Chapter Essay

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11 Peoples and Civilizations of the Americas (600-1450)-1500) I. Classic-Era Culture and Society in Mesoamerica (600-900) A. Introduction 1. They had no region wide political integration but were together in material culture, practices and religious beliefs. 2. Advances in astronomy/mathematics, improved agricultural productivity and made new forms of political organization. 3. Population grew, long-distance trading, and social hierarchies became more complex. 4. Political and cultural innovations did not depend on new technologies. The power of religious and political leaders changed. B. Teotihuacan 1. Largest city in America at this time. 2. People recognized and worshipped many gods/lesser spirits. i. Religious architecture such as enormous pyramids. ii. Like the Olmecs, they practiced human sacrifice. 3. There is a rapid growth of urban population. i. Farm families relocate to the urban core. 4. 2/3 of the city retains dependence on agriculture. i. Elites start using labor resources to drain swamps, construct irrigation and terraces and mainly to construct chinampas. a. Permitted year round agriculture so it played a crucial role in sustaining the region's growing population. 5. The two largest craft groups made pottery and obsidian tools which were the two most important things for long distance trading. 6. The city’s role as a religious and commercial power had both a diving approval of and a material basis for growing wealth and status. i. Members of the elite controlled the state bureaucracy, tax collection and commerce. 7. There was no single ruler with overarching political power. i. Were ruled by alliances among elite families or by weak kings who were controlled by the powerful families. ii. Religious preeminence without subordinating its political

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