Aztec, Inca, and Maya Civilizations

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Inca Civilization
Essential Question
How were both European and
Native American cultures
changed after European
contact with the Inca?
SS6H1a: Describe the encounter and
consequences of the conflict between the Spanish
and the Incas and the roles of Pizarro and
Atahualpa.
Timeline
Incas
1200-1500 CE
1600 CE
0
Maya
300-900 CE
Aztecs
1100-1521 CE
The Incas
 Location: South America
(Andes Mountains) –
included parts of Peru,
Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia
and Argentina
 Time Frame: 1200 CE to
1500 CE
 Main City: Cuzco (in
present day Peru)
 At one time the empire
spread 2,500 miles
Religion
 The Sun God, Inti, was a very important god to
the Incas.
 They believed Inti was their parent
 Referred to themselves as children of the sun.
Roads & Hanging
Bridges
 The Inca built 19,000 miles of roads. They belonged to the
government. Permission was required to use the roads.
 Messengers: Men would be told or given a message and would
run to a “checkpoint” where they would pass the message along
to the next messenger. This was the first version of a relay.
 They also made hanging and pontoon bridges. Hanging bridges
were made from weaving the fibers of the maguey plant.
Inca Agriculture
 The Inca empire was
located in the Andes
mountains.
 The Incas cut terraces into
steep sides of mountains
to create more farmland – 
this kept soil from washing
away

 The Incas built irrigation
systems - channels
designed to carry water
from a mountain streams.
Important
crop – potato
Used the first
freeze-dried
process which
made it last
for years and
was easy to
store
Language
 The Inca did not have a written language
 Inca government officials recorded information on knotted
strings called quipus
 Each quipu had a main cord with several colored strings attached to it.
 Each color represented a different item
Llama, Llama
 The Incas never
invented the wheel, so
they had no wheeled
vehicles. They did not
have horses or cows.
 The llama was used
for transportation.
 It also provided the
Incas with wool and
food.
Machu Picchu
 Inca city located at
7,970 ft altitude on a
mountain ridge in Peru
 about 44 miles
northwest of Cuzco
 Machu Picchu is the
most preserved city of
the Inca Empire.
 Explorers rediscovered
it in 1911. It is often
referred to as "The Lost
City of the Incas."
Inca Empire Weakens
 The Incan ruler, Huyayna Capac
did not chose an heir before he
died in 1525.
 His sons fought to become the
new ruler.
 After 5 years of fighting, Atahualpa
became new Inca leader.
 But, the deadly conflict weakened
the empire just as Pizarro arrived…
Pizarro Conquers the Incas
 In 1531 Pizarro set sail with a small
army of 180 Spanish soldiers for
the Incan empire in search of gold.
 Pizarro and the Inca leader,
Atahualpa agreed to meet in a
courtyard .
 The Incas believed the Spanish
might be gods, so they did not
bring weapons.
 The Spanish ambushed them and
killed over 2,000 Incas.
The Ransom
 The Spanish captured Atahualpa and put
him in prison.
 Atahualpa promised to give the Spaniards
mounds of gold (ransom) if they freed
him.
 The Inca paid up and but Pizarro’s men
killed Atahualpa by strangulation in 1533.
The End of the Inca
 By 1535 Pizarro had
captured most of the Incan
empire and the capital
Cuzco.
 How did this happen so
fast?
 Already weakened by civil war
 Weapons (guns and cannons)
 Diseases (smallpox, measles, and
chicken pox)
 Horses (the Native Americans
were terrified of them)
The Inca under Spanish Rule
 The Incas suffered terribly under Spanish rule
 They could no longer practice their religion – were




forced to become Catholics
Spanish official punished Incas who rebelled
Terraces and irrigation canals fell apart
8 out of 10 Incas died, killed by over-work, lack of food
and disease
The Spanish melted down most of the treasure from the
Inca
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