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Monday, September 23, 2013

And The Winner Is?????

First, let me say that your first week blogs weren't too bad.  Some of you need to work on your responses to other's post (a little too much "love feasting" and some responses were a bit too short), but for the first blog of APUSH 1, not bad.

This week, we're going to dig (no pun intended) a bit deeper into the "civilization" question by discussing which of the following civilizations that were found in the New World would clearly have to be crowned the "Greatest American Civilization" of the New World.  Was it the Inca, the Mayan's or Aztecs?  There is a lot to consider when making your decision, so try and give it some thought.  As always, you have to defend your selection and respect the opinions of others (you can disagree with their arguments based on their facts, but not their opinion).  Keep in mind that this topic is NOT about how they got conquered, but about the actual civilization.

I look forward to your input!!  Who will be crowned the winner????

So, to restate, the topic is:

Which American Civilization (pre-European influence) should be considered the Greatest of them all???  Defend your selection!

46 comments:

  1. As the Bering land bridge was exposed by the end of the Ice Age, vanguard bands groped their way toward the south across the Americas. Over the centuries they developed countless tribes, more than 2000 languages, diverse religions, cultures, and ways of life. Among the earliest Americans, the Incas in Peru, the Mayans in Central America, and the Aztecs in Mexico, were the three dominant civilizations. In shaping their astonishingly sophisticated cultures, they all primarily based their agricultural practices on the cultivation of maize, built elaborate cities and carried on far-flung commerce. However, the Aztec Empire, in view of its more progressive advancement in commercial trade, economy, transportation and mobility, military, weapons and armors, architecture, and other external influences, should be considered the greatest above other two civilizations.
    Man Duosa’s manuscripts had depicted scenes of tributes given to the Aztec from its neighbors. Those tributes not only involved gorgeous feathers, ornaments, greenstone beads, and other luxury goods, but also clothing, firewood, food, and other life necessities. There are many types of currencies in Aztec circulation, such as cocoa beans which possessed a relatively lower value. Each town usually had a market, in which a flow of at least 600,000 people could be achieved in Tlatelolco as Cortes once mentioned. Aztecs constructed well-developed roadways in the major cities; messengers used these roads to travel around, ensuring the Aztec empire to access the most recent information at any time.
    There were two parts consisted in the Aztec army: one part was the mācehualtin who hadn’t yet been through well training, and the other part was the pīpiltin who were higher disciplined soldiers. They often launched wars in order to obtain human sacrifices (a custom also practiced by the Incas but far less by the Mayans), where they took the enemies as captives rather than killing them right away. Yet this ideal concept caused the Spaniards to capture the empire successfully later in the time.
    Despite the Incas’ famous masonry skills, which led to the conformation of Machu Picchu, and those pyramids and stone monuments in Maya, the Aztecs also made remarkable achievements in the field of architecture comparable to or even more high-ranking than those of the other civilizations. The construction of Tenochtitlan upon the island surrounded by lake was being called “the world’s garden” by Spaniards. The city contained a population of 60,000 which surpassed the average population in the Mayan cities. The vast scale and design of its equipment of the city of Tenochtitlan was envied by the surprised Spanish colonial invaders.
    Furthermore, the Aztec Empire had a fortified social stratification, a complete law system, and a rather accurate calendar system. Although the Mayans made outstanding efforts in studying mathematics and astronomy, Aztecs served as an admittedly superb realm for math and science.
    Moreover, according to the fact that the Aztec Empire was conquered the first by Spanish conquistradores, it had a fuller and longer history being known by the outside world. Especially in the aspect of Incas and Mayans, which had a lesser recorded reference of their history, the Aztecs was thus made a civilization seemed having more power. On the other hand, an indeed stronger power was no doubt a factor of it being found earlier in the history, which again promoted the Aztec’s superior status in early Native American history.

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    1. One word can describe this post - WOW!!!!!

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    2. I found it interesting how you pointed out that the Aztec's power was in part due to how early they were founded. It's easy to tell that your post was one of extreme detail, judging by the fact that you actually went as far back as the times of the Bering Land Bridge. While reading your post, I realized that this blog topic could be difficult to answer, for the reason that it ties into the last blog, about what could be considered a "civilization." However, I have one quick point: I'm not sure that the mācehualtin and pīpiltin were ranks in the Aztec army; rather, they were the Aztec social structure: the mācehualtin were the poorer slaves, and the pīpiltin were the aristocrats. Also, weren't the human prisoner taking jobs primarily given to the elite cuāuhocēlōtl, also know as the Aztec Jaguars and Eagle warriors? Then again, the Aztec most commonly launched wars to capture prisoners, and you did have to capture a certain number of people to become an Jaguar or Eagle Knight in the first place. In reality, they were simply what the Aztecs could call "elite special forces" similar to the modern day Green Berets or Spetsnaz, except used much, much differently. Anyway, excellent post!

