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Worlds Apart: The Americas and Oceania
Terms in this set (26)
Once the largest power center in Mesoamerican Teotihuacan declined by the 8th century. The ensuing power vacuum incentivized peripheral powers to claim leadership. The most successful of these were the Mexica of the Aztec. In the area surrounding Neo Mexico, many agricultural societies jostled for power, even though they shared general Teotihuacan culture and language.
The Toltecs came from arid northwestern Mexico in the eighth century to central Mexico, which they unified. Settling down in Tula, 50km northwest Mexico City, they tapped the nearby Tula river supported 60000 people in urban centers and their equals in the surrounding region.
The Toltecs depended on a strong army to extend their authority on central Mexico. They periodically waged battles in the region to discipline it. A primary role of the Toltec army was he building of forts and protection citadels to fend off the state from invasions. Residents lived in spacious houses made of stone, adobe, or mud and sometimes covered their packed-earth floors with plaster.
Trade and social exchange with societies in the region reflected the prosperity on Tula. Tula's denizens engaged in weaving, working pottery and obsidian. They imported jade, turquoise, animal skin, and exotic good from distant lands in Mesoamerica. They imported styles and ways from the Maya city of Yucatan and Chichen Itza. In about 1125 civil strife grew among Tula people and nomadic people from northwest gradually migrated in the vicinity of Tula. In 1175, these two factors contributed to the decline of Tula.
One of the nomadic people that invaded central Mexico were the Mexica. They originated in the northwest, and by the 13th century they settled down in central Mexico. They were reputed for kidnapping women and seizing cultivated fields. Their troublesome settlement led to concerted effort on the part of their enemies which brought them sometimes to a difficult situation of feeding on fly eggs and snakes. The Mexica are better known as Aztec, since they constituted a significant part of the Aztec alliance in the 15th century.
In about 1345, the Mexica settled down on a marshy island and established their capital, Tenochtitlan, later rebuilt as Mexico City by Spanish conquerors. Although the town was not initially a strategic place, the lake offered fish, frogs, and waterfowl. The Mexica soon made up for strategic lacuna by the chinampas agriculture. They dredged up a muck from the lake and split it into plots. In the dry seasons they tapped canal water into their plots to grow crops of maize, beans, squashes, tomatoes, peppers, and chiles around the year
a long and narrow floating field on a shallow lake bed, artificially built up by layering soil, sediment, and decaying vegetation and used, especially by the Aztecs, to grow crops.
The Aztec Empire
By the early 15th century, the Mexica extended their authority on neighboring communities and exacted tributes from them. Under the rule of the obsidian serpent Itzcoatl (1428-1440) and Motecuzoma I (1440-1469) they advanced first against Oaxaca in southwestern Mexico, which they conquered by slaying many of its inhabitants. Next, they populated Oaxaca with colonies. Finally they conquered gulf areas and imposed taxes from Tenochtitlan to coastal areas.
The Aztec Empire
About the mid-fifteenth century, the Mexica joined forces with two neighboring cities, Texcoco and Tlacopan (modern Tacuba), to create a triple alliance that imposed rule on 12 million people. The Aztec empire dominated most of Mesoamerica, excluding only arid areas in the north and west and few pockets of small states.
Aztec power elites imposed heavy taxes on local communities and received food crops and manufactured items such as textiles, rabbit fur blankets, embroidered clothes, jewelry, and obsidian knives. The annual tribute owed by the state of Tochtepec on the Gulf coast, foe example, included 9600 cloaks, 1600 women's garments 200 loads of cacao , and 16000 rubber balls, among other items. The elites who received these tributes entrusted them on merchants translucent jade, emeralds, tortoise shells, jaguar skins, parrot feathers, seashells, and game animals. From lowlands came vanilla beans and cacao from which sweet beverages were made.
489 subject territories paid tributes to Aztec elites. The flow of tributes to Tenochtitlan made it an extremely wealthy city. It is heyday, Tenochtitlan reached individuals in the city and other more in the nearby cities and suburbs. The principal marked had separate section for merchants dealing in gold, silver, slaves, henequen, and cotton cloth, shoes, animal skins, turkeys, dogs, wild game, maize, beans, peppers, cacao, and fruit.
Mexica society was rigidly hierarchical. Warriors received the honors at the expense of subjugated classes. Men were naturally disposed to be warriors, but aristocratic men received better training to perpetuate their power. Lower class men could achieve themselves among the warrior and thereby ascend the social ladder. Women were expected to be good mothers, especially to warriors. Although they worked in crafts and trades, they were much kept to house wife labor. Merchants and artisans held a prestigious position, yet sometimes, when seen as greedy or dangerous, suffered certain power oppression.
Priests received training in calendrical an ritual lore, which prepared them to presiding ceremonies. They advised rulers and speculated over celestial fortunes of the world. In many cases priests made their way into the helm of power. The ill-fated Motecuzoma II (reigned 1502-1520), ruler of the Aztec empire when Spanish invaders appeared in 1519, was a priest of the most popular Mexica cult.
