located about 30 mi (48 km) northeast of Mexico City; @ height of power in 600 C.E.; between 125,000 & 200,000 inhabitants ∴ largest city in Americas & larger than most contemporary European & Asian cities; religious architecture near city aligned w/ nearby sacred mountains & reflecting movement of stars; large pyramids dedicated to Sun & Moon & more than 20 smaller temples devoted to other gods were arranged along central avenue; recognized & worshiped many gods & lesser spirits; among gods were Sun, Moon, storm-god, & Quetzalcoatl, feathered serpent (culture-god believed to be originator of agri & arts; ppl practiced human sacrifice - 100+ sacrificial victims were found during excavation of temple of Quetzalcoatl @ Teotihuacan; sacrifice was sacred duty toward gods & as essential to well-being of human society; rapid growth in urban pop resulted from series of volcanic eruptions that disrupted agri; as city elite increased power, farm fams from smaller villages in region forced to relocate to urban core ∴ 2/3+ of city's residence retained dependence on agri; elite used city's growing labor resources to bring marginal (almost insufficient) lands into production - swamps drained, irrigation works constructed, terraces built into hillsides & use of chinampas expanded; apartment-like stone buildings constructed for 1st time - unique to _______ - commonly housed ppl of 1 fam, but some used to house craftsmen working in same trade; 2 largest craft groups produced pottery & obsidian tools (important in long-distance trade); 2%+ of urban pop engaged in making obsidian tools & weapons; pottery & obsidian found throughout central MX & in Maya region of Guatemala; elite controlled state bureaucracy, tax collection, & commerce; priestly class had prestige, as seen by temple & palace murals; economy & religious influence drew pilgrims from Oaxaca & Veracruz; ppl didn't concentrate power in hands of 1 ruler; deeds of individual rulers were not featured in public art & rulers' images not represented by statues or monuments; some say ruled by alliances forged among elite fams or by weak kings; city walls of 600 C.E. had not been there 50 yrs ago, suggesting peaceful; created powerful military to protect long-distance trade & to compel peasant agriculturists to transfer surplus production to city; representations of soldiers in typical dress in Maya region of Guatemala suggests that used military to expand trade relations but not imperial state controlled by military elite; pictorial evidence from murals suggests that last decades violent; some say overwhelmed militarily by nearby rival city or by nomadic warriors from northern frontier; recently, some uncovered evidence of conflict w/in ruling elite & mismanagement of resources - led to class conflict & breakdown of public order ∴ most important temples in city center pulled down & religious images defaced & elite palaces also systematically burned & residents killed
sometimes called "floating gardens"; narrow artificial islands constructed along lakeshores or in marshes; created by heaping lack muck & waste material on beds of reeds that were than anchored to shore by trees; permitted year-round agri (subsurface irrigation & resistance to frost); contributed maize, fruits, vegetables to markets of Tenochtitlan
occupied region that included Guatemala, Honduras, Belise, & southern Mexico; tropical climate & fragile soils; never unified politically - rival kingdoms led by hereditary rulers struggled w/ each other for regional dominance; today _______ farmers prepare their fields by cutting down small trees & brush & then burning dead vegetation to fertilize land - swidden (shifting/slash-and-burn) agriculture can produce high yields for few years but uses soil's nutrients; ppl living near major urban centers achieved high agri yields by draining swamps & building elevated fields, used irrigation in areas w/ long dry seasons & terraced hilssides in cooler highlands; nearly every household planted garden to provide condiments & fruits; agriculturists managed nearby forests; most powerful cities controlled groups of smaller dependent cities & agri zone by building impressive religious temples & by creating rituals that linked power of kings to gods; high pyramids, commonly aligned w/ movements of sun & Venus & elaborately decorated palaces surrounding open plazas drew ppl to centers for rituals; bas-reliefs painted in bright colors covered most public buildings - religious allegories (genealogies rulers) & historical events were motifs; carved altars & stone monoliths were built