Chapter 11 - Peoples and Civilizations of the Americas 600-1500 Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Chapter 11 - Peoples and Civilizations of the Americas 600-1500 Deck (26)


A powerful city-state in central Mexico (100 BCE - 750 C.E) Its population was about 150,000 at its peak in 600



Raised fields constructed along lake-shores in Mesoamerica to increase agricultural yields



Mesoamerican civilation concentrated in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula and in Guatemala and Honduras but never unified into a single empire. Major contributions were in mathematics, astronomy, and development of the calendar.


The Great Plaza at Tikal

The impressive architectural and artistic achievements of the classic-era Maya are still visible in the ruins of Tikal, in modern Guatemala. Maya centers provided a dramatic setting for the rituals that dominated public life. Construction of Tikal began before 150 BCE.; the city was abandoned about 900 CE. A ball court and residences for the elite were part of the Great Plaza.


The Mesoamerican Ball Game

From Guatemala to Arizona, archaeologists have found evidence of an ancient ball game played with a solid rubber ball on slope-sided courts shaped like a capital T. Among the Maya the game was associated with a creation myth and thus had deep religious meaning. Evidence suggests that some players were sacrificed. In this scene from a ceramic jar, players wearing elaborate ritual clothing—which includes heavy, protective pads around the chest and waist—play with a ball much larger than the ball actually used in such games. Some representations show balls drawn to suggest a human head.



Powerful postclassic empire in central Mexico (900–1175 C.E.). It influenced much of Mesoamerica. Aztecs claimed ties to this earlier civilization.



An ethnic state in ancient Mesoamerica, the common political building block of that region.


Costumes of Aztec Warriors

In Mesoamerican warfare individual warriors sought to gain prestige and improve their status by taking captives. An Amerindian artist employed by the Franciscans produced this illustration in the sixteenth century Codex Mendoza. It shows the Aztecs’ use of distinctive costumes to acknowledge the prowess of warriors. The individual on the bottom right shown without a weapon was a military leader. As was commonkneeling before the victors. The in Mesoamerican illustrations of military conflict, the captives, held by their hair, are shown kneeling before the victors



A group of up to a hundred families that served as a social building block of an altepeti in ancient Mesoamerica



Capital of the Aztec Empire, located on an island in Lake Texcoco. Its population was about 150,000 on the eve of Spanish conquest. Mexico City was constructed on its ruins.



Also known as Mexica, the Aztecs created a powerful empire in central Mexico (1325–1521 C.E.). They forced defeated peoples to provide goods and labor as a tax.


tribute system

A system in which defeated peoples were forced to pay a tax in the form of goods and labor. This forced transfer of food, cloth, and other goods subsidized the development of large cities. An important component of the Aztec and Inca economies.


Culture Areas of North America

In each of the large ecological regions of North America, native peoples evolved distinctive cultures and technologies. Here the Anasazi of the arid southwest and the mound-building cultures of the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys are highlighted.


Mesa Verde Cliff Dwelling

Located in southern Colorado, the Anasazi cliff dwellings of the Mesa Verde region hosted a population of about 7,000 in 1250 c.e. The construction of housing complexes and religious buildings in the area’s large caves was prompted by increased warfare in the region.



Important culture of what is now the southwest United States (700–1300 C.E.). Centered on Chaco Canyon in New Mexico and Mesa Verde in colorado, the Anasazi culture built multistory residences and worshiped in subterranean buildings called kivas.



Form of political organization with rule by a hereditary leader who held power over a collection of villages and towns. Less powerful than kingdoms and empires, chiefdoms were based on gift giving and commercial links.


Andean Civilizations, 200 BCE.–1532 CE.

In response to environmental challenges posed by an arid coastal plain and high interior mountain ranges, Andean peoples made complex social and technological adaptations. Irrigation systems, the domestication of the llama, metallurgy, and shared labor obligations helped provide a firm economic foundation for powerful, centralized states. In 1532 the Inca Empire’s vast territory stretched from modern Chile in the south to Colombia in the north.



Andean lineage group or kin-based community.



Andean labor system based on shared obligations to help kinsmen and work on behalf of the ruler and religious organizations.


Moche Warrior

The Moche of ancient Peru were among the most accomplished ceramic artists of the Americas. Moche potters produced representations of godsand spirits, scenes of daily life, and portrait vases of important people. This warrior is armed with a mace, shield, and protective helmet.



Civilization of north coast of Peru (200–700 C.E.). An important Andean civilization that built extensive irrigation networks as well as impressive urban centers dominated by brick temples.



Andean civilization culturally linked to Tiwanaku, perhaps beginning as a colony of Tiwanaku.



Name of capital city and empire centered on the region near Lake Titicaca in modern Bolivia (375–1000 C.E.).



Largest and most powerful Andean empire. Controlled the Pacific coast of South America from Ecuador to Chile from its capital of Cuzco.


Inca Tunic

Andean weavers produced beautiful textiles from cotton and from the wool of llamas and alpacas. The Inca inherited this rich craft tradition and produced some of the world’s most remarkable textiles. The quality and design of each garment indicated the weaver’s rank and power in this society. This tunic was an outer garment for a powerful male.



System of knotted colored cords used by pre-literate Andean peoples to transmit information.