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“What Did The Americas Look Like Before Columbus Arrived? Describe The Social, Political, Scientific, Agricultural, And Architectural Organisation, Weaknesses And Achievements Of Mesoamerica Prior To Contact With Europeans.

2521 words - 10 pages

Kyle Schachat563117HIST 3017 - Essay 1Prof. Mucha Musemwa24th April 2014"What did the Americas look like before Columbus arrived? Describe the social, political, scientific, agricultural, and architectural organisation, weaknesses and achievements of Mesoamerica prior to contact with Europeans. Focus on the Incas of Peru and the Aztecs of Mexico only."The South American region at the time of Christopher Columbus's arrival was home to a number of advanced societies that ruled over their respective lands for many years and flourished in many regards. These civilizations and subsequently their people, displayed many; social, political, architectural, scientific as well as agricultural advancements within their respective societies. The societies that I will be focusing on during the course of this essay will be that of the Aztec and Incan civilizations that developed in current day South and Central America. I will also demonstrate some of these civilizations achievements and weaknesses in due course.The first of the two Ancient civilizations that I will be discussing is that of the Aztec empire. The Aztecs were the first major civilization to rule the area of Central America. When the Aztec empire was discovered by the Spanish, There was an already established complex social, political and religious system with Tenochtitlan as their capital city. The strong alliance in Central Mexico that formed in 1428, known as the 'triple alliance' allowed the Aztecs to consolidate their power within the valley of Mexico and subsequently Mesoamerica. The combined forces of Tenochtitlan, Texcoco and the Tlacopan formed a strong military and economic alliance that became the unstoppable driving force behind expansion and control of the region. These groups agreed not to engage in war against one another and to cooperate in wars of conquest against other societies' within Central Mexico and by the time of the Spaniards arrival, few groups of resistance still remained. The city of Texcoco was the senior partner in age and sophistication but it was the Tenochtitlan civilization that quickly established itself as the dominant partner in terms of its militaristic, material as well as ideological standing within Aztec society. It is clear that at the time of Columbus's arrival in the Central American region that the Aztecs were established in a custom of imperial domination in their control of the region. They waged war on other states to win the tribute and to capture prisoners for ritual sacrifice. It was through this militaristic approach, that the Aztec social classes began to form. In Aztec society, warriors, priests, and the nobility were at the top of the Aztecan social hierarchy. As a result of the emphasis on war and the rewards of victorious conquests, the nobility, that was mainly a class of warriors gained wealth in land and subsequent tribute from the conquered peoples. Some of the wealth accumulated was passed on as patronage to subordinates and lower...

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