Major Indian Civilizations - Some archaeologists and anthropologists use the term "nuclear" America. "Nuclear," a common misconception among most individuals including weapons of mass destruction, what is truly intended for the meaning is the ancient cultural centers of America. The term nuclear America refers to the areas of the three great Indian civilizations - the Maya, the Aztec, and the Inca.
Nuclear America included two areas. One area was in the part of Middle America that today makes up the southern half of Mexico and northern Central America. The other area covered most of the Andes Mountains on the west coast of South America. Find the two areas on the map.
The Maya - The Maya once ruled the lands in Middle America now make up the Yucatan Peninsula, Guatemala, Belize, and the western parts of Honduras and El Salvador. The earliest traces of a Maya village have been dated at 2500 BC By around AD 250, the Maya had created a civilization with cities and temples as well as active trade and productive farms in the rain forests of the tropical lowlands.
The Aztecs - The Aztecs first settled in the area of Middle America that is now Mexico City about AD 1200, a little over 300 years before the Spanish conquest. They built a great city called Tenochtitlan and carried on active trade with the Maya and other Indian groups. Aztec agriculture supported a very large population. The Aztecs had huge armies that conducted wars of conquest.
The Incas - The largest and richest empire in nuclear America was created by the Incas in the fifteenth century. An empire is all the territories and people under the control of a powerful nation. The Inca Empire extended from the southern part of the present South American country of Colombia to northern Chile and Argentina, a distance of over 3,000 miles (4,827 km). That empire included the entire central part of the Andes region and the nearby coastal parts of Peru.