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    3. I considered you point that mācehualtin and pīpiltin were rather a social rank than military stratification. As mācehualtin were prohibited from serving in royal palaces during the reign of Moctezuma II, who actually drew the distinctive boundary between the status of these two groups of Aztecs, while pipiltin were those hereditarily noble thus occupying top positions in not only army, but also government and priesthood. Their involvement in all these different institutions was very possible to make them a social structure as you mentioned. I'm not quite clear with the concept that the human prisoners were supposed to take jobs given to the Aztec Jaguars, but they did sacrifice human prisoners as a ritual. And adding onto your point, in order to become an Jaguar, nobility was also required other than capturing most amount of captives on the battlefield.

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    4. I also agree with Brandon that even just a quick glance shows that you researched the topic well. It's interesting that you pointed out how the Aztecs were, in a way, 'hyped up' as the most superior in the Americas according the Spanish because they were conquered first and therefore had more of its history known than the other two. Most likely, disease had already spread and began to drastically cut down the numbers of the other civilizations and, especially in the Incas' case, records of their histories were lost forever. It's also a bit ironic that you mentioned how the Aztecs' constant need for human sacrifices to appease their gods and be granted prosperity became an important piece that brought their downfall.

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    5. You're post was simliar to mine because of how you explained the Aztec empire and why it was so great compared to the Incan and Mayan civilizations. I strongly agree with what you said about the Aztecs having a fuller and longer history that the outside world knows, because the more the outside world knows about the civilization, the better the argument becomes at the end of the day. It did make the Aztec civilization stronger to backup, since people already know so much about them.

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  2. Though often forgotten under the lure of European exploration, the ancient civilizations of the New World, specifically the Aztec, the Mayans, and the Incas, built elaborate structures and cities that rivaled many of the great cities of Europe at the time. The one society that I consider more advanced than the other is the Mayan civilization of Mesoamerica. For one, unlike the Incas, the Mayans had a writing system, while the Incans only kept records on knotted cords known as "quipu." While they both pass on information, it is clear that the Mayan writing system would be more accurate than quipu, as someone could potentially make a mistake easier. To this day, no one is really certain what the quipus are supposed to say. The Mayans also had copper and other precious metals, such as gold, silver, and ornaments such as jade. These acted as both decoration and Mayan currency; the Incas only had a bartering system. Another favorite Mayan currency was cacao beans (they also might of been the first people to have created chocolate as we know it.) The Mayans had excellent astronomers, whose readings were so accurate they could predict eclipses. The Mayans also had large city centers where religious ceremonies were held on pyramids some 70 meters high; in the cities were large stones that actually had the dates of said ceremonies. One thing that the Mayans had that was unfamiliar to the Incas, the Aztecs, or even the Europeans at the time was a symbol for zero. This allowed the Mayans to make very complex mathematical calculations, while the ancient Europeans were limited by their lack of an actual "0." Similar to the Aztecs, the Mayans believed in sacrificing to their gods; however, the Mayans only believed in sacrificing blood, while Aztec tradition dictates you actually take out your poor victims still beating heart. The Mayans also had an advanced calendar that, as we all know, ended on December 21, 2012. The Mayans were peaceful and gentle, while the Aztecs were warlike and ferocious. The Mayans, Incans, and Aztecs, while mostly mixed with Spanish blood, are still around today; however, the Mayans were much more scientific and peaceful than the warlike Aztecs (and to some extent the Europeans), and had a more sophisticated currency system than the Incans. That is why I believe that the Mayans, not the Aztecs or Incans, were the greatest civilization of ancient America.

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    1. Nice support of consolidate facts and information! It is really effective that you point out Mayan's famous writing system, its pyramids, and its types of currency especially the cocoa beans. Mayan's symbol for zero sounds still fresh to me, and it occurs to be absolutely amazing how Mayans have gained a much comprehensive mathematical technique way ahead than the ancient Europeans who still lacked an actual "0". Also the fact that Mayan's calendar still influences us until today, whether through its general accuracy, or a social concern or panic through the movie 2012, demonstrates Mayan's important status in a global view. (However, I guess it's worth to mention that first person point of view is not to be used in the fourth line of your paragraph.)

