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Essay/Term paper: The mayas, aztecs, and incas

Essay, term paper, research paper:  History

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The Maya, Inca, and Aztec civilizations each originated from Latin America. Some Mayans lived in southern Mexico in the present day states of Chipas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yacatan, and Quintana Roo. Other Mayans lived in Central America in the countries of Belize, Guatemala, and ancient Honduras. The Incas lived in an Empire which they called Tawantinsuyu. Tawantinsuya means four parts. The Incas lived in present day Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina. The four parts were a long coastal strip, the high peaks and deep fertile valleys of the Andes, and the mountainous edges of the tropical forest to the East. The Aztecs were from Aztlan in either north or northwest Mexico.

Each Maya City governed it's surrounding area and some large cities each controlled one or more smaller cities. A Maya City ruler would be succeeded by his younger brother or son. This led generations of a single family to rule for hundreds of years. Inca leaders kept their power by giving entertainment and luxurious goods as gifts to the people. The citizens paid taxes in return for these gifts. In the Inca culture, the emperor married his sister and his generals would be his relatives. The Inca rulers were allowed to govern independently. The Aztec power was held together by land ownership. A few families shared a piece of land and part of the land was given to the state as a tax.

Entire Maya families lived together and everyone helped with the work. Men provided food and women provided clothing for the family. The rank of an Inca's family determined his or her social position for life. In order to establish a social rank, families were grouped in units called ayllus and had to grow food to eat for the whole family. The Aztec society was divided into four main classes. The four main classes were: nobles, commoners, serfs, and slaves.

The Maya culture worshiped many gods and goddesses. Each God or goddess influenced some part of Maya life. Along with the Mayans, the Aztecs worshiped a multitude of gods, each of whom demanded offerings and sacrifices. Unlike the Mayans and the Aztecs, the Incas only worshiped one God. This was the Sun God. Inca emperors believed that they were descendants of the Sun God and that they were worshiped as divine beings.

Each culture grew a different variety of foods, but corn was the main crop each civilization grew. The Maya women prepared corn in a variety of ways. They could make tortillas or alcohol with corn. Along with corn, Maya farmers raised chiefly beans and squash. The Incas produced beer with the corn they grew. Along with this corn, other main crops the Incas grew were: cotton, potatoes, oca, and quinoa. In the highlands, the Inca's favorite food was chuno, which are freeze-dried potatoes. Agriculture was the basis of Aztec economy. Again, corn was the most important crop, but along with corn, farmers grew avocados, beans, squashes, sweet potatoes, and many other crops. Cotton, papayas, abber, and cacao beans were found in the lowlands of the Aztec empire. The basic agriculture tool for digging in the Aztec civilization was a pointed stick.


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