The ancient Mayans, who lived in parts of present-day Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, created one of the most complex and advanced civilizations in the Western Hemisphere. The Mayans accomplished many remarkable and influential achievements, most notably, in art, astronomy, and engineering. The achievements of the Mayans influenced the cultures around them and are still influential today. The Mayans created amazingly sophisticated works of art.
The Aztec Temples The Aztecs are just one of the many best-known groups that make up Mexico's history and heritage. The Aztecs are best known for their magnificent temples, like the Egyptian pyramids. There are several temples that are well-known, and these temples are hot spots for tourists in Mexico. These temples were called Teocalli, God houses, by the Mexican people of the empire.
The Aztec society had a small political system in placed, the senate or the city council “elected” the emperor who had absolute power and control over the empire. Since the government was based on hereditary rule, the senate had little to no control or preference over who would be emperor. Even though the senate could attempt to make decisions, in the end the emperor had the final
About 1250 AD when the Aztecs finally settled and created Teotihuacan, the great city started to grow. It gained so much power that it was the most powerful city in the whole empire. The Aztecs were racing to the height of their success and knowledge. They developed new concepts and number systems. They advanced in Math, Humanities, Science, Compulsory education and Agriculture.
The Maya civilisation was one of the most superior indigenous societies of Mesoamerica (a term used to describe Mexico and Central America before the 16th century Spanish conquest). It is believed that the Mayan peoples began to settle in the Yucatan area of what is now known as Mexico between 2600 BC and 1800 BC. Their religion was based on a pantheon of nature gods, including those of the Sun, the Moon, rain, and corn. A priestly class were responsible for an elaborate rotation of rituals and ceremonies. Their beliefs are formed on the idea that virtually everything in the world contains sacredness and life was seen as a recurrent cycle.
Almost hidden away in LACMA’s Art of the Ancient Americas exhibit, among the intricate and sophisticated works of art from the ancient civilizations of Mexico and South America, is a small unassuming figure of a prominent Aztec deity – Xipe Totec. Xipe Totec is both god of spring and vegetation, as well as the patron of goldsmiths (Britannica). The Xipe Totec stone sculpture at LACMA stands at twenty-five inches high and ten inches wide and is carved from basalt by an Aztec artist from the Basin of Mexico around 1400-1521 (LACMA). Even thought the figure may seem modest at first glance, upon closer inspection the viewer can see a gruesome story quietly being told through exquisite Aztec sculpture.
Tikal is a city “located in the north of the Petén region of Guatemala, [and] was a major city which flourished between 300 and 850 CE”(Cartwright). While the city is located on ground level, the urban planning of Tikal shows much forethought as it “consists of nine different plazas and courts connected by causeways and ramps and has, in all, over 3,000 structures” (Cartwright). The towering structures are mammoth in size, but are given room to breath because “the buildings are spread over some 15 square kilometres, and so the city was relatively low in density”(Cartwright). Though the Maya and the Inca practiced different religions, they both had animal worship and reverence through art. The religious aspects of mayan culture is easily seen in the architecture of the great city as many stones are inscribed with messages describing or paying homage to their gods (the Maya had a written language).
Creation stories have profound effects on humans. Mesopotamia’s “The Gilgamesh Epic”, Egypt’s “Hymn to the Nile-Documents”, and Mesoamerica’s Mayan and Aztec creation stories demonstrate significant relationships within society, whether that is between humans and nature or humans and the “god(s).” Mesopotamia was the first primordial, and an influential cradle of civilization with prominent relationships between humans and nature and humans and their gods.
But soon the Spanish came over and that all came to an end. Along with the Spanish came foreign disease that decimated both populations. When the Spanish came into contact with these civilizations, they tried to spread their religion, Catholicism. In the process of the Spaniards trying to conquer the Aztecs and the Incas, both Cortés and Pizarro took the leaders, Motecuhzoma and Atahuallpa, hostage. Both Motecuhzoma and Atahuallpa offered a large quantity of treasures in hopes of being released but the Spaniards took the treasures and did not release them.
Aztec Empire The Aztecs were a great Empire that lasted approximately 200 years. They entered the Valley of Mexico from North and founded their capital in the center of a lake. Their capital was called Tenochtitlan, and it was founded in 1325. In 1428 a Triple Alliance was formed with other two cities, Texcoco and Tlacopan, consolidating what we now call, the Great Aztec Empire.
Have you ever seen ancient ruins before? The Olmec ruins may be one of the best to visit! These ancient ruins are located in southern Mexico and into Guatemala, specifically between the coordinates of 16˚N and 91˚E. This ancient civilization was unbelievably artistic, making unique sculptures of heads and masks. An interesting mystery today is their name, Olmec, which means, “Rubber People.”
Tenochtitlán was the capital city of the Aztec civilization. It was founded in AD 1325 by the Mexica people. This city was built on a cluster of small natural islands on Lake Texcoco in the Valley of Mexico. The small island was gradually enlarged as Tenochtitlán grew. It became one of the largest and most powerful cities in Mesoamerica.
Isolation from foreigners benefits a society. Three empires that benefited from isolation were the Mayan Empire, the Aztec Empire, and the Inca Empire. These three empires stood strong and flourish alone without anyone to rely on. The Mayan Empire was the empire that had the longest time span of the three empires.