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Monday, January 30, 2017

Imperialism and Nationalism History

Imperialism and Nationalism
To keep their factories producing, the industrialized countries needed many kinds of raw materials, such as wood and rubber. To get these materials, European countries began colonies in Africa and Asia. As time passed, the Europeans took control of more lands in the two continents to protect their trading interests. Soon the European countries began to compete with one another to add more lands to their colonial empires. Many people in Asia and Africa came under the rule of European governments. Such empire building is called imperialism.

As imperialism grew, so did another idea nationalism.
Nationalism is loyalty to one's nation or country, based on religious or cultural ties. In the 1800s, nationalism brought some people together, but it also created many conflicts.

European leaders began to build up their nations' armies and create alliances with each other.

The alliances were not strong enough to keep peace in Europe, however. When Archduke Francis Ferdinand, the future ruler of Austria-Hungary, was assassinated on June 28,1914, it started what is known as World War I.

What effect did imperialism and nationalism have on the world's people?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Worlds Collide History

Worlds Collide
Increasing contact between cultures brought new trade goods and new ways of thinking to many peoples. This contact, however, also brought conflict.

One important conflict arose between the people of Europe and the Seljuk (SELjook) Turks, a Muslim people from southwestern Asia. Even though western Europe was no longer part of a single empire, most Europeans still felt connected to one another. They shared the same religion Christianity. Beginning in 1095, Christian Europeans joined together to fight the Muslim Seljuk Turks, who had captured the city of Jerusalem. This city was holy to Christians, Muslims, and Jews. The battles that were fought to free Jerusalem from Muslim control are known as the crusades.

The crusades caused much loss of life for both Christians and Muslims. Yet they also brought the two peoples closer together. During the crusades the Christians and the Muslims learned about each other's ways of life and resources. Europeans returned from the crusades with spices, silks, and other goods from Asia. A demand for these goods developed, and trade began between Europe and Asia.

As trade continued, Europeans began to look for new water routes to Asia. Christopher Columbus was sure that he could reach Asia by sailing west across the Atlantic Ocean. On October 12,1492, he landed on the island of San Salvador in the Caribbean Sea. Columbus believed that he had reached the Indies, in Asia, so he called the island's people Indians. Columbus made three more trips, never realizing that he had reached the Americas.

After Columbus's voyages several other Europeans traveled to, explored, and settled in the Americas. The Europeans and the native peoples introduced each other to new foods, animals, ideas, and ways of doing things. For example, the Europeans learned about corn, beans, and potatoes.

The peoples of the Americas saw cattle and horses for the first time. Today, historians call the movement of people, animals, plants, and ideas between Europe and the Americas the Columbian exchange.

In the Americas some Europeans created huge farms called plantations. Others started gold and silver mines. Plantation and mine owners turned to the continent of Africa for the many workers they needed. Africans were enslaved and brought to the Americas to work.

Slavery had long been known in Africa. Enemies captured in wars between rival African peoples were often enslaved. They usually regained their freedom at a later time. Slavery in the Americas was different. Slaves in America were thought of as property, to be bought and sold as their owners wished. A slave in the Americas had little hope of ever becoming free.

The sale of human life was part of a system called the triangle trade. First, traders sailed from Europe to Africa with iron, cloth, guns, and liquor. In Africa the traders exchanged these goods for enslaved people. Next, during what is sometimes called the Middle Passage, the enslaved people were carried across the Atlantic to the Americas. There the traders sold the Africans for products from the plantations. The traders took these goods back to Europe, completing the triangle.

In time many people in the Americas began to feel that slavery was cruel and wrong. However, it was not until the 1860s that slavery ended in much of the Americas.

How did European settlement in the Americas affect the peoples of Africa?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

What way were the American and the French Revolution a like ?

A Call for Freedom
As people moved from place to place, their ways of thinking changed. The thoughts of many people began to focus on freedom.

In Britain in 1215, a group of nobles presented King John with a list of 63 demands and forced him to sign it. This document came to be called the Magna Carta, or "Great Charter." By signing it, King John agreed that he, too, had to obey the laws of the land. The Magna Carta was a first step in moving power from rulers to citizens.

By the 1700s, a new time of thought called the Enlightenment was changing people's ideas about art, science, religion, and law. People began to believe that governments should protect the rights of individuals.

In the British colonies in North America, Thomas Jefferson was well aware of the ideas of the Enlightenment. Jefferson and other colonists wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1776. In this document the colonists declared themselves independent of Britain. The British, they felt, did not care about the rights of the American colonists.

To win independence from Britain, the colonists fought a long war. That war is remembered as the American Revolution. In 1781 the former British colonies in North America became the United States of America. The first United States President, George Washington, was elected in 1789. The creation of the United States led other peoples to dream of greater freedom.

In France, many people suffered under the French system of government. Peasants and workers paid heavy taxes but had little voice in how the government was run. In 1789 the middle class of French society created its own government body called the National Assembly. Soon the French government was overthrown. By 1793 the monarch, Louis (LOOee) XVI, and Queen Marie Antoinette (an»twuh«NET) had been executed. France had become a republic.