Mexica population worked in the chinampas and known as Calpulli, constituted the bulk of the population. Calpulli originally claimed common origin. With time their genealogical identity loosened. They worked as land tenants, servants, and workers, providing the labor force of irrigation system, building temples, palaces and payed tributes to state official and upper-class warriors. Criminals and war prisoners were made slaves. Out of destitution, calpulli class occasionally bought their offspring into serfdom.
The meaning of Calpulli
refers to the social and spatial neighborhoods which were the main organizing principle in cities throughout the Central American Aztec empire (1430-1521 CE).
(in Mesoamerica) a long and narrow floating field on a shallow lake bed, artificially built up by layering soil, sediment, and decaying vegetation and used, especially by the Aztecs, to grow crops.
The Mexica copied ritual and theological traditions from their predecessors. They believed in Tezcatlipoca , the smoking mirror, and Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent, who also featured in Teotihuacan. Tezcatlipoca was a life giver and taker; whereas Quetzalcoatl supported arts, crafts and agriculture. To satisfy the gods, Mexica practiced ritual bloodletting to ensure the continuation of the world and the production of maize. Mexica priests regularly performed acts of self-sacrifice, piercing their earlobes or penises with cactus spines in honor of the primeval acts of their gods.
Huitzilopochtli was a divine model of the Mexica warriors, to which they offered ritual sacrifices out of their enemies. The success of the Mexica conquests in the 14th century encouraged Huitzilopochtli cult and gave it further authority. Human sacrifices to Huitzilopochtli came from the ranks of captured enemy warriors, human tributes offered by subjugated communities, and criminals sentenced for death. The Mexica believed that human sacrifices guarantee the function of earth and provide necessary moisture for its fertility.
People and societies of north America
Various communities population antebellum North America and they lived in diverse conditions. Coastal communities fished; in arctic regions they hunted whales, seals, and walrus; in the interior region they hunted bison and deer. Berries, root, and grasses such as wild rice supplemented diets throughout the continent. Pueblo and Navajo irrigated maze which% of their diets. By, Iroquois nations (Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca) emerged our of Owasco societies which populated modern day New York. They cultivated maize and built wooden mounds. These communities traded along rivers (Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee) in canoes.
States and empires in South America
Unlike Mesoamerica societies, Andean South America societies never used writing. Yet their history is retrievable. Secular governments replaced ceremonial in the period 1000 to 1500 CE. The Inca took over on the wake of older Chavin and Moche societies. Chicuito kingdom dominated modern day Peru and Bolivia. It depended on cultivating potatoes and the domestication of IIamas and apacas. Chucuito dominated the highlands region around Lake in the 12th century.
Chimu dominated the Peruvian coasts for centuries before the arrival of the Incas in the 15th century. Like other civilizations in the vicinity they tapped irrigation networks from rivers, generating abundant sources of maize and sweet potatoes. Chimu's capital city, Chanchan, whose ruins lie close to the modern city of Trujillo, had a population that exceeded fifty thousand and may have approached one hundred thousand. The city structure reflected careful hierarchy and clan based organization.
Inca people spoke Quenchua language and initially lived peacefully in the highlands of the Andes. By 1438, however, the Inca ruler Pachacuti (earth shaker) (reigned 1438-1471). Embarked on a dramatic conquest that extended Inca's authority from the lowlands to the coasts, subjugating Chimu. By the late fifteenth century, the Incas had built a huge empire stretching more the 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles) from modern Quito to Santiago. It embraced almost all of modern Peru, most of Ecuador, much of Bolivia, and parts of of Chile and Argentina as well. Inca subject were 11.5 million people.
Inca routinely sought to encourage obedience among subject people by taking hostages from their ruling classes and forcing them to live at the Inca capital. When conquered people became restive or uncooperative, the Incas sent to loyal subjects as colonists, provided them with choice land and economic benefits, and established them in garrisons to maintain order. Pachacuti taxed the population and hoarded the tax crops and craft products in state storehouses. He also built a vast network of roads that allowed Inca military and administrators to smoothly pass around.
In the lack of writing, Inca drew on Quipu system to encode information of state property, labor services and social statistics. Quipu consisted of an array of small cords of various colors and lengths, all suspended from one large, thick cord. Experts tied a series of knots in the small cords, which sometimes numbered of a hundred or more, to help them remember certain kinds of information. Quipu also recorded some historical information.
At the center was a huge plaza filled with glistening white sand transported from Pacific beaches to the high Andean city. Surrounding the plaza were handsome buildings constructed of red stone cut so precisely by expert masons that no mortar was necessary to hold them together. The most important buildings sported gold facings, which threw off dazzling reflections when rays of the Andeansun fell on them. The city hosted about 40,000 people, largely of Inca nobility and their servants.
Scholars have estimated the combined length of those trunk routes at 16,000 kilometers (almost 10,000 miles). During the early sixteeth century, Spanish conquerors marveled at the roads paved with stone, shaded by trees, and wide enough to accommodate eight horsemen riding abreast. A corps of official runners carried messages along the roads so that news and information could travel between Cuzco and the most distant parts of the empire within a few days. When the Inca rulers desired a meal of fresh fish, they dispatched runners from Cuzco to the coast, more than 320 kilometers (200 miles) away, and had their catch within two days
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Transoceanic encounter and global connection
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