near major temples; everything built w/o wheels or metal tools - levers & stone tools; cosmos divided into 3 layers connected along vertical axis that traced course of sun - earthly arena of human existence held intermediate position btwn heavens, conceptualized by _____ as sky-monster & dark underworld - sacred tree rose thru 3 layers & roots were in underworld & branches reached into heavens; pyramids were sacred mountains reaching to heavens - doorways of pyramids were portals to underworld; elite dercorated bodies w/ pain & tattoos & wore elabotate costumes of textiles, animal skins, feather to project secular power & divine sanction; kings communicated directly w/ supernatural residents of other world & with deified royal ancestors through bloodletting rituals & hallucinogenic trances - scenes of rulers drawing blood from lips, ears, & penises are common in surviving frescoes & on painted pottery; battle scenes & depiction of torture & sacrifice of capitves frequent decorative themes; military sought captives rather than territory; fasting, ritual, & rites of purification preceded battle; kings, kinsmen, & ranking nobles participated in war; elite captives sacrificed; captured commoners forced to labor for captors; 2 women rules Maya kingdoms; consorts of male rulers participated in bloodletting rituals & other ceremonies & noble blood helped legitimate rule of hub; society was patrilineal (tracing descent in male line); somemale rulers traced lineages bilaterally (in male & female lines); Lady Wac-Chanil-Ahau's son K'ak Tiliw Chan Chaak emphasized female line if held higher status; women were central to religious rituals of home & healers & shamans; women maintained gardens & weaved; each day identified by 3 separate dating systems; had calendar that tracked ritual cycle (260 days divided into 13 mnths of 20 days) & solar calendar (365 days divided into 18 mnths of 29 days, plus 5 unfavorable days @ end of yr); concurrence of 2 calendars every 52 yrs believed to be ominous; only Mesoamerican ppl to maintain continuous "long count" calendar, which began @ fixed in past that scholars have identified as 3114 B.C.E. (date associated w/ creation); incorporated concept of 0 & place value but had limited notational signs; writing form of hieroglyphic inscription that signified whole words or concepts & phonetic cues or syllables; public life, religious belief, & biographies of rulers & ancestors recorded in deerskin & barkpaper books, on pottery, & on stone columns & monumental buildings of urban centers; 800-900 C.E. urban centers abandoned or destroyed; some say epidemic played role in pop decline & increased warfare preceding abandonment of urban centers; some say earlier destruction of Teotihacan around 650 C.E. disrupted trade, undermining legitimacy of rulers who had used goods in rituals; some say pop expansion led to environmental degradation & declining agri productivity
some say originally satellite pop that Teotihuacan had placed on northern frontier to protect against incursions of nomads; after migration south, borrowed from legacy of Teotihuacan; in 14th cent. Aztecs & contemporaries erroneously believed source of all great Mesoamerican achievements:
"In truth [the Toltecs] invented all the precious & marvelous things...All that now exists was their discovery...And these Toltecs were very wise; they were thinkers, for they originated the year count, the day count. All their discoveries formed the book for interpreting dreams...And so wise were they [that] they understood stars which were in heavens."
created 1st conquest state based largely on military power & extended political influence from area north of modern MX City to Central America; capital of Tula est. about 968 C.E. - architecture had colonnaded patios & many temples; pop never rached levels of Teotihuancan; Tula dominated central MX; decoration had warlike & violent (human sacrifice) character; 2 kings ruled together - this weakened power & led to destruction of Tula; after 1000 C.E. struggle btwn elite groups identified w/ rival religious cults state; according to Aztec legends, Topiltzan (one of 2 rulers & priest of cult of Quetzalcoatl) & followers accepted exile in east, "the land of the rising sun" - events coincided w/ growing influence among Maya of Yucátan Peninsuala
"Thereupon he [Topiltzin] looked toward Tula, & then wept...And when he had done these things...he went to reach the seacoast. Then he fashioned a raft of serpents. When he had arranged the raft, he placed himself as if it were his boat. Then he set off across the sea."
