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11 - Peoples and Civilizations of Americas, 600 - 1500.pdf

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HST 101
John Smith

CHAPTER 12 Peoples and Civilizations of the Americas, 200–1500 I0. Classic-Era Culture and Society in Mesoamerica, 200–900 A0. Teotihuacan 10. Teotihuacan was a large Mesoamerican city at the height of its power in 450–600 C.E. The city had a population of 125,000 to 200,000 inhabitants and was dominated by religious structures, including pyramids and temples where human sacrifice was carried out. 20. The growth of Teotihuacan was made possible by forced relocation of farm families to the city and by agricultural innovations including irrigation works and chinampas (“floating gardens”) that increased production and thus supported a larger population. 30. Apartment-like stone buildings housed commoners, including the artisans who made pottery and obsidian tools and weapons for export. The elite lived in separate residential compounds and controlled the state bureaucracy, tax collection, and commerce. 40. Teotihuacan appears to have been ruled by alliances of wealthy families rather than by kings. The military was used primarily to protect and expand long- distance trade and to ensure that farmers paid taxes or tribute to the elite. 50. Teotihuacan collapsed around 650 C E. The collapse may have been caused by mismanagement of resources and conflict within the elite, or as a result of invasion. B0. The Maya 10. The Maya were a single culture living in modern Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, and southern Mexico, but they never formed a politically unified state. Various Maya kingdoms fought each other for regional dominance. 20. The Maya increased their agricultural productivity by draining swamps, building elevated fields and terraced fields, and by constructing irrigation systems. The Maya also managed forest resources in order to increase the production of desired products. 30. The largest Maya city-states dominated neighboring city-states and agricultural areas. Large city-states constructed impressive and beautifully decorated buildings and monuments by means of very simple technology—levers and stone tools. 40. The Maya believed that the cosmos consisted of three layers: the heavens, the human world, and the underworld. Temple architecture reflected this cosmology, and the rulers and elites served as priests to communicate with the residents of the two supernatural worlds. 50. Maya military forces fought for captives, not for territory. Elite captives were sacrificed, commoners enslaved. 60. Maya elite women participated in bloodletting rituals and other ceremonies, but rarely held political power. Non-elite women probably played an essential role in agricultural and textile production. 70. The most notable Maya technological developments are the Maya calendar, mathematics, and the Maya writing system. 80. Most Maya city-states were abandoned or destroyed between 800 and 900 C E .Possible reasons for the decline of Maya culture include the disruption of Mesoamerican trade attendant upon the fall of Teotihuacan, environmental pressure caused by overpopulation, and epidemic disease. II0. The Post-Classic Period in Mesoamerica, 900–1500 A0. The Toltecs 10. The Toltecs arrived in central Mexico in the tenth century and built a civilization based on the legacy of Teotihuacan. The Toltecs contributed innovations in the areas of politics and war. 20. The Toltec capital at Tula was the center of the first conquest state in the Americas. Dual kings ruled the state—an arrangement that probably caused the internal struggle that undermined the Toltec state around 1000 C.E. The Toltecs were destroyed by invaders around 1156 C E . B0. The Aztecs 10. The Aztecs were originally a northern people with a clan-based social organization. They migrated to the Lake Texcoco area, established the cities of Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco around 1325, and then developed a monarchical system of government. 20. The kings increased their wealth and power by means of territorial conquest. As the Aztec Empire increased in size, commoners lost their ability to influence political decisions and inequalities in wealth grew more severe. 30. The Aztecs increased agricultural production in the capital area by undertaking land reclamation projects and constructing irrigated fields and chinampas. Nonetheless, grain and other food tribute met nearly one quarter of the capital’s food requirements. 40. Merchants who were distinct from and subordinate to the political elite controlled long-distance trade. The technology of trade was simple: no wheeled vehicles, draft animals, or money was used. Goods were carried by human porters and exchanged through barter. 50. The Aztecs worshiped a large number of gods, the most important of whom was Huitzilopochtli, the Sun god. Huitzilopochtli required a diet of human hearts that were supplied by sacrificing thousands of people every year. III0. Northern Peoples A0. Southwestern Desert Cultures 10. Irrigation-based agriculture was introduced to Arizona from Mexico around 300 B C E. The most notable Mexican-influenced civilization of the area was the Hohokam, who constructed extensive irrigation works in the Salt and Gila valleys around 1000 C.E. 20. The more influential Anasazi developed a maize, rice, and bean economy and constructed underground buildings (kivas) in the Arizona/New Mexico/Colorado/Utah region around 450–750 C.E. 30. The large Anasazi community at Chaco Canyon had a population of about 15,000 people engaged in hunting, trade, and irrigated agriculture. Chaco Canyon people seem to have exerted some sort of political or religious dominance over a large region. The Anasazi civilization declined in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries as a result of drought, overpopulation, and warfare. B0. Mound Builders: The Adena, Hopewell, and Mississippian Cultures 10. The Adena people were a hierarchical hunter-gatherer society in the Ohio Valley that engaged in limited cultivation of crops and buried their dead in large mounds. Around 100 CE . the Adena culture blended into the Hopewell culture. 20. The Hopewell culture was based in the Ohio Valley but its trade and influence extended as far as Illinois,
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