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    2. Brandon, i strongly agree with your post. Not only did the Mayan astronomers predict eclipses but they had advanced scientific information on the tides, the suns, and even Mars and Venus! The Mayans were ahead in their time period and there discoveries have impacted us today. Also, I like how you compared the Mayans to the Aztecs as being warlike and ferocious. Your support was extremely strong and accurate.

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    3. Actually, the Incas did grasp the concept of zero ('zero' being an absence of a knot in their quipus) because they used the decimal system; their social and political order was organized by tens, that is, ten districts to a governor, ten workers to a boss, etc). However, you are right in saying that the Mayans' use of the concept was at a much higher level than the other civilizations, allowing them to solve complex mathematical equations and even to predict eclipses.

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    4. I like how you included information about the other two civilizations to support your argument. It was very effective. However, you used a lot of first-person, Try to stay away from that next time. Also, I agree with your argument, the Mayan's were quite advanced and resourceful compared to the other civilizations of that time.

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    5. Definitely agree with this post. The Mayans seem to focus more on technology than territory. They seem to build on the foundation that they had which gave them more time to advance. They were able to develop currency, numbers, astronomy, and etc. The Aztecs and the Incas may have ruled more land but the Mayans advanced faster.

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    6. Brandon,
      You really backed up statements very well throughout your post. I also liked how you tried to contrast the point you were trying to convey with the Aztecs and Mayans. Many different aspects of why you thought the Mayans were superior were also shown. You showed the aspects like the financial side and the scientific sides of why you liked the Mayans in a proper and efficient manner. I also agree with how you said that the Mayans were more scientific and peaceful, while the Aztecs were hostile and belligerent. One issue we conflict on is that you seem to think that lack of a writing makes a empire lesser, but oral tradition can have its benefits as well as a written system.

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    7. Although I do not agree with your views, the way you focused on the practical aspects of the Mayans is admirable. One thing that struck me was the concept of zero that was considered available to the Mayans. I wonder just how long the Mayans had the concept of zero, or what they thought the properties of zero are, because of other mathematicians in other countries discovered properties of zero as well. I am just amazed at the universal properties of math.

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  3. Being one of the most dominant indigenous societies of Mesoamerica, the Mayan civilization was prominent in agriculture, communication, science, and the economy. Agriculture was a key for the Mayan civilization; it was the basis of its civilization. There crop abundance allowed for the civilization to grow. As early as 300 B.C, Mayan farmers began to expand growing crops such as maize, beans and squash. In addition to agriculture the Mayan civilization displayed advanced cultural traits such as city construction and inscribing of stone monuments. Mayan art was especially skillful.
    Furthermore, the Mayans were incredibly advanced scientifically. They developed many concepts that we still use today such as absolute zero. Their astronomical and technological advances have vastly helped their civilization. Astronomers from the Mayan civilization created extremely accurate calendars. About eighteen different calendars were created for the movement of the moon, the planet and the sun. In order to create these calendars mathematical theories were created. The Mayan writing system “quipo” was a system of dyed string that were put together to have a meaning. They meaning of this writing system has not yet been determined but was certainly used for records. It is also said “ quipos’ may have represented maps. The Mayans had 800 distinct hieroglyphs. Another astonishing fact about the Mayans was the various groups spoke nearly 30 closely related languages and dialect. The Mayans also contributed to Astronomy. The Dresden Codex includes astronomical tables on Venus and Mars, eclipses, seasons and the movement of tides. Religion and politics were intertwined in the Mayan civilization. Kings were born to the throne an d secondary rulers were chosen. Many times the priest in the civilization was the king as well. The Mayan belief was that the universe could not rule without the king. Not only were the Mayans bold in science and communication but the economy as well. The Mayan economics were based primarily on trade and culture. There trade system was a network of trade connections that were established with Olmean and Teotihuacan. The Mayan depth of knowledge caused advancements in sciences, system of mathematics, development of their calendars, their writing system, and their architectural abilities allows the Mayan civilization to be the most adequately built.

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    1. It is interesting how you put both how they were big on agriculture but also helped shape the mathematics and science department and the things that we learned from the theories that they created. It showed you thought outside of the box and was able to elaborate more on what the Mayans typically did and how they benefited our society today, which backed up your argument well.