around 1175 C.E. northern invaders overcame Tula
Mexica; northern ppl who pushed into central MX in wake in collapse of Tula; at first, had clan-based social organization & served as serfs & mercenaries but then relocated to small islands near shore of Lake Texcoco & around 1325 C.E. they began construction of 2 capitals, Tenochtitlan & Tlatelolco; after seized additional agri land, had monarchial system; rulers didn't have absolute power & royal succession wasn't based on primogeniture; council of aristocrats selected new rulers from among male members of ruling lineage; once selected, ruler forced to renegotiate submission of tribute dependencies & demonstrate divine mandate by undertaking new round of military conquests; war infused w/ religious meaning, providing ruler w/ legitimacy & increasing prestige of successful warriors; warrior elite seized land & peasant labor as spoils of war; lower classes received some material rewards from imperial expansion but lost most of ability to influence or control decisions; commoners could achieve social mobility through battle success or by entering priesthood; urban plan organized around clans (fought together as military units); clans' historical control over common agricultural land & other scarce resources, such as fishing & hunting rights, declined; by 1500 C.E. inequalities in wealth & privilege characterized society; kings & aristocrats legitimated ascendancy by creating elaborate rituals & ceremonies to distinguish selves from commoners; Spaniard who participated in conquest of Aztec Empire described 1st meeting w/ Moctezuma II (r. 1502 - 1520):
"many great lords walked before great Montezuma [Moctezuma II], sweeping ground on which he was to tread & laying down cloaks so that his feet should not touch the earth. Not one of these chieftains dared look him in the face. Commoners lived in small dwellings and ate a limited diet of staples, but members of the nobility lived in large, well constructed 2-story houses & consumed diet rich in animal protein & flavored by condiments & expensive imports like chocolate from the Maya region to the south. Rich dress & jewelry also set apart the elite. Even in marriage customs the 2 groups were different. Commoners were monogamous, great nobles polygamous.
150,000 ppl; dike more than 5 ½ miles (9 K) long by 23 ft (7 m) wide to separate freshwater & saltwater parts of LakeTexcoco - allowed significant extension of irrigated fields & construction of additional chinampas - project consumed 4 mill person-days to complete; draft animals & wheeled vehicles absent, so commerce dominated by gold, jewels, feathered garments, cacao, animal skins; merchants provided intelligence for Aztec elite; merchants denied priveleges of high nobility, which was jealous of its power ∴ merchants feared to publicly display affluence; commerce carried on w/o $ & credit; barter facilitated by use cacao, quills filled w/ gold, & cotton cloth; Tenochtitlan & Tlateloco offered goods from Central America & southwestern border of U.S..; Hernán Cortés (1485 - 1547), the Spanish adventurer who conquered Aztecs:
"One square in particular is twice as big as that of Salamanca & completely surrounded by arcades where there are daily more than 60,000 folk buying & selling. Every kind of merchandise such as may be met with in every land is for sale...There is nothing to be found in all the land which is not sold in these markets, for over & above what I have mentioned there are so many & such various things that on account of their very number...I cannot detail them."
