Early Mesoamerican Culture

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The people of the Americas all had unique characteristics because of their environment. There were the Mayas, the Incas, the Aztecs, and the Anasazi. The Maya were a tribe far to the East of Mexico. They had a polytheistic religion which had the same characteristics of gods that the nearby cultures had. There was a supreme god, Itzama, and the rest of gods were ranked in importance. Most gods had human characteristics and needed human sacrifices to propitiate them. It is said that rivalry among the Mayan city-states often involved bloody fights. Painting show a society bent on war and using captives as sacrifices. At the top of the society was a ruler and around the ruler were a class of aristocrats whose wealth was determined by ownership of land. Eventually many aristocrats became priests and the rest turned into a middle class. The rest of the population were farmers. Their ruler was of great importance and was able to construct a palace using 30,000 people. The Aztecs lived in the valley of Mexico. They too had a polytheistic religion. Some of their gods were nature deities and other were patron deities. They had a supreme god, but he wasn’t as important compared to others. They also needed human sacrifice. The Aztecs had a monarch that had religious and secular powers. Around was the royal family who elects the next monarch. To advise him into doing the right thing were a small group of lords headed by a prime minister who was at the top of the government and a bureaucracy. Their power was limited past the capital. All that was left were tax collectors who got tribute from the people. The government’s succession was hereditary. The noble families were either in the bureaucracy, in the military, or became a priest. The rest of the population was indentured workers, slaves, and commoners. The Inkas were a tribe in South America. They had three main gods, the
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