Incas And Aztecs: A Comparative Analysis

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The 16th century was a period of cultural exchange and adaptation. Christopher Columbus 's voyage in 1492 would forever change the world, combining various cultures and ethnicities and opening global trade. Spain and Portugal sent conquistadors and missionaries to this "New World" for wealth and conversion of the inferior natives to Christianity. The conventional belief is that the Spaniards were superior to the Native Americans living in the new world, but in reality societies such as the Incas and Aztecs showed remarkable complexity. These two worlds collided to create a new distinct society. Traditional Iberian beliefs combined with Native American beliefs to create a separate religion, social system, and culture. The Ethnocide of the Muslims…show more content…
In Spain hierarchy had been based off wealth and political or social standing. Monarchs and church officials were at the top, non-Christians were at the bottom. In the Americas, power was usually given to the chiefs of the tribe and religious leaders, the people at the bottom were often slaves taken captive after tribal wars. The complexity of the social systems increased tremendously with the miscegenation of the various ethnicities the new contacts brought together. Originally it had benefitted Europeans to marry a local noble women, but when the mestizos, people of mixed Indian and European blood, became so common they threatened to overpower the Spaniards, the crown developed a new social system called the sociedad de castas. The hierarchy was now based on heritage along with wealth and political power. Those with more Spanish blood were higher in social status, those without faced discrimination.Through the generations, however, the various combination of European, African, and Native American became so complex it was almost impossible to categorize everyone and this system collapsed. The contrast between Europe and American ethnicities helped to build a new sense of identity. The castas were unlike any others in the world. This creation of a self identity along with a weakening of government control, helped fuel the popular unrest and the revolutions for
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