combined pop of Tenochtitlan & Tlatelolco & cities & hamlets of surrounding lakeshore was about 500,000 by 1500 C.E.; island capital designed so that canals & streets intersected @ right angles; 3 causeways connected city to lakeshore; worshiped lots of gods - most had dual nature (male & female); contributed cult of Huitzilopochtli (southern hummingbird) - originally associated w/ war, but identified god w/ Sun, worshiped as divinity throughout Mesoamerica - required diet of human hearts to sustain daily struggle to bring Sun's warmth to world; Tenochtitlan architecturally dominated by twin temple devoted to Huitzilopochtli & Tlaloc, the rain-god, symbolizing 2 bases of Aztec economy: war & agri; thousands of sacrifices/yr; sacrifices carried out in front of large crowds that included leaders from enemy & subject states & Aztecs - rebellion, deviancy, & opposition dangerous
¼ of Aztec's capital food requirements was satisfied by tribute payments of maize, beans, & other foods sent by nearby political dependencies; Aztecs demanded cotton cloth, military equipment, luxury goods like jade & feather & sacrificial victims
Mississippian political organization continued earlier North American ______ tradition, wherein a territory that had a population as large as 10,000 was ruled by a chief, a hereditary leader w/ religious & secular responsibilities; chiefs organized rituals of feasting & gift giving & managed long-distance trade
system of knotted colored cords; used to aid administration & record population counts & tribute obligations
clan; members held land communally; claimed descent from common ancestor, but not necessarily related; members expected to provide labor & goods to hereditary chief & obligated to aid each other in tasks that required more labor than 1 household can provide; sent out colonists to exploit resources of ecological niches - remained linked to original region & kin group by marriage & ritual
rotational labor draft that organized members of allyus to work fields & care for llama & alpaca herds owned by religious est., royal court, aristocracy; each allyu contributed set # of workers for specific tasks each year; laborers built & maintained roads, bridges, temples, palaces, & big irrigation & drainage projects, produced textiles & goods essential to ritual life, such as maize made from maize & coca (dried leaves chewed as stimulant & now source of cocaine); system used in Andes for 1,000+ yrs; hunting, military service, & gov reserved for men; women had responsibilities in textile production, agri, & home;
"[T]hey did not just perform domestic tasks, but also [labored] in the fields, in the cultivation of their lands, in building houses, & carrying burdens...[A]nd more than once I heard that while women were carrying these burdens, the would feel labor pains, and giving birth, they would go to a place where there was water & wash the baby & themselves. Putting the baby on top of the load they were carrying, they would then continue walking as before they gave birth. In sum, there was nothing their husbands did where their wives did not help."
coastal regions produced maize, fish & cotton; mountain valleys contributed quinoa (local grain) & potatoes & tubers; higher elevations contributed wool & meat of llamas & alpacas & Amazonian region provided coca & fruits
by 600 C.E., the ______ dominated north coastal region of Peru; didn't est. formal empire or create unified political structures; _____ & Chimu who followed them cultivated maize, quinoa, beans, manioc, & sweet potatoes w/ aid of irrigation; @ higher elevations produced coca; networks of canals & aqueducts connected fields w/ water sources as far away as 75 mi (121 K); maintained large herds of alpacas & llamas to transport goods across region's difficult terrain; wealth & power & political control concentrated in hands of priests & military leaders; residences of elite were constructed atop large platforms @ ceremonial centers; elite wore tall headdresses & gold/gold alloy jewelry - gold plates suspended from noses concealed lower portion of faces & large gold plugs on ears; recent excavation in Lambeyeque Valley - tomb of warrior-priest who was buried w/ rich treasure, gold, silver, copper jewelry, textiles, feather ornaments, shells & retainers & servants were executed & buried to serve in afterlife; commoners: men & women involved in agri, care of llama herds, & household economy; lived w/ fam in 1-room buildings clustered in outlying areas of cities & in surrounding agri zones; elite & commoner women weaved; potters produced highly individualized potrait vases & decorated other vessels w/ line drawings representing myths & rituals; most original ceramic vessels depict explicit sexual acts; metalworkers made gold jewelry, tools made of heavy copper & copper alloy for agri & military; rapid decline of major centers coincided w/ succession of natural disasters in 6th cent.; when earthquake altered course of _______ River, major flooding damaged urban centers; 30 yr drought expanded area of coastal sand dunes & powerful winds pushed sand onto fragile agri lands, overwhelming irrigation system; as land dried, periodic heavy rains caused erosion that damaged fields & weakened economy; succession of disasters undermined authority of religious & political leaders, whose privileges were based on ability to control natural forces thru rituals
