Traditions and Encounters, AP Edition (Bentley), 5th Edition

Chapter 20: Worlds Apart: The Americas and Oceania

Chapter Outline

  1. States and empires in Mesoamerica and North America
    1. The Toltec and the Mexica
      1. Toltecs emerge in the ninth and tenth centuries after the collapse of Teotihuacan
        1. Established large state, powerful army mid-tenth to the mid-twelfth century
        2. Tula was the Toltec capital city and center of trade
        3. Maintained close relations with societies of the Gulf coast and the Maya
      2. Toltec decline after twelfth century
        1. Civil strife at Tula, beginning in 1125
        2. Nomadic invaders after 1175
      3. Arrival of the Mexica (or Aztecs) in central Mexico mid-thirteenth century
        1. Warriors and raiders
        2. Built capital city, Tenochtitlan (modern Mexico City), about 1345
        3. Developed productive chinampas style of agriculture
      4. Fifteenth century, Aztecs launched military campaigns against neighboring societies
        1. Conquered and colonized Oaxaco in southwestern Mexico
        2. Made alliance with Texcoco and Tlacopan
        3. Built an empire of twelve million people, most of Mesoamerica
      5. Controlled subject peoples with oppressive tribute obligations
        1. Empire had no bureaucracy or administration; local administrators enforced tributes
        2. Allies did not have standing army
        3. Tribute of 489 subject territories flowed into Tenochtitlan
    2. Mexica society
      1. Most information comes from Spanish sources, recorded after the conquest
      2. Mexica warriors were the elite at the top of a rigid social hierarchy
        1. Mostly from the Mexica aristocracy
        2. Enjoyed great wealth, honor, and privileges
      3. Mexica women had no public role, but were honored as mothers of warriors
        1. Mexica women active in commerce and crafts
        2. Primary purpose to bear children: women who died in childbirth celebrated
      4. Priests also among the Mexica elite
        1. Read omens, presided over rituals, monitored ritual calendar
        2. Advisers to Mexica rulers, occasionally became supreme rulers
      5. Most of the Mexica were either cultivators or slaves
        1. Cultivators worked on chinampas (small plots of reclaimed land) or on aristocrats' land
        2. Paid tribute and provided labor service for public works
        3. Large number of slaves who worked as domestic servants
      6. Artisans and merchants enjoyed prestige
        1. Artisans valued for skill work, especially luxury items
        2. Trade could be profitable, but also risky
    3. Mexica religion
      1. Mexica deities adopted from prior Mesoamerican cultures
        1. Tezcatlipoca
        2. Quetzalcóatl
      2. Ritual bloodletting common to all Mesoamericans
        1. Human sacrifice to Huitzilopochtli
        2. Large temple at the center of Tenochtitlan, thousands of skulls
    4. Peoples and societies of the north
      1. Pueblo and Navajo: large settled societies in American southwest
        1. Agriculture and irrigation
        2. By about 700 C.E., began to build stone and adobe buildings
      2. Iroquois peoples: an agricultural society in the eastern woodlands
        1. Five Iroquois nations emerged from Owasco society, 1400 C.E.
        2. Male/female roles
      3. Mound-building peoples in eastern North America
        1. Built enormous earthen mounds for ceremonies and burials
        2. Largest mound at Cahokia, Illinois
        3. Fifteen thousand to thirty-eight thousand people lived in Cahokia society during the twelfth century
        4. No written records: burial sites reveal existence of social classes and trade

  2. States and empires in Andean South America
    1. The coming of the Incas
      1. Kingdom of Chucuito dominated Andean South America after the twelfth century
        1. Cultivation of potatoes; herding of llamas and alpacas
        2. Traded with lower valleys; chewed coca leaves
      2. Chimu, powerful kingdom in the lowlands of Peru before the mid-fifteenth century
        1. Irrigation networks; cultivation of maize and sweet potatoes
        2. Capital city at Chanchan had massive brick buildings
      3. The Inca settled first around Lake Titicaca in the Andean highlands
        1. Ruler Pachacuti launched campaigns against neighbors, 1438
        2. Built a huge empire stretching four thousand kilometers from north to south
      4. Inca ruled as a military and administrative elite
        1. Use of quipu for record keeping
        2. Capital at Cuzco, which had as many as three hundred thousand people in the late fifteenth century
        3. Extensive road system linked north and south
        4. Official runners carried messages; spread of Quecha language
    2. Inca society and religion
      1. Trade limited
        1. Local barter in agricultural goods
        2. Fewer specialized crafts
      2. Inca society was also a hereditary aristocracy
        1. Chief ruler viewed as descended from the sun, owned everything on earth
        2. After death, mummified rulers became intermediaries with gods
        3. Aristocrats enjoyed fine food, embroidered clothes, and wore ear spools
        4. Priests led celibate and ascetic lives, very influential figures
      3. Peasants worked the land and gave over a portion of their produce to the state
        1. Besides supporting ruling classes, revenue also used for famine relief
        2. Peasants also provided heavy labor for public works
      4. Inca priests served the gods
        1. Venerated sun god called Inti
        2. Creator god, Viracocha
        3. Ritual sacrifices practiced, but not of humans
        4. Inca religion had a strong moral dimension: rewards and punishments

  3. The societies of Oceania
    1. The nomadic foragers of Australia
      1. Nomadic, foraging societies; did not take up agriculture
        1. Exchanged surplus food and small items during their seasonal migrations
        2. Peoples on north coast had limited trade with mariners of New Guinea
      2. Aboriginal culture and religious traditions
        1. Intense concern with immediate environments
        2. Stories and myths related to geographical features
    2. The development of Pacific Island society
      1. Trade between island groups such as Tonga, Samoa, and Fiji
      2. Distant islands more isolated, especially eastern Pacific
      3. Polynesian mariners took long voyages
        1. Settled Easter Island about 300 C.E.
        2. Reached west coast of South America
        3. Brought back sweet potato, new staple crop in Polynesia
        4. Settled Hawaiian Islands early centuries C.E.; also twelfth- and thirteenth-century voyages
      4. Population growth on all larger Pacific islands
        1. Result of diversified farming and fishing
        2. Hawaii may have had five hundred thousand people in the late eighteenth century
        3. On Easter Island, conflict and environmental degradation from overpopulation
      5. More complex social and political structures
        1. Sandeluer dynasty at Pohnpei in Carolina Islands, 1200-1600
        2. Workers became more specialized; distinct classes emerged
        3. Social classes: high chiefs, lesser chiefs, priests, commoners
      6. Powerful chiefs created centralized states in Tonga and Hawaii
        1. Ali'i nui: high chiefs of Hawaii
        2. Chiefs allocated lands, organized men into military forces
      7. In Polynesian religion, priests were intermediaries between gods and humans
        1. Gods of war and agriculture were common
        2. The marae Mahaiatea on Tahiti was a huge step pyramid for religious rituals
Traditions & Encounters, 5e
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