By 1800, however, France was once again controlled by a single person the leader of the French army, Napoleon Bonaparte.

In the early 1800s the desire for freedom had spread to Mexico, Central America, and South America. People in these places fought for independence from their
European rulers. By 1830 many independent countries had formed in these regions.

In what way were the American Revolution and the French Revolution alike?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

History Government, and Economy (A World of Trade)

History Government, and Economy
During the centuries that followed the Roman Empire, people became more aware of other peoples and other places. Peoples who lived far from each other began trading and affected each other's ways of life.

A World of Trade
Between 500 and 1500, empires based on trade grew up around the world. You have read that the Roman Empire split into two parts. The western part fell to Germanic invaders. In contrast, the eastern part became the Byzantine (BIH'Zubin*teen) Empire, beginning in the 500s. Its capital, Constantinople, became a crossroads for travel, trade, and the exchange of technology and ideas.

In the 600s another empire the Muslim Empire rose in southwestern Asia. This empire, which was based on the religion of Islam, grew to include Egypt and Persia as well as ancient Arabia.

Farther east in Asia lay still another large empire, the Mongol Empire. Under the leadership of Genghis Khan, the Mongol people conquered China in the 1200s. Genghis Khan's sons and grandsons continued to claim more lands. In just 50 years the Mongol Empire spread across much of Asia. The European explorer Marco Polo visited China during the time of Mongol control. After Polo's return to Europe, reports of his travels caused much interest in China. Soon European merchants began searching for ways to trade with Asia.

The people of Africa, too, took part in world trade and empire building. Between the years 700 and 1500, powerful kingdoms based on trade developed iin western Africa.
The Ghana (GAH»nuh) Empire ruled over many peoples of western Africa. This empire was followed by the Mali Empire, which, in turn, was replaced by the Songhay (SAWNG»hy) Empire. Contact with the Muslim Empire brought many changes to the peoples of western Africa, including the introduction of Islam.

Meanwhile, unknown to the peoples of Asia, Africa, and Europe, the Aztecs and the Incas were conquering their neighbors to build empires in the Americas. All through the Aztec Empire and the Inca Empire, native peoples of the Americas traded goods and ideas.

What important empires rose up in the world between the years 500 and 1500?

What is a metropolitan area?

Cities of the World
Cities are not a new development. As long ago as 3500 B.C., the ancient Sumerians built the world's first cities. Today only the remains of those cities can be found. Some ancient cities, however, are still alive with people and activity. Rome, in Italy, has grown from its ancient beginnings to a modern city with a population of about 2,800,000 people. The ruins of its early times stand side by side with its modern buildings. In North America, Mexico City is built over the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan.

History does not run so deep in other cities. Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, is only about 50 years old. The sprawling city of Miami, Florida, was just a small settlement in 1895.

Today many cities have grown amazingly large. Japan, a very small country, has the world's largest city Tokyo. About 27 million people live and work in this city Other very large cities around the world include Buenos Aires (BWAY»nohs EYE*rays) in Argentina; Shanghai (shang*HY) in China; New York City, New York, and Los Angeles, California, in the United States; and Lagos (LAY*gahs) in Nigeria.
Many large cities have areas around them that have been developed as well. These areas where many people live are called suburbs. A city and its surrounding suburbs make up a metropolitan area.

A metropolitan area usually has at least 50,000 people.
Some metropolitan areas are so close to one another that they blend together. The term megalopolis (meh»guh»LAH»puh*luhs) describes a region where this has happened. One megalopolis stretches from Boston, Massachusetts, to Washington, D.C., on the east coast of the United States.

What is a metropolitan area?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

World Religions History

World Religions
Many of the world's major religions had their roots in ancient times. The Israelites in southwestern Asia were the first to practice Judaism. Today about 14 million Jewish people live in all parts of the world. Almost 6 million Jews live in North America, many of them in the United States.
Many people consider the country of Israel to be the homeland of the Jewish people.
More than 80 percent of Israel's 5 million people are Jewish.

The beginnings of Hinduism and Buddhism can be traced to the continent of Asia. Most of the world's 322 million Buddhists live in Asia, but Buddhists can be found in most parts of the world.

Almost 1 million people in North America alone follow the Buddhist religion.
The Hindu religion is followed mainly in Asia, where about 790 million Hindus live. Another 6 million Hindus live in other parts of the world.

The religion of Christianity has grown since the days of Jesus Christ and his early followers. Today almost 2 billion Christians live around the world. More than 700 million Christians live in North and South America. In the rest of the world, Christians include about 361 million Africans, 303 million Asians, and 555 million Europeans.

The religion of Islam (is»LAHM) is practiced by over 1 billion people. Followers of Islam are called Muslims. About half of all Muslims live in southern, central, and southeastern Asia. Many others live in Europe. In Africa, Muslims make up about half of the total population. About 6 million Muslims live in the United States.
Muslims believe that a man named Muhammad (moh»HA»muhd), born in A.D. 570, was the last in a series of messengers from God. Among the first messages that Muhammad gave people was that there is only one God, or Allah in Arabic. The
messages of Muhammad form the holy book of Islam, known as the Qur'an (kuh»RAN).