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    2. I never knew that absolute zero was developed by the Mayans! Despite the fact that since 1400's (or even earlier), most of the early scientists were the Europeans like Copernicus, the Native Americans were actually contributing more than we generally thought. Since we were always getting used to focus our principal attention to the area in which most powers were being concentrated, while forgetting to give abundant credits to those "antiquated" inventions. It was also potent that you talked about the ancient Mayan religious society and how religion and politics were intertwined. Mayans' belief that the universe could not rule without a king could actually resonate with the later concept of a Bible Commonwealth in Massachusetts Bay Colony, where the whole purpose of government was to enforce God's laws. I enjoy reading it great job Iqra!

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    3. What always fascinated me about the Mayans was their curiosity for science and math. This was one of the reasons that they advanced so quickly. It allowed them to create the calendar or to study the stars in the sky. Their writing system was the only one in existence in the Americas. Their knowledge resources allowed them to advance ahead of the other tribes.

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    4. I believe that you should check your facts about the Mayans discovering absolute zero. The properties of this theoretical temperature have only been fully defined by advanced physics in the last 50-100 years. To say the Mayans discovered absolute zero means that they have also found the value of it as well, which is almost impossible considering their limited technology. As knowing what absolute zero is requires knowing what particles, atoms, and that everything "moves" even if it does not appear to be moving. However, I find it perfectly plausible that the Mayans believed that there was a lowest possible temperature, as it does not require much scientific inquiry, I think that next time you mention such a controversial statement, make sure you elaborate on which aspects of the subject the people have 'discovered".

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  4. I like how you brought up that the Mayans not only had advanced scientific information about Earth, the tides, and the Sun, but also for Mars and Venus. I wonder if the Europeans really would have considered the Indians savages if they realized that some of them had such advanced calculations. One interesting fact to point out is that both the European and Mayan religions were intertwined with politics, as you pointed out. However, I don't actually think that the Mayans used quipu; rather, I think that was the Incas. The Mayan writing system was more focused on symbols meant to represent phonetics and whole ideas. Still, I really enjoyed reading your post.

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    1. This was actually meant as a reply to Iqra.

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  5. I would consider the Mayans to be the most greatest advanced out of the three given tribes. There the only type of civilization that reminds me of today’s world. They obtained resources such as limestone and flint to create there cities and pyramids. They created math and astronomy advancements for their civilization creating accurate calendars. They are the only Native Americans who developed their own form of writing, creating books such as "Our Places in the Shadows". It had one of the biggest starts being founded in 1,800 B.C. This would mean they had more coordination and knew how to keep a civilization going through experience. The Incas and The Aztecs seemed to use a lot of their focus more on agriculture than anything else. Granted, they did focus on other advancements. However, the Mayans took it one step beyond.

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    1. I like how you related the Mayan civilization to how the world is today. I never thought of how the Mayan civilization could actually be related to now and the things we use such as calendars or even limestone for counter tops and cabinets!

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    2. i agree with your post but i think you need to add more detail into why the Aztecs and Incas weren't as well established compared to the Mayans. This would have made your argument stronger. The Mayans had many more aspects to their civilization that the Incas and Aztecs did not such as their trade system or the way their government worked.

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    3. Overall, your argument is too concise and should be elaborated on further. You mention helpful and supportive points throughout, but you should explain these points in more detail to give a complete, coherent picture of what you are attempting to convey. With that aside, I do like how you took a modern approach and how you talked about how the Mayans excelled in science.

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    4. The Mayans WERE the most advanced out of the three. I agree with your post. It is a good thing you worded this phrase properly: "...this would mean they have more coordination." If you had said, "this would mean that the Mayans had coordination opposed to the other civilizations that had no coordination” I would have to disagree because that wouldn't be entirely true. The other civilizations were coordinated as well, just not to the same extent.

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  6. Long before the Spaniards arrived, three vast civilizations dominated Central and South America: the Incas, Mayans, and Aztecs. These three achieved such a high level of sophistication and culture for their time that it stunned the early conquistadors who first set foot in them. However, one can argue that it was the Incas who were the greatest of the three.

