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The Earth and Its Peoples: A Global History, Second Edition
Richard W. Bulliet, Pamela Kyle Crossley, Daniel R. Headrick, Steven W. Hirsch, Lyman L. Johnson, David Northrup
History WIRED

Chapter 12: Peoples and Civilizations of the Americas, 200-1500 C.E.



Mesoamerica Interactive Map
This map demonstrates migrations, trade routes, and the rise and fall of different cultures and civilizations over time.

MexicoConnect: Classic Period, 250-900 C.E.
This map covers both Teotihuacan and the Maya city states.

Central Mexico
This map of central Mexico includes the location of Teotihuacan.

General Map of Teotihuacan

Map of the Central Section of Teotihuacan

The Mayan Environment
This unique site offers several topographical maps that explore altitude, rainfall, and temperature in the Mayan homeland.

MexicoConnect: Postclassic Period, 900-1521 C.E.
This map shows the Aztec Empire and surrounding areas.

Growth of the Inca Empire
This site narrates the expansion of the Inca Empire from the thirteenth century through the sixteenth century.  It also provides a map that you must scroll down to find.

Map of Incan Road System

The Ancient Ohio Valley
This map shows the location of various Hopewell archaeological sites.


Mesoamerican Sites and Culture
This comprehensive site contains images of ruins and artwork from many Mesoamerican cultures and civilizations.

Mesoamerican Artifacts
See artifacts from many periods, such as an Aztec calendar or a Maya screen book.  Be sure to click on the next gallery at the bottom of the page.

Mesoamerican Writing
Explore the Aztec and Maya writing systems.

Archeology of Teotihuacan
A unique site that includes images and Quicktime movie clips of the ruins of this city.

Mayan Sites
This comprehensive site contains extensive photographs of Maya ruins from various abandoned cities.

Maya Photo Archive
This companion to the previous site includes images of artifacts, textiles, and the topography of the Maya homeland.

Mayan Art Pages
This extensive site includes images of Maya art and ruins at Copan, Honduras.

Virtual Palenque
Explore the ruins of this Maya city using Quicktime software.

Maya Calendar

Maya Mathematics

Toltec Sculpture

The Aztecs
This site includes several small images, including one of chinampas.

Anasazi Cultural Heritage Center
This comprehensive site contains images of ruins and artifacts from this North American culture.

Chaco Canyon Photos
Explore the ruins of this Anasazi center in the southwestern United States.

Chaco Canyon, San Juan Basin
This site offers panaromic views of the Anasazi center.

Chetro Ketl Great Kiva
Explore this ancient Anasazi worship building using Quicktime software.

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
Explore the ruins of this city that flourished in the Mississippi River valley in the twelfth century.

Mississippian and late historical period

South American Ancient Civilizations Center
This comprehensive site offers images of Moche, Chimu, and Inca ruins.

The Andes: A Photo Gallery
This site offers images of the various environmental zones in the Andes regions plus native vegetation and animals.

Moche Foods
Images of South American crops and animals.

Moche Art Objects

Chan Chan: Capital of the of the Kingdom of Chimur

Tiwanaku: A Photo Gallery

This site offers a few images of the Inca capital city.

Pisaq: A Photo Gallery
This site provides images of the ruins of this Inca city.

Machu Picchu: A Photo Gallery

Activity One:

This chapter covers a broad period of time and events in the history of the Americas.  In order to grasp fully the material, chronological perspective is needed.  Make a detailed timeline or chart that highlights major developments in this chapter.  You should model it after the chronological chart on page 299 of The Earth and Its Peoples (Second Edition).   You can also consult the timelines at Mexico Connect: Timeline Overview for Mesoamerica and the Inca Timeline for the Andes Region of South America.  Be sure that your timeline focuses on the years between 300 and 1500, and that it includes the periods when the following cultures and civilizations flourished: Teotihuacan, Toltecs, Aztecs, Maya, Moche, Chimu, Tiwanaku, Wari, Inca, Anasazi, Hopewell, Mississippi, and Cahokia.  For your own benefit, offer a description of each culture or civilization.  Make sure that your chart includes a description of their political, economic, and social organizations.

Activity Two:

A common misperception today is that these civilizations were "young" or "new" when Europeans first encountered them in the sixteenth century.  After reading this chapter and completing Activity One, you know that this is not true.  Various civilizations had risen and fallen before the rest of the world discovered the Americas.  Your timeline or chart should help you better understand how culture and traditions evolved in the Americas during this time period.  Civilizations during this time period were centered in Mesoamerica and the Andes region of South America.  Strong cultural traditions were appearing in the Mississippi River Valley and the Southwestern part of North America.  These civilizations and cultural traditions built upon a long and complex history in each region.  To illustrate this point, explore the evolution of Mesoamerican religion at Quetzalcoatl: The Man, The Myth, The Legend.  Be sure to use your timeline or chart to place the developments in proper chronological perspective.  When did Quetzalcoatl appear in Mesoamerican culture?  Why do you think so many groups adopted him as a god?  Does the worship of Quetzalcoatl suggest a common Mesoamerican view of their world and their place in it?  If so, describe that outlook.  Be sure to explain the role of religion in political organization.  For additional help in completing this task, you might want to consult Aztec Transformation of Central Mexico's Landscape and Mind (click the links under "Religion").

Activity Three:

A similar evolution of a large tradition can be seen in the Andes region of South America.  Review your timeline and chart for South America.  Analyze the artwork at Incan Pottery, paying special attention to when these artifacts were manufactured.  Can you observe a synthesis in style over time?  To observe how the Inca's inherited these traditions, read the essay at The Growth of an Empire.  Finally, read the essays at Inkan Religion and Andean Cosmology.  Describe the common world view of the Andes region by the time of the Incas.  Be sure to explain how religion influenced political organization.

Activity Four:

The cultural reach of both Mesoamerican and Andean civilizations extended beyond their geographical boundaries, but archaeologists are unsure of the extent.  Read the essay at The Americas (for visual sources to accompany this essay, see Cahokia Mounds).  Where is Cahokia?  Why does the author of this essay insist that it was influenced by Mesoamerican culture?  For another example read the essay at Chaco Canyon.  How does this author suggest that Anasazi culture might have been influenced by Mesoamerican culture?  If these authors are correct, explain how trade stemming from Mesoamerica shaped the development of other cultures in North America.