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11 - Peoples and Civilizations of Americas, 600 - 1500

11 - Peoples and Civilizations of Americas, 600 - 1500 -...

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CHAPTER 12 Peoples and Civilizations of the Americas, 200–1500 I0. Classic-Era Culture and Society in Mesoamerica, 200–900 A0. Teotihuacan 10. Teotihuacan was a large Mesoamerican city at the height of its power in 450–600 C . E . The city had a population of 125,000 to 200,000 inhabitants and was dominated by religious structures, including pyramids and temples where human sacrifice was carried out. 20. The growth of Teotihuacan was made possible by forced relocation of farm families to the city and by agricultural innovations including irrigation works and chinampas (“floating gardens”) that increased production and thus supported a larger population. 30. Apartment-like stone buildings housed commoners, including the artisans who made pottery and obsidian tools and weapons for export. The elite lived in separate residential compounds and controlled the state bureaucracy, tax collection, and commerce. 40. Teotihuacan appears to have been ruled by alliances of wealthy families rather than by kings. The military was used primarily to protect and expand long- distance trade and to ensure that farmers paid taxes or tribute to the elite. 50. Teotihuacan collapsed around 650 C . E . The collapse may have been caused by mismanagement of resources and conflict within the elite, or as a result of invasion. B0. The Maya 10. The Maya were a single culture living in modern Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, and southern Mexico, but they never formed a politically unified state. Various Maya kingdoms fought each other for regional dominance. 20. The Maya increased their agricultural productivity by draining swamps, building elevated fields and terraced fields, and by constructing irrigation systems. The Maya also managed forest resources in order to increase the production of desired products. 30. The largest Maya city-states dominated neighboring city-states and agricultural areas. Large city-states constructed impressive and beautifully decorated buildings and monuments by means of very simple technology—levers and stone tools. 40. The Maya believed that the cosmos consisted of three layers: the heavens, the human world, and the underworld. Temple architecture reflected this cosmology, and the rulers and elites served as priests to communicate with the residents of the two supernatural worlds. 50. Maya military forces fought for captives, not for territory. Elite captives were sacrificed, commoners enslaved. 60. Maya elite women participated in bloodletting rituals and other ceremonies, but rarely held political power. Non-elite women probably played an essential role in agricultural and textile production.
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70. The most notable Maya technological developments are the Maya calendar, mathematics, and the Maya writing system. 80. Most Maya city-states were abandoned or destroyed between 800 and 900 C .
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