    The Incas ruled Peru and much of Ecuador, Bolivia, northern Chile, and northern Argentina. In order to gain territories, the Incas practiced both conquest and assimilation. Though the Aztecs waged constant war in an effort to capture human sacrifices, the Incas instead brought a Quechua-speaking population, called a mit'a-kona, to conquered lands. They allowed the defeated people to keep their old customs and language; however, they were required to learn Incan culture and language (Quechua) which they learned from the mit'a-kona. The mit'a-kona also brought in military to defend their new territory, organized the people, and eventually intermarried. In this way, hundreds of local customs were incorporated into Incan culture.

    The Incas also practiced human sacrifice. However, unlike the Aztecs who pulled out hearts from still living prisoners-of-war, Incas primarily used children and used tamer methods. They first treated the child lavishly for several months before transporting them to a mountaintop, feeding them an intoxicating drink to minimize pain, and strangling them, hitting them on the head, or leaving them to die from the cold.

    Speaking of infrastructure, the Incas were best known for their masonry and roadways. They were known to be able to cut stones that weighed tons to such a fine degree that even a knife could not slip through the cracks. A famous example is Machu Picchu, which also had fountains and canals. The roadway network used by the empire was almost 25000 miles long. It also functioned as an efficient communication and delivery network because of the runners stationed at every mile.

    Another thing Incas were known for was their advanced agriculture. Though the land was dominated by desert or mountain, the Incas successfully grew plants through their terrace farming and three-sister farming techniques. In fact, the Incas cultivated over 20 varieties of corn, peanuts, peppers, and over 200 varieties of potatoes. The potatoes were freeze-dried into chuño, which made them lightweight and capable of storage for years. This made them ideal for soldiers and for famines; even today, Bolivians and Peruvians eat chuño.

    Their skillset did not end there, of course; the Incas were also master weavers, ornament makers, and goldsmiths. Some temples with grass on their roofs were planted with strands of gold, which made them shine. In the capital city, a golden enclosure near the Temple of the Sun was complete with a gold fountain, golden maize, and golden llama 'eating' gold grass.

    Another remarkable thing about the Incas was that unlike the Mayans who had their own currency, they used bartering and a system of reciprocity that effectively redistributed various goods like food and cloths. Under this system, villages grew and made whatever they could and any surpluses were transferred to villages in need or to soldiers and labor crews.

    However, out of all these wonders, perhaps the most astonishing thing about the Incan empire is that it grew to be so powerful and so influencing at such a short amount of time, without ever using a wheel or a proper written form of communication. The Incan civilization was truly the greatest civilization in prehistoric America.

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    1. The most impressive point to me after reading your post might be the way Incas treated their captives. These newly conquered people were not forced to eliminate their original cultures and beliefs while they were being taught new Inca ways of life by the mit'a-kona, and eventually intermarriage could occur and different backgrounds were able to integrated into each other. That brought up a somewhat connection to the immigration nowadays except not in the form of conquering. Newcomers were brought to a new place or territory, and they would learn the new environment and different conditions as they kept their own custom from their hometown. No wonder the Incas were able to develop so rapid! It was also fancy how the Incas decorated their roofs, fountains, or even maize with gold, that would really make the cities shine with superior glory! (Although that may not be a wise choice for those greedy Spaniard to know it...)

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    2. In the Inca's eyes, the gold showed off their might but in the Spaniards' eyes, all it showed was the peoples' potential to provide a steady source of wealth to the empire. In fact, most of the gold the Spaniards brought to Spain was from the golden enclosure and the city while a majority of the gold mines the slaves worked in were those originally mined by the Incas. Had the Incas known that the greedy Europeans would come and massacre them through disease and superior technology, they might have never used it in their cities. Unfortunately, though the Incas and their conquered people were much more harmonized (unlike the Aztecs who were almost always at war in order to capture human sacrifices), their complex roadway network made their defeat so much easier as it helped the Spaniards swiftly travel through the region.

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    3. In my opinion, the most incredible fact about the Incas was their architecture skills. I couldn't imagine moving a slap of solid stone the size of a car, let alone without any work animals to assist. I would be even harder to actually lift the stone up to the point that you could place it on an existing layer. Machu Picchu alone seems almost physically and scientifically impossible. Imagine what would have happened it they dropped one of the slabs by accident! Also, I like how the Incas actually cared for the well being of the children they sacrificed. Actually, weren't the Incas the ones who threw the children off of a cliff in front of Pizarro? There really wasn't a worse way to anger a group of vicious Catholic Spanish mercenaries than to slaughter a group of innocent children right in front of them, then have cities literally gleaming with gold!

