Maya, Aztec and Inca
Horray notes! 
Mayan Civilization
• Located in Southern Mexico and northern
Central America
Mayan Ruin
Mayan Ruin
Mayan Ruin
Mayan Ruin
Mayan Writing
• First in this region to fully develop a
system of writing
– Used pictures to represent words (called
Mayan Religion
• Mayans believed in sacrificing humans in
order to please the gods
• Many aspects of the Mayan religion is still
Where are they now?
• About 850 AD the Mayans deserted the
cities and scattered across the land
– The reason is unknown
Where are they now?
• Mayans and their descendants still inhabit
the area with distinctive customs and
– Most have adopted Roman Catholicism
• Located in central Mexico and peaked
between 1300 and 1500 AD
• Aztecs had slaves, but they became this to
pay a debt and could earn their freedom
• Had no system of writing
• Practiced human sacrifice
– Took it to an extreme. It was reported that
over the course of 4 days, they sacrificed
84,400 prisoners
– Reports have also been made of cannibalism
by the Aztecs
Fall of the Aztecs
• The Spanish tried expanding their territory
by finding land for a new colony (and gold)
– The men sent on these missions were called
Fall of the Aztecs
• The Spanish- led by Hernan Cortez- found
the Aztecs and fought to take their capital,
– The fight lasted two years and finally ended
with a Spanish victory after allying themselves
with the other enemies of the Aztecs
Fall of the Aztecs
• The ruler of the Aztecs during this time
was called Montezuma and thought Cortez
was a god
Aztec Legacy
• Cortez won the battle
• Mexico City is built on the site of the Aztec
capital, Tenochtitlan
• After the Spanish took over the city,
European diseases (such as smallpox)
began to devastate the native population
• Also helped the Spanish take the fortified
• It is estimated that about 80% of the native
population died from European diseases in
60 years
• Led to intermarrying and the creation of a
high mestizo population (mixture of
indigenous and European Spanish
• At their peak (during 1400-1500 AD), the
empire covered parts of present day Peru,
Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina
• Had developed a road system- over
12,000 miles for pedestrians
• Developed terrace farming and irrigation
Inca Civilization
Incan Empire
Fall of the Incas
• Spanish conquistador, Francisco Pizarro,
noticed the empire and set out to conquer
it in 1532 (he wanted gold)
Fall of the Incas
• At that time, there was a civil war over who
would be the Inca leader and smallpox
was spreading down from central America
– This weakened their defenses
Fall of the Incas
• Pizarro only had 180 men, 27 horses and
1 cannon
• Atahualpa won the civil war and became
the Incan ruler
Fall of the Incas
• Atahualpa invited Pizarro to meet with him.
• Pizarro asked Atahualpa to convert to
Christianity and handed him a Bible.
• It is unclear what happened next, but
Atahualpa offended Pizarro
Fall of the Incas
• Pizarro captured Atahualpa who then
offered him enough gold to fill the room he
was imprisoned in, and twice that amount
in silver, in order to be freed
• The Incas fulfilled the ransom, but Pizarro
killed Atahualpa ending the Incan empire
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