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World History 4:1 Activity and Review
Terms in this set (21)
Where is Mesoamerica?
Mesoamerica is a region that runs through Mexico and much of Central America.
What did the Olmec and the Maya have in common?
They farmed, raised livestock, traded with other peoples, developed a system of writing, made calendars, and built stone architecture.
What theories explain how people migrated to the Americas? (Theory 1)
A common theory held that between 12,000 and 10,000 years ago, Paleolithic people reached North America from Asia. This migration took place during the last Ice Age, which lasted from about 100,000 years ago to about 10,000 years ago. At the time, so much water froze into thick ice sheets that the sea levels dropped, exposing a land bridge between Siberia and Alaska in the area that is now the Bering Strait. Early evidence supported the theory that bands of hunters and food gatherers followed herds of bison and mammoths across the land bridge between Siberia and Alaska. They slowly moved south through North America, Central America, and South America.
What theories explain how people migrated to the Americas? (Theory 2)
Recent evidence suggests that people may have reached the Americas much earlier. They may have paddled small boats and fished along the coasts. As archaeologists have discovered new evidence, they have modified their theories. Researchers now base the dates of migration into the Americas mostly on evidence found at prehistoric sites.
Where and when did the Olmec civilization emerge?
Many scholars consider the Olmec the first American civilization; it emerged in the fertile coastal areas along the Gulf of Mexico and lasted from about 1200 to 400 B.C.E.
What cultural elements define the Olmec?
Ceremonial centers had large pyramid-shaped temples and other important buildings. Much of Olmec art is carved stone. The smallest examples include jade figurines of people and gods. The most dramatic remains are 14 giant stone heads found at the major ceremonial centers of San Lorenzo and La Venta. The Olmec also engaged in trading jade, obsidian, serpentine, mica, rubber, feathers, and pottery; through such trade, they influenced a wide area. The grinning jaguars and serpents that decorate many Olmec carvings appear in the arts of later Mesoamerican peoples. The Olmec also invented a calendar, and they carved hieroglyphic writing into stone. Recent archaeological excavations in Mexico indicate they may have developed a writing system, which would make them the first Mesoamerican civilization to do so.
(Aztec and Mayan Organization) In what way were these two societies similar?
Mayan and Aztec societies shared many similar traits. Both had strong middle classes composed of merchants, skilled artisans, and soldiers. Both societies practiced slavery. The majority of the people in each society were farmers. Religious leaders held high status in both societies.
(Aztec and Mayan Organization) How did they differ?
There were also important differences between the Maya and the Aztec, though. The Maya formed independent city-states, each ruled by a king. The Aztecs, on the other hand, were united under the leadership of a single ruler, the emperor. The emperor's dual role as both war leader and religious leader centralized power even further. This centralization of power made Aztec society more stable than Mayan society had been.
1) Farm raised beds in lake environment
2) Single ruler presided over the entire empire
1) Burned forests to clear land
2) Rulers in each city-state
Which civilizations were influenced by the Olmec, and how was this influence represented in the ways those later civilizations lived?
There is evidence that both the Maya and the Aztec were influenced by the Olmec. The name Olmec is an Aztec name for that civilization, since the real name is unknown. The Olmec were the first to build the pyramid style of temples in Mesoamerica, a style later used by the Aztec and the Maya. The jaguars and serpents in Olmec art later appeared in the art of later Mesoamerican peoples.
How did the Maya operate politically without a centralized government?
The Maya had city-states that were not unified. They were tied to each other through a system of economic exchange through trading rather than direct rule through a centralized government.
Read the Farming Begins section in Civilizations Develop in the Americas. Based on the context, what does the term domesticated mean? Why was the ability to cultivate domestic plants and animals an important part of the evolution of civilization in the Americas?
Based on the text, the term domesticated indicates plants and animals that are raised by people. By gaining the ability to domesticate plants and animals, people in the Americas were able to transition from life as nomads to farmers, thereby establishing communities and, eventually, centers of civilization.
What characteristics distinguish the major economic developments of the Maya and Aztec civilizations?
Trade brought the Maya city-states tremendous wealth. Wealth for the Aztec came from the spoils of war and tribute.
In Aztec society, birth determined social status. Rank was visible in Aztec clothing. Nobles dressed in fine textiles, often cotton, and sandals. Where could a woman have influence in Aztec society?
as a priestess, part of the elite
Why was a social hierarchy important to both the Maya and the Aztec?
The Maya had a vast culture of city-states with a ruler for each. To maintain this culture's economic, political, social, and cultural well-being, their social hierarchy had designated responsibilities for each position. The Aztec were similar, though their extensive empire was ruled by a single leader.
What evidence supports the idea that the Olmec developed an advanced civilization that was capable of organizing large pools of labor for important projects?
The Olmec built large monuments and temples, and they transported huge blocks of stone to be carved into massive sculptures.
What is the main difference between the Aztec and the Maya regarding the governing of their societies?
The Maya were not unified politically. Individual city-states each had a king who ruled that city-state. Some city-states were more powerful than others. In contrast, the Aztec built an empire that unified the Aztec people under a single ruler.
The text states, ". . . many scholars consider the Olmec the 'mother culture' of Mesoamerica. . . . " What evidence from the text supports this statement? (Note: You do not have to cite sources; simply provide supporting details.)
The Olmec are considered the "mother culture" because of their influence on later civilizations. According to the text, this includes: the use of Mesoamerican pyramids, later adopted by other civilizations; religious and artistic influences that became a part of other cultures; and political institutions that became the foundation for those used by the Maya and Aztec.
Read the first paragraph of Government and Society in The Aztec. The text states, "War brought immense wealth as well as power to the Aztec empire." Identify details from the text that help support this statement. (Note: You do not have to cite sources; simply provide supporting details.)
The Aztec used war as a path to both power and wealth. As described in the text, the Aztec demanded payment, or tribute, from those they conquered. They then used this tribute to help expand the capital city of Tenochtitlán.
What is significant about the style of Maya architecture?
The Maya temples, pyramids, walls, and residences were made of stone that remained for thousands of years. They decorated their stone work with carving and sometimes stucco and paint. Plazas were located in the middle of their cluster of buildings, and raised walkways connected residential areas. They built on higher, not necessarily level, ground to avoid the dampness associated with the environment of tropical forests. Because many structures are available today, they are artifacts that allow scientists to study and piece together Maya history.
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