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  7. I really like how you went back and forth with your post, by comparing the Incan's with the Mayans and the Aztecs in each aspect. The Incan civilization's method of human sacrifice seemed extremely detailed and quite repelling. The technique that they used seemed to be really detailed and thorough. This post was extremely persuasive because of your method of comparing the incas with the other civilizations.

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  8. Fearless warriors and skillful people all around, the Aztecs are sure to top the charts on this competition. Beginning their civilization in the 15th century, the Aztecs surpassed the size of the Incan civilization located in America by a huge amount. They were able to come up with a successful economy and trade route system, in order for them to obtain the food, shelter and other necessities that were needed. During the time when Montezuma ruled unlike the Mayan or Incan civilization, the Aztecs were smart after their population had almost been wiped out by the Spaniards, to save their culture, they listened what they said and mixed with the Spaniards to create mestizos. It made them stronger than before combining with the Spaniards, and they didn't totally lose the culture that they had before.
    Along with being able to keep their culture alive by listening to the Spaniards they were also very skillful people that were able to build canals that were useful for transportation and obtaining food they needed to provide for their people. Before the Spaniards had traveled to the New World, the Aztecs were perfectly fine on their own and didn't see any harm coming towards them. They were able to live peaceful and happy lives.
    The Incan and Mayan civilization may have been similar to the Aztec civilization, but the Aztecs were able to obtain huge amounts of gold that was put into one city. They also built beautiful temples and pyramids that embraced who they were and why they were so great back then. They were able to capture more land then both the Incans and Mayans as well. They truly were the best civilization. They were skillful and knew how to live off of their surroundings and make a huge village out of nature and things they found they they thought may come in handy later on. It showed how handy they were and how they used everything they could to survive and make their civilization a better places for their people to live.

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    1. Juliet, I have to disagree when you say that their ability to live off their surroundings contributes to the Aztecs being the better civilization. For example, The Mayan civilization had also been prominent in agriculture and their ability to utilize their land. Even though the region lacked gold and silver, they took advantage of the area’s many natural resources, including limestone (for construction), the volcanic rock obsidian (for tools and weapons) and salt.
      I don't think that particular argument could be used unless you can support that the way the Aztecs utilized they're surroundings was "better" than that of the other two civilizations.

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    2. I have to disagree with your statement as well. You’re focusing too much on the Spaniards. This is who the strongest tribe was before the Europeans found America. Not only that the Mayans had almost every resource that the Aztecs had as well. They were able to create pyramids and cities thanks to these resources. It is true that they conquered more land than the other tribes, but were they truly able to utilize it? Advancement doesn’t always mean having more land. It’s also how you improve that land as well.

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    3. The argument feels a little weak and unsupported. For example, you say that the Aztecs were smart after the Spaniards came but you should try and elaborate on these types of statements next time. You also mention how the Aztecs conquer a lot of land, but do these conquerings really make a civilization great? Greatness should be judged on quality of the empire in terms of science, fortune, stability, etc., rather than on the conquering of more and more land.

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    4. I have to disagree with you totally because your first statement is false. The Aztecs aren't the best American Civilization, its the Mayans, hands down. you can't beat the fact that they had the best form of written language, mathematics, and especially architecture. Architectural advances such as palaces, bridges, aqueducts, baths, astronomical observatories, and pyramids topped with temples and so much more that the Aztecs wouldn't have had if the Mayans influence hadn't spread. Especially Farming. If it wasn't for the architectural advancement of the aqueduct, farming wouldn't have been such a success, especially since the Aztec empire is so big, there would have been little to no food surplus for the Aztecs to live off of.

