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American Civilizations Madnick/Global History 9 The Basics Geographic Location: North and South America Time Period: Pre Columbian Era (before 1492) --before contact with Europeans Major civilizations rose in Central and South America • Central America/Mexico: Maya and Aztec • South America/Peru: Inca They were very different from Afro Eurasian civilizations American Civilizations Shared Similar Features 1. Agriculture • Crops: corn, bean, squash, potatoes, cocoa, coffee • Large numbers of organized farm workers • Farm Technology: irrigation and terrace farming • Food supply led to large populations ex: 25 million Aztecs in the city of Tenochtitlan, 1300’s American Civilizations Shared Similar Features 2. Trade • Turquoise Road: turquoise traded from Mexico to Canada • Long Incan Empire trade routes • Taxes on trade items American Civilizations Shared Similar Features 3. Belief Systems • Polytheistic • Animistic-gods took animal forms • Divine Rulers-leaders were thought to be gods American Civilizations Shared Similar Features 4. Science and Architecture • Maya= “0”, 365 day calendar, Earth is round • Mayan Pyramids • Inca Stone Buildings, Machu Picchu • Aztec Pyramids, city of Tenochtitlan American Civilizations Shared Similar Features 5. Social/Political Systems • Am. civilizations fought wars, organized workers, and taxed their people • to fight, organize, and tax, you need powerful rulers We do not know all the details but we do know that Amerindian rulers were very powerful American Civilizations differed from Afro Eurasian Civilizations 1. Technology Gap • No use of metals • Wood and stone weapons • No wheel How does that compare to Afro Eurasia? American Civilizations differed from Afro Eurasian Civilizations 2. Animal Gap • had guinea pigs, dogs, turkeys lamas • did not have cows, horses, sheep • no domesticated animals to provide food or work How does that compare to Afro Eurasia? American Civilizations differed from Afro Eurasian Civilizations 2. Disease Gap • No exposure to Afro Eurasian diseases --smallpox, measles, chickenpox • No natural immunity when they came into contact with Europeans How does that compare with Afro Eurasia and what will be one effect of contact? If you were one of the first Europeans to arrive in the Americas, what similarities and differences would you see between American civilizations and your own?
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