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In the eighth unit, you learned about the major civilizations of the Americas, including the Mayan, Aztec, and Inca, and how European expansion and colonization led to their downfall. You compared civilizations in the Americas with other ancient civilizations in Africa and the Middle East. You are now equipped to apply your knowledge by comparing and contrasting civilizations around the world from antiquity through the fifteenth century CE in your final paper. Consider using the Unit 8 Guide to check that you completed all the assigned activities and remember to take a look at your instructor’s feedback on your Unit 7 & 8 assignments and Unit 8 discussion. Congratulations on completing this course on world civilizations!
In Unit 8, we will explore the development of civilization in the Americas prior to and including European exploration, conquest, and colonization. Early civilization in the Americas developed in two distinct areas: Mesoamerica and the Andean region. The Aztec and Mayan Empires laid claim to the Mesoamerica region, which was located in current day Mexico and Central America. The Andean region, located in South America, was home to the Inca Empire. Like the early civilizations we discussed in prior units, these civilizations developed their own social and political structure.
Mesoamerica is located in the region stretching from the middle of Mexico south through central America. The first people settled in the Americas between 40,000 and 12,000 years ago, crossing over a land bridge that once connected Siberia to Alaska. The first recognized civilization of Mesoamerica were the Olmec, who flourished in Mexico between 1500 and 400 BCE. The Classical Period of Mayan civilization (250 – 900 CE) witnessed the emergence of monumental stone architecture, hieroglyphic writing, and a complex calendar. Religion loomed large in Mayan social and political identity, and divinely appointed rulers demanded human sacrifices to appease the gods. Around 900 CE, a people known as the Toltecs settled in the northern region of Mexico, and their heirs, the Aztecs would develop a powerful and extensive empire that encompassed almost the entire Mesoamerican region, until the arrival of the Spanish in the sixteenth century.
The Inca Empire, which began in the twelfth century CE, is the most well-known early civilization of Andean South America. Its civilization spanned a large territory stretching along the western coast of South America and centered in Peru. Agricultural production fueled the Inca economy, while their centralized state was maintained through elaborate road systems and a unified religion. Devastated by civil war and disease, the Inca Empire was conquered by the forces of Francisco Pizarro in 1533.
By the end of this unit, you will be able to:
1. Compare the events that led to the establishment, expansion, and fall of the early American civilizations.
2. Discuss the political, social, and religious identities of the Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas.
The image to the left is linked to an interactive map where you can see the approximate geographical location and learn more information about the civilizations discussed in this unit. If you are accessing this course from the Blackboard mobile application, you will need to visit the link or open the Interactive Map pdf listed below.Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Unit 8 Interactive MapÃ¢â‚¬Â¢ Unit 8 Interactive Map Text Transcript
Unit Topic 1 – Mayan Civilization
Mayan civilization began around 400 BCE and entered a golden age between 250 and 900 CE. Competing city-states constructed impressive monumental buildings, including pyramid temples and composed elaborate hieroglyphic inscriptions.
Overview of the history of the Maya Civilization, including their writing and architecture.
Mark, J. J. (2012, July 6). Maya Civilization. Ancient History Encyclopedia.
Overview of Mayan civilization:
25 Unbelievable Facts About The Mayans That Might Surprise You
Unit Topic 2 – Aztec Civilization
Originating among nomadic tribes in northern Mexico, around the thirteenth century CE, the Aztecs began to develop a Mesoamerican empire, centered at the great city of Teotihuacan. A rigidly structured society and powerful military held together the diverse peoples of the Aztec Empire for nearly two centuries. The Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes and a small military force destroyed Teotihuacan in 1521.
Wallech, S., Daryaee, T., Hendricks, C., Negus, A. L., Wan, P. P., & Bakken, G. M. (2013). World history volume I: A concise thematic analysis (2nd ed.). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Chapter 17: The Americas- A Time of Trouble, pp. 355-363
Overview of the history of the Aztec Civilization.
Cartwright,M. (2014, February 26). Aztec Civilization. Ancient History Encyclopedia.
Description of the end of Aztec civilization.
Ask History: What Happened to the Aztecs? | History
Unit Topic 3 – Inca Civilization
Despite the harsh environment of the Andean region, the Inca civilization flourished between 1400 and 1533 CE, creating an empire that stretched from Peru to Chile. A highly organized administration and road system facilitated Inca political control, but rebellions and diseased weakened the empire, leading to its destruction by European forces in 1533.
Chapter 17: The Incas, pp. 363-366
Overview of the history and culture of the Inca Empire.
Cartwright, M. (2014, September 15). Inca Civilization. Ancient History Encyclopedia.
Overview of Incan Civilization.
Time: 3:57 min
documentary on the pre-inca civilizations
Time: 2:52 min
In the eighth unit, you learned about the major civilizations of the Americas, including the Mayan, Aztec, and Inca, and how European expansion and colonization led to their downfall. You compared civilizations in the Americas with other ancient civilizations in Africa and the Middle East. You are now equipped to apply your knowledge by comparing and contrasting civilizations around the world from antiquity through the fifteenth century CE in your final paper. Consider using the Unit 8 Guide to check that you completed all the assigned activities and remember to take a look at your instructor’s feedback on your Unit 7 & 8 assignments and Unit 8 discussion. Congratulations on completing this course on
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Preview YouTube video 25 Unbelievable Facts About The Mayans That Might Surprise You
Preview YouTube video Ask History: What Happened to the Aztecs? | History
Preview YouTube video Inca Civilization
Preview YouTube video documentary on the pre-inca civilizations
documentary on the pre-inca civilizations
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