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  9. Century before Columbus's arrival to the New World, there existed 3 major civilizations of central america; the Inca, Maya, and Aztec. Although all of the civilizations were immense in size, power and prestige, the Incas were the greatest civilization due to their government, technology, communication and wealth.
    Firstly, the Incas were the greatest civilization because of their government. They established a very stable and strong central government which helped them to a great degree. The Incas have conquered Indians and sent leaders to govern over specific regions. The leader mostly all remain loyal to the Incas and this system of leaders helped to create a strong central government. Incan government also had strict laws on the people(not to the point of oppression of the people). One of these laws were taxes and the people paid taxes in labor which created a system of free labor for the government, which also reinforced the government itself. Every job would be for a specific purpose and the government would tell the Incan families their duties.
    Secondly, the Incas were the greatest empire because of their technology. To be a society that thrives, new and efficient technologies must be developed in order to survive. Incas had many technologies like new and improved irrigation systems. These agricultural advances were necessary because the Incas lived in the foothills of the Andes mountains. Agricultural technology is also vital because the Incas had to feed a population of more than 15 million. The Incans were expert farmers and developed the first freeze dry method of storing food. They basically froze foods and squeezed out any water to create a dehydrated product. This product could be eatable again after water is added and this process improved shelf life of foods greatly. The Incas also thought and developed a technique called terrace farming. Terrace farming is a technique where they created flat steps of the side of a mountain allowing for less erosion, more retained rainwater and flat land for crops. They also kept warehouses filled with excess food for times of famine. These new farming technologies shaped the Incas and allowed them to flourish.
    Thridly, the Incas had great communication within their empire. This characteristic allowed for the Incas to efficiently communicate with other people. A road system stretched throughout the Inca empire and allowed for travel to occur. This meant that important information that the chieftain wanted to send out could be relayed throughout the Inca empire. If the Incas were being attacked for example, the chieftain could also gather an army and send them through this intricate road system. The Incas also had no written language and relied on word of mouth to pass on messages. This internal communication within the empire strengthen it as a whole and it made the Incas a great empire.
    Fourthly, the Incas wealth also represented how the Incas were a great civilization. The Incas were huge on precious metals like gold and silver, although they also like precious jewels as well. The Incas were a rich empire and had a huge fortune. In fact, in 1532, when Atahualpa was captured, he offered to give the Spaniards a large room half filled with gold and twice as much of silver as gold as a ransom for freedom. The Spaniards accepted the precious metals but killed Atahualpa in 1533. When Spain melted all of the gold, it weighed 13,000 pounds of 22 karat gold and 26,000 pounds of silver. Incas mostly used gold and silver for jewelry, ornaments and decorating palaces. Atahualpa's throne was made of 15 karat gold that weighed approximately 183 pounds. There was much minerals in the region because the civilization was established on the Andes. Evidently, precious metals helped find the foundation for the Incan civilization and it made them that much greater.

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    1. I like how you put that the Incas were the first people to create dehydrated foods. Also, I never realized how much gold the ancient people had. I imagined that they would have some gold from rivers and the Earth's surface, but I never realized that the Incas would have 183 pounds of gold just for one tomb, not to mention 39,000 pounds more! It really speaks on how advanced the New World "savages" really are. Something that also speaks on the advancement of the Incas is the fact that they actually have a tax system. To be able to effectively collect taxes requires disciplined civilians, and a strong central government. However, I actually think that the Incas did have a writing system: the chains of knotted rope known as quipu. Additionally, it's odd when you think how the Incas had such efficient irrigation systems, yet European American tobacco quickly destroyed any soil it was planted in within a few years!

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  10. Like a star, the Mayan civilization burns brighter than the Aztecs or the Incas. Most of what historians know about the Mayans comes from what remains of their architecture and art, including stone carvings and inscriptions on their buildings and monuments. They were remarkably advanced scientifically, mathematically, artistically, in architecture, and in agriculture.
    Like a star, the Mayans stood out in the darkness. They were exceedingly advanced scientifically during that time period. They developed many concepts before their European counterparts. Such concepts and advancements included absolute zero, telepathy, “to be continued…” episodes, and post-rock, and irrigation. The Mayans were skilled astronomers who constantly followed the movements of the sun and the moon. They predicted eclipses, explained the movements of planets, and devised a sophisticated calendar of the solar year unlike the Incas.
    The Mayans were deeply religious, and worshiped various gods related to nature, including the gods of the sun, the moon, rain and corn. At the top of Mayan society were the kings, or "kuhul ajaw" (holy lords), who claimed to be related to gods and followed a hereditary succession. They were thought to serve as mediators between the gods and people on earth, and performed the elaborate religious ceremonies and rituals so important to the Mayan culture. Their priests developed a written language, which neither the Incas nor the Aztecs had developed. The Mayans also made paper from tree bark and wrote in books made from this paper, known as codices
    Like a star, the Mayan cities filled with palaces, bridges, aqueducts, baths, astronomical observatories, and pyramids topped with temples twinkled. With large quantities of limestone and flint available, plaster and cement were easily produced. This allowed the Mayans to build impressive temples, with stepped pyramids. In its glory, between the 3rd and 9th century CE, the Mayan empire boasted some fifty urban centers scattered throughout the Yucatán Peninsula, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras.
    Compared to others at the time, the art of the Mayans has been called the richest of the New World because of the great complexity of patterns and variety of media expressions. Another matchless feature of the Mayans was the use of colorful murals. Their ceramics were made in a large variety of forms and decorated with complex scenes. The Mayans also designed works of art from flint, bone and shell, along with making decorated cotton textiles.
    The Mayan civilization had also been prominent in agriculture and their ability to utilize their land. Even though the region lacked gold and silver, they took advantage of the area’s many natural resources, including limestone (for construction), the volcanic rock obsidian (for tools and weapons) and salt. They also developed an irrigation system.
    Like a star, the Mayan civilization shines through history. They were advanced scientifically and mathematically as they developed things such as the calendar and irrigation. This civilization created diverse artworks and was resourceful of their surroundings. They developed materials that were used for the building of their cities. The Mayans had usurped the other two civilizations by means of science, math, art, architecture, and agriculture. Therefore, the Mayans were the GRESTEST American civilization (pre-European influence).