@ nearly 13,000 ft (3,962 m) on high treeless plain near Lake Titicaca modern Bolivia; vast drainage projects reclaimed nearly 200,00 acres (8,000 hectares) of rich lakeside marshes for agri - system of raised fields & ditches permitted intensive cultivation similar to that achieved by use of chinampas in Mesoamerica; fish & llama & potatoes & grains; llamas used for maintenance of long-distance trade relationships that brought in corn, coca, tropical fruits, & medicinal plants; urban center: large stones & quarried blocks were moved miles to construct large terraced pyramid, walled enclosures, & resevoir; limited metallurgy produced only tools of copper alloy; artisans built big structures of finely cut stone that required little mortar to fill blocks & made big human statuary - largest is figure w/ military bearing cut from 1 block of stone 24 ft (7 m) high; cultural influence extended eastward to jungles & southward to coastal regions & oases of Atacama Desert in Chile; pop: 30,000;
located about 450 mi (751 km) to northwest of Tiwanaku, near modern Peruvian city of Ayacucho; some say began as dependency of Tiwanaku; some say joint capitals of 1 empire; larger than Tiwanaku (4 sq. mi or 10 sq. km); city center surrounded by wall & included large temple; center had many multifamily housing blocks; less concentrated housing for commoners located in sprawling suburban zone
"Land of 4 Corners"; by 1525 had pop of more than 6 mill & stretched from Maule River in Chile to northern Ecuador & from Pacific Coast across Andes to upper Amazon & in south into Argentina; centered in valley of Cuzco; Inca initially organized as chiefdom based on reciprocal gift giving & redistribution of food & textiles; conquered more land than Tiwanaku & increased scale of forced exchanges; used state power to broaden & expand vertical exchange system that had permitted allyus to exploit range of ecological niches; pastoralists: llamas & alpacas - men & women cared for them; women primarily responsible for weaving; men were drivers in long-distance trade; gods & ruler shared obligations of shepherd to his flock - an idea akin to references to "The Lord is my Shepherd"; mit'a created material surplus that provided for old, weak, ill; each allyu contributed about 1/7 of adult male pop to meet collective obligations - these draft laborers served as soldiers, construction workers, craftsmen, & runners to carry messages along post roads & drained swamps, terraced mountains, filled in valley floors, built & maintained irrigation works, & built storage facilities & roads; laborers constructed 13,000 miles (20,930 K) of road, facilitating military troop movements, admin, & trade; hereditary chiefs of allyus carried out admin & judicial functions; generally left local rulers in place - risked rebellion, but controlled risks but controlled risks by means of a thinly veiled system of hostage & use of military garrisons; rulers of defeated regions were required to send heirs to live @ royal court in Cuzco; leaders required that representations of important local gods be brought to Cuzco & made part of imperial pantheon; royal family claimed descent from Sun, the primary Inca god; members of royal family lived in palaces maintained by armies of servants - rituals helped legitimize royal family authority; each new ruler began reign w/ conquest; @ height of power, Cuzco had pop of less than 30,000; buildings constructed of carefully cut stones fitted 2gether w/o mortar; city laid out in shape of giant puma (mountain lion); @ center were palaces that each ruler built when ascended to throne & major temples; richest was Temple of Sun - interior lined w/ sheets of gold & patio decorated w/ golden decorations of llama & corn; ruler had nearly continuous series of rituals, feasts, & sacrifices to awe & intimidate visitors; lots of sacrifices of textiles, animals on calendar; astonomical observation central concern but calendar lost; all communication other than oral transmitted by khipus borrowed from earlier Andean civilizations; in weaving & metallurgy, technology more advanced than in Mesoamerica; craftsmen produced utilitarian tools & weapons of copper & bronze & decorative objects of gold & silver; women produced textiles from cotton & alpaca & llama wool; multiplied yields produced by traditional exchanges between distinct niches; commoners subject to execution if dared look directly @ ruler's face; 1525: death of Inca ruler Huayna Capac @ conclusion of conquest of Ecuador initiated bloody struggle for throne; powerful factions coalesced around 2 sons, whose rivalry compelled both pro military & hereditary Inca elite to choose sides = civil war; controlled vast territory spread over 3,000 mi (4,830 km) of mountainous terrain