Latin American Civilizations

I confess, my first time ever to hear about the Aztecs, Inca or the Maya was from Tintin ! Do you remember the sequel of the temple of the sun and

Back then I was fascinated by this story.. the colours, the secrets, everything.

Now let’s see what are the civilizations of the latin America? There seems to be 3 main civilizations: Maya, Inca and Aztecs.

The Aztec

The Aztecs is a collective term used for all of the Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican peoples under the control of the Mexica, founders of Tenochtitlan, and their two pricipal allies, who built an extensive empire in the late Postclassic period in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries in Central Mexico.

The nucleus of the Aztec Empire was the Valley of Mexico, where their capital Tenochtitlan was built upon raised islets in Lake Texcoco. After the 1521 conquest of Tenochtitlan by Spanish forces and their allies which brought about the effective end of Aztec dominion, the Spanish founded the new settlement of Mexico City on the site of the now-ruined Aztec capital….

For most people today, and for the European Christians who first met the Aztecs, human sacrifice was the most striking feature of Aztec civilization. While human sacrifice was practiced throughout Mesoamerica, the Aztecs, if their own accounts are to be believed, brought this practice to an unprecedented level. For example, for the reconsecration of Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan in 1487, the Aztecs reported that they sacrificed 84,400 prisoners over the course of four days, reportedly by Ahuitzotl, the Great Speaker himself.

However, most experts consider these numbers to be overstated. For example, the sheer logistics associated with sacrificing 84,000 victims would be overwhelming. A similar consensus has developed on reports of cannibalism among the Aztecs.

mmm, wierd! Anyway I think that the Aztecs have much more to offer, I will have to dig furtherly in this… I love their calendar (I already talked about it) it is beautiful!

The Mayas

The Maya civilization is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as its spectacular art, monumental architecture, and sophisticated mathematical and astronomical systems. Many of these reached high development during the Classic period (c. 250 to 900), however these advances were also in the Preclassic (or Formative) period which came before, and in the Postclassic period which followed. At its peak, it was one of the most densely populated and culturally dynamic societies in the world.

As unique and spectacular as Greek or Roman architecture, Maya architecture spans many thousands of years; yet, often the most dramatic and easily recognizable as Maya are the fantastic stepped pyramids from the Terminal Pre-classic period and beyond.

There are also cave sites that are important to the Maya. These cave sites include Jolja Cave, the cave site at Naj Tunich, the Candelaria Caves, and the Cave of the Witch.

The Inca

The Inca Empire arose from the highlands of Peru around 1197, and lasted till 1572. In 1533, Atahualpa, the last Inca sovereign emperor (Qhapaq Inka, also Sapa Inca), was executed on the orders of the conquistador Francisco Pizarro, marking the beginning of Spanish rule in South America. After the fall of Tahuantinsuyu, the new Spanish rulers brutally repressed the people and their traditions. Many aspects of Inca culture were systematically destroyed, including their sophisticated farming system. The Spanish used the Inca mita (mandatory public service) system to literally work the people to death.

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