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Lecture 1

HIST 8 Lecture 1: Ancient American Civilizations: The Aztecs & Their Ancestors

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1. ANCIENT AMERICAN CIVILIZATIONS a. Mesoamerica: Aztecs, capital: Tenochtitln: Central Valley of Mexico: Lake Texcoco; Aztec Empire: 14281521 (citystates) b. The Andes: Inkas, capital: Cuzco, Centra Andes. Inka Empre: 1430s1532 c. Commonalities: i. Latecomers century of old empires ii. Conqueringdriven states > empires 1. Goal: to grow and be successful iii. Religion is paramount to politics 1. Political leader was a divine person 2. MESOAMERICA BEFORE THE AZTECS: a. Monte Alban, Olmecs, Mayas (300900) b. Common Mesoamerican traits: i. Densely populated regions ii. Urban centers iii. Markets iv. Human sacrifices 3. WHO WERE THE AZTECS? a. The Mexica (what they called themselves) Nahuatl language; Aztln, Toltec descent (civilization after Mayans) 4. THE TOLTECS (artisans, artists) a. Quetzalcoatl (plumed serpent): deity; arts: sculpture, painting, pictorial books b. Capital: TULA; founded: 856, Apogee: 1,000 c. Diaspora and Chichimec Wars: 1,116 > dispersed and migrated d. Founding of TEXCOCO city in Mexico: spread of Toltec culture, arts (jewels) 5. THE MEXICA MIGRATION TO LAKE TEXCOCO (North to South) a. Founding of Tenochtitln 1325 b. Development of Agriculture: Chinampas (floating islands), alliance with Texcoco city c. Fertile land and abundance d. Floating islands (chinampas) e. Densely populated > struggle for resources f. Engaged in war 6. BIRTH OF THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE or AZTEC EMPIRE: a. In 1428 TENOCHTITLAN, TEXCOCO, and TACUBA (Tacopln): Defeated the Tepanecs citystates, coalition of cities i. Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco: 50,000 people ii. Fall of the Aztecs: 15191521 iii. Reach of Aztec conquests iv. Enemies within and independent states: Tlaxcalans
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