The Ancient Mayan, Aztec and Incan Empires
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While the ancient civilizations of the Mayan, Aztec, and Incan Empires were all very different and unique in their own ways. They each became strong and successful because of the different ways of adapting to the region they lived in and the many achievements that they made in their civilization which influence us today. The Mayan civilization was strongest from 300 to 900 A.D. It was located in what is now Central America.The Mayan culture focused heavily on religion. The priests were very powerful and made decisions for everyone. The Mayans worshiped many Gods such as the God of the sun and the rain. They sacrificed humans to their Gods to prevent bad things from happening such as sending rain to prevent a draught. The Mayans was considered the most advanced of the three empires. They were the only culture to develop a written language and they were very advanced in math and astronomy. They developed a counting system and also the Mayan calendar, which had 365 days in the year just like the current calendar we use today. The Aztec began around 1200 A.D. They were wandering warriors who built a great city on a lake, which is located in Central Mexico.
Because they built their city on top of a lake, they developed a system of canals, bridges, and waterways to help them get around. The Aztecs were also great farmers. They built islands called “floating gardens” that they grew their crops on. They were the first people to grow crops such as potatoes, corn and peppers. In addition to being great farmers, the Aztecs were also known mathematicians, astronomers and historians. Their culture was based on a complex system of religious beliefs. Like the Mayans, they too were pantheistic and believed they needed to have human sacrifices to feed the gods and keep them happy. To acquire the needed humans to sacrifice, the military became very important to this culture. About the same time as the Aztecs, the Incas became a strong empire in South America in what are now the countries of Peru, Ecuador, Chile, and Bolivia. The Incas were well known for their agricultural achievements. Jungles and deserts surrounded them as they lived high in the Andes Mountains.
They developed a system of farming on the side of a mountain by cutting terraces to grow their crops on. They also developed a system of roads to make getting around all their empire easier. They paved roads, built bridges and built barriers on the edges of steep cliffs to make travel safer. The Incas were well known for their advancement in medicine, their agricultural achievements, and their great masonry skills. A very powerful, all controlling Emperor ruled the Incas. The lower class people were little more than slaves. The punishments for breaking the law were usually being put to death, so there weren’t many rule breakers. The government took care of the people and the people paid their taxes through labor. While each of these empires was great in their own ways, they all had something in common. The Aztecs, Incas and Mayans were all strong cultures that no longer exist. The Spanish destroyed each of them. On many occasions, the conquistadors were welcomed and worshiped because the people believed them to be gods. Despite the fact that they no longer exist, each of these empires has had a lot of influence on the modern world we live in today.