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An Essay on the Mayan, Incan, and Aztec Civilizations

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The Mayan, Aztec and Incan civilizations each contributed major accomplishments to the world today. These accomplishments established them as advanced societies during their time. The Incans built a large road system, devised a complex irrigation system and developed their own language. The Mayans constructed the largest structure known until modern times, made drastic accomplishments in mathematics, studied astronomy and formed a calendar. The Aztecs built well-organized cities and developed a writing system based on pictures.

To unite their empire, the Incans formed their own language and religion. They worshipped many g-ds and their ruler was a sun-g-d king. They also created a road that wound over 12,000 miles as shown in Document Five. This road went through mountains and deserts. This road system enabled armies to travel rapidly throughout the empire. The road also allowed news to travel faster than before. The road was used to send news to soldiers stationed up and down the road to put down rebellions throughout the empire. The Incans also acquired great building skills. As shown in Document Six, the Incans built buildings without the use of a cement or mortar. These buildings have survived numerous earthquakes throughout many centuries. The need for more food led the Incans to build complex irrigation systems which enabled corn to grow in places it had not previously been able to. A son of an Incan princess once wrote about the complexity and organization of these irrigation channels as shown in Document Four.

The Mayans were advanced in the sense that they had unique architectural skills. They built the tallest structure in the world until modern times as shown in Document One. The Mayans dedicated these buildings to g-ds and important rulers. The priests performed services on top of structures like these and the people watched from the ground. The Mayans also built large palaces and stone pillars with carvings of Mayan events. Along with their advances in architecture the Mayans developed a complex calendar with hieroglyphics as depicted in Document Two. These glyphs were based on their writing system. Along with their architectural accomplishments and their own unique writing system the Mayans also studied mathematics. The Mayans came up with the idea of zero.

The capitol of the Aztec world was Tenochitlan. Tenochitlan was a well organized city with many public centers such as the palace, marketplace and temple. The Aztecs performed human sacrifices every morning at the temple. These sacrifices were usually captives, but sometimes a noble’s family would “donate” one of its children for a sacrifice. Cortes was impressed with the organization and the amount of people in Tenochitlan and wrote his fascination down in Document Three. The Aztecs also created their own writing system based on pictures. They were pyramid builders and participated in trade with other countries.

The Mayans, Aztecs and Incas were all advanced in their own ways. The Aztecs advanced in how their cities were laid out, the Incas united their empire through their road and the Mayans made advances in learning and in architectural planning. These advances are all considered major accomplishments by modern day historians.

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