Olmec,Maya,Aztec,Inca,Taino, and Arawak study guide

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a strudy guide for 4 mesoamerican civilizations


The Olmecs


A mesoamerican civilization


Between 1300BCE & 400BCE


The gulf coast, near current-day Veracruz


The Olmec are known for being the mother culture of mesoamerica, as well as their incredible knowledge of astronomy & math. They left behind many stalae, as well as many giant carvings of stone heads.


The Maya


A mesoamerican civilization


Their classical period stretched from 300CE to 900CE.


The Maya lived from the Yutcatan peninsula to southern Guatemala, as well and northern Honduras.


The maya are known for their incredible knowledge of math and astronomy. They are believed to be a branch of the Olmecs. They left behind many incredible pyramids and monuments.


The Aztecs


A mesoamerican civilization




Started in a swampy island in the middle of lake texococo (tenochtitlan). The empire then slowy started dominating cities all over mesoamerica.


The aztecs are known for many things. Like the other major mesoamerican civilizations, they are known for their amazing knowledge of math and astronomy. They are also known for the fact that they created an amazing civilization in less than one hundred years. Cortes was stunned when he saw the amazing city of tenochtitlan.


The Incas


An early American Civilization


Developed around 1325-1345, had it's peak of power around 1438-1493, and was destroyed in 1532 by Francisco Pizzaro (Spanish).


The Incas lived in south America. Mainly in Peru, but also in parts of Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina.


The Incas are known for their massive empire. At the time, it surpassed any european empire at that time. They did not have a system of writing, however they did have a number system by tying knots is a string. They are also known for their many highways that stretch all across their empire, as well as the "rest stops" placed along the way. They were expert fighters, but since they were kind to their conquered cities, most cities usually surrendered peacefully.


The Arawaks


An early American civilization.


Lived around 3000 years ago.


Started out living in the grassy plains and low rain forests of the Orinoco and Amazon rivers. Then around 900BCE they started migrating northwards into the caribbean, starting in the island of Trinidad, but later moving onwards to other Lesser Antilles


They are known for their amazing pottery skills. Archaeologists can track their movements by looking at pottery remains. They were also great farmers, and their main crop was cassava. No one knows why they migrated north.


The Tainos ("a good and noble poeple" in Arawakan)


An early American civilization, the descendants of the Arawaks.


sighted the spanish in 1492.


The greater Antilles.


The Tainos are known for being the first poeple Columbus saw on his journey. They are also known for living in small communities ruledbyleaders, as well asthe fact that they are incredibly skilled fishermen.

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