learned a lot from doing this research report and I hope you learn just as much from reading it. 1 Ancient Kingdoms of the Sun pgs 59-63 2 Encarta Encyclopedia Article (Aztecs) 3 Collier's Encyclopedia Volume 3 pgs. 412-416 (Article: Aztecs) 4 Collier's Encyclopedia Volume 12 pgs. 550-553(Article: Incas) 5 Encarta Encyclopedia (Article: Inca Empire) 6 Encarta Encyclopedia (Article: Machu Pichu) 7 Encarta Encyclopedia (Article: Maya Civilization) 8 Collier's Encyclopedia Volume 15 pgs. 577-584 (Article: Mayas) 9 Website: Chichen Itza, Mexico ...read more.

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