ch17 - Chapter 17 The Americas on the Eve of Invasion...

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Chapter 17 The Americas on the Eve of Invasion CHAPTER SUMMARY. American societies during the postclassic era remained isolated from other civilizations. The societies continued to show great diversity, but there were continuities. American civilizations were marked by elaborate cultural systems, highly developed agriculture, and large urban and political units. Columbus’ s mistaken designation of the inhabitants of the Americas as Indians implies a non-existent common identity. The great diversity of cultures requires concentration upon a few major civilizations, the great imperial states of Mesoamerica (central Mexico) and the Andes, plus a few other independently developing peoples. . Postclassic Mesoamerica, 1000-1500 C.E. . The collapse of Teotihuacan and the abandonment of Maya cities in the 8th century C.E. was followed by significant political and cultural changes. The nomadic Toltecs built a large empire centered in central Mexico. They established a capital at Tula about 968 and adopted many cultural features from sedentary peoples. Later peoples thought of the militaristic Toltecs as givers of civilization. The Aztecs organized an equally impressive successor state. The Toltec Heritage. The Toltecs created a large empire reaching beyond central Mexico. Around 1000 they extended their rule to Yucatan and the former Maya regions. Toltec commercial influence extended northward as far as the American southwest, and perhaps to Hopewell peoples of the Mississippi and Ohio valleys. Many cultural similarities exist, but no Mexican artifacts have been found. The Aztec Rise to Power. Northern nomadic invasions probably caused the collapse of the Toltec empire around 1150. The center of population and political power shifted to the valley of Mexico and its large chain of lakes. A dense population used the water for agriculture, fishing, and transportation. The region became the cultural heartland of postclassical Mexico. It was divided politically into many small and competing units. The militant Aztecs (or Mexica) migrated to the region during the early 14th century and initially served the indigenous inhabitants as allies or mercenaries. Around 1325 they founded the cities of Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco on lake islands. By 1434 the Aztecs had become the dominant regional power. The Aztec Social Contract. The Aztecs were transformed by the process of expansion and conquest from an association of clans to a stratified society under a powerful ruler. Central to the changes was Tlacaelel, an important official serving rulers between 1427 and 1480. The Aztecs developed a self-image as a people chosen to serve the gods. The long-present religious practice of human sacrifice was greatly expanded. The military class had a central role as suppliers of war captives for sacrifice. The rulers used sacrifice as an effective means political terror. By the rule of Moctezuma II the ruler, with civil and religious power, dominated the state. Religion and the Ideology of Conquest.
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This note was uploaded on 05/20/2010 for the course HISTORY World Civi taught by Professor N/a during the Spring '10 term at Open Uni..

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ch17 - Chapter 17 The Americas on the Eve of Invasion...

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