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    1. If this were to have a title, it would be titled, "Shine bright like a Mayan". lol

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    2. Although the Mayans had an advanced cultural aspect, the practicality of the civilization itself was not "as bright" as the Incan, or even the Aztec civilization. The Mayans were not to be known as a people who communicated with other sectors of their jurisdiction, and it took long periods of time for news to travel by word of mouth from one area to another. Another thing both the Aztec and Incans did that the Mayans did not do is make a fully operational army.

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  11. Out of all the great civilizations of central and south America, perhaps the greatest of them all are the Incas. Due to their all-roundedness in the major categories that determine a civilizations' greatness: wealth, army and agriculture, the Incas surpass all other major civilizations. The Aztecs were a god-fearing people that took special joy in war. This lust for war made the Aztecs many enemies. The Incas, however had a capable army but also made peace with most of its surrounding empires and tribes. The Incas also have a vast supply of gold and other wealth, which they used to make some of the most complex structures found in South America, including a road system 18,000 miles in length, postal system, and the great city Machu Picchu. No other civilization had come close to making practical structures such as these. In agriculture, the Incans surpassed the Aztecs and Mayans as well. They were perhaps the first people to settle and grow major crops, such as potato, in South America. They had a complex irrigation system to water there crops as well. Based on the Incas way of making a safe, practical, and nourished civilization, the Incans should be considered the greatest American civilization

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    1. You are still missing the facts about the architectural advances and influences that the Mayans had spread over 1000km. The architectural advance such as aqueducts, that helped water the crops that the Incas wanted to grow. There are many key advancements from the mayans, that the Incas wouldn't be as advanced as they were.

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  12. The crown of "The Greatest American Civilization" would undoubtedly have to go to the Mayan civilization, due to their farming methods, advances in mathematics compared to other civilizations at the time and there art and architecture.
    The mayan's agriculture methods is what allowed them to prosper, without this necessity the Mayan civilization would never had existed. The mayan's used the agriculture method of permanent raised fields, terracing and forest gardens to feed their population, thus allowing them to develop other aspects that the mayans are best known for.
    The mayans used the base of twenty in their mathematical system but they also developed the concept of zero which allowed them to do complex (at that time) mathematics. The mayans also had a writing system called logographic which let them record important events.
    The mayan's built pyramids and had art in the form of stellas which portrayed the grace and accurate observation of the human body.
    These altogether are reasons for why the Mayans were "Greatest American Civilization,

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    1. Rob may I add that there calendar was used to help create to Gregorian Calendar, which is the calendar we use today. And also that the Mayan cities were filled with architectural advances such as palaces, bridges, aqueducts, baths, astronomical observatories, and pyramids topped with temples and so much more. And that no one in our time knows how they built those pyramids! It makes me wonder how long it took them to figure it out.

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  13. The best of the three American Civilizations, to me is the Mayans. the are the oldest known civilization, and to this day scholars are still today trying to find out when the Mayan civilization actually started. The Mayan's were mostly noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Mayan advances such as writing and the Mayan calendar did not originate with the Mayans. But the Mayan civilization completely developed them. The Mayan influence reach over 1000 kilometers from the Mayan capital. That's from there capital in Central America to the Bahamas. Now, these are some of the reasons why I think the Mayans are the Best American Civilization, and not counting the fact that they were the most influential to the new world than both of the other two civilizations!

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