Ch 20, Section 3 and Ch 21, Section 1 Europe’s Colonies in the Americas and Early Civilizations Thousands of years ago nomadic people migrated from Asia into N. America. During the last Ice Age there was a land bridge from Asia to Alaska. They may have crossed 50K years ago. The Mayans lived in the dense forests of Central America. Between 300-900AD their civ reached its peak. The centers of Mayan cities were pyramidtemples to honor the gods. They had hieroglyphics (glyphs or picture writing), an accurate calendar and complex math (including “zero”). The Aztecs moved to the central plateau of Mexico in 1200AD, absorbing Mayan culture. They learned to build pyramids. They settled in Tenochtitlan and started conquest. They captured slaves and sacrificed them to their gods for success in war. They were hated as a result. The Inca Empire- Built vast empire in the fertile valleys of the Andes Mountains. It stretched 2500 miles across Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Chile. • They used irrigation, fertilizers and terrace farming. The royal family claimed descent from the Sun God. The center of worship was the Temple of the Sun at Cuzco. Gold covered its walls. Hernan Cortes landed in Mexico in 1519. With 600 men he marched on Tenochtitlan, and within 2 years destroyed the Aztec empire. Moctezuma was reluctant to fight. Smallpox and other diseases killed thousands of Aztecs. Horses and guns accomplished the rest. Francisco Pizarro heard rumors of great wealth and landed in Peru in 1532. Atahualpa ruled over a weakened empire. Disease, muskets and horses proved devastating. Pizarro captured Atahualpa and extracted a room full of gold and treasure for his release. But when this was done, he murdered him anyway. Spain and Portugal drew a line dividing the lands that they could claim at the Treaty of Tordesillas. Hundreds of explorers followed Columbus looking for gold and a sea route to Asia. They mapped out vast areas of the Americas. Mercantilism- the belief that colonies were meant to enrich the mother country in charge of them. Colonies supplied nations with raw materials and served as a market for goods. The Encomienda System gave a Spanish settler the right to demand taxes or labor from natives. The Spanish settler was to pay for labor, look after the health of the workers, and teach them Christianity.