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

Chapter 6: Early Societies in the Americas and Oceania

Interactive Map Quiz


Map A. Andean South America

The Incan Empire in Andean South America flourished from 1200 until 1533, when the last Incan emperor was defeated and killed by Francisco Pizarro. From its earliest period, the empire was always expanding. The height of the empire's expansion was reached under the emperor Pachacuti, who often gave those he conquered two options: societies could either join the empire, or they would be completely destroyed. A large part of the success of the massive territorial gains was due to the substantial Incan army. Military service was mandatory for the majority of the male population, including nobles. Thus, the armies were ever-expanding, and this enabled the emperors to send out the warriors further and further into new territory. The Incas also had a large system of highways that aided expansion, trade, and travel throughout the empire.
The fall of the empire came in the sixteenth century, when Spanish explorers arrived in the region. Many Incan warriors were killed either in battle with the new arrivals or from the diseases that they became exposed to for the first time. At this crucial time, the Incan heirs to the empire were fighting amongst themselves in a civil war, which also weakened the civilization. Into this situation Francisco Pizarro arrived, and immediately he set out to negotiate with Atahualpa, the emperor. The Incans were given the chance to convert to Christianity; Atahualpa rejected the offer, and was promptly captured and executed by Pizarro in August of 1533. After this incident the empire fell into a decline; disease and famine swept throughout the region, decimating what was left of the Incan Empire and people.

What routes did human migrants use to reach Australia, New Guinea, and North and South America?


Why did the peoples' ways of living in New Guinea and Australia diverge? How much did each depend on agriculture, fishing, and foraging?


Describe the structure of authority in the Olmec and Mayan societies. What values shaped the authority structures in each society?


How important was agriculture in the settling and growth of different peoples and societies of Australia, Oceania, South America and Central America? How significant was agriculture in the growth and survival of more complex societies like the Olmec, Maya, and Teotihuacan in Mesoamerica?

Traditions & Encounters, 5e
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