Muslims follow five basic acts of worship, known as the five pillars. The first pillar is belief in one God, and that Muhammad is the last of many messengers from God.
The second pillar is the Muslim practice of praying five times a day and visiting a mosque, or house of worship, on Fridays. The third pillar is the act of giving a fixed part of yearly savings to the needy. The fourth pillar is the Muslim practice of fasting, or not eating and drinking, in the daytime during Ramadan (RAH»muh»dahn), the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.

The fifth pillar is the making of at least one pilgrimage, or religious visit to Mecca, a holy Islamic city in Saudi Arabia. All Muslims face toward the city of Mecca when they pray.

What five religions that began long ago are still followed today?

What are some of the cultures of Asia?

World Cultures
Cultures around the world have very different beliefs, customs, and languages. The almost 4 billion people who live in Asia belong to many different cultures. Japanese, Chinese, Arab, Israeli, Indian, Turkish, and Tibetan are only a few of these cultures. Many of these cultures have continued unchanged in the same areas for centuries. Thousands of different languages and dialects are spoken in Asian lands.

Africa is home to more than 750 million people and at least 800 different cultures. In northern Africa, many people are Arab or have Arab ancestors. South of the Sahara, most people are descendants of native Africans, though some are descendants of European and Asian settlers. Today almost
 languages are spoken in Africa. Among these are many African Bantu languages. Ever since the time of the European colonies in Africa, English, French, and Afrikaans  a language created by early Dutch settlers have also often been spoken.

Europe's 500 million people also belong to many different cultural groups. Some, such as the French, the Greeks, the Italians, and the Germans, have their own country. Not all the different peoples of Europe have their own countries, however, and in some cases this has led to conflict. In the United Kingdom, for example, fighting has often flared between the English and the people of Northern Ireland.

North America and South America have been affected by several cultures. Early European migrations led to large European populations in both places. Both places also have rich native cultures.

In North America, many people have British ancestors. Many others have an African heritage. In South America and Latin America, many people have Spanish ancestors.
Today the cultures of the world are in closer contact than ever before because of improved communication and transportation. In some ways many of the world's cultures are blending. At the same time, many are seeking ways to preserve their own heritages.

What are some of the cultures of Asia?

The people face problems in moving to the cities?

To the Cities
Often people move not to a new country but to a new place in their own country. All over the world, people in rural areas move to cities because they cannot make a living farming. They may have heard of people who moved to the city and became successful. Many times, the newcomers find that city living does not match their dreams.

People who migrate to the cities sometimes face a life of poverty in their new home. These people often cannot find jobs or housing.

The movement of people to the cities has led to rapid urbanization. Urbanization is the changing of rural areas to cities. Some cities, such as Calcutta in India, Manila in the Philippines, Caracas in Venezuela, and Sao Paulo in Brazil, already have millions of people. Yet each year millions more crowd into their city limits.

Such cities cannot handle all the newcomers. They cannot provide services such as garbage collection, fire and police protection, and public transportation for so many people. For the newcomers, city life is often worse, not better, than the life they left.

What problems do people sometimes face in moving to the cities?

What are some reasons people migrate to other countries?

People and the World Today

People can affect places, and places can affect people.
It is easy to see how people affect places. They build houses and streets, carve tunnels in mountains, and make dams and reservoirs. But places can also change people or cause them to act in certain ways. The resources of an area affect what people eat, what they wear, and how they build. Physical features of an area affect where people build and how they travel. Through all of history, there has been a connection between people and the places they live.

People on the Move
From earliest times to the present, nomads have been on the move in search of new grasslands for their herds, or new animals to hunt and plants to gather. There are still a few nomadic peoples, such as the Fulanis (FOO»lah»neez) of western Africa and the Bedouins (BEH»duh»winz) of southwestern Asia. Unlike these present-day P nomads, most people of the modern world are not always on the move. However, many people do make at least one major move in their lifetime.

Often people who migrate to another country or continent do so because of a problem. For example, they may move to escape the effects of war. In 1997 many Africans left the country that was then called Zaire to escape war. People who leave their homes to escape from war or other danger are called refugees.

Drought and times of famine, or shortage of food, may also cause people to leave a place. During the mid-nineteenth century, Ireland's potato crop failed for several years in a row. This time became known as the Potato Famine. A large number of Irish people starved to death. Many others moved to Britain, the United States, or other countries. During the 1930s a severe drought caused thousands of people to leave the Great Plains area of the United States.

The search for more freedoms is another reason people migrate. Many of the early colonists in what became the United States left their homelands for religious freedom. When India and Pakistan became independent in 1947, thousands of Hindus left Pakistan for the mainly Hindu India. At the same time, thousands of Muslims left India for Pakistan.

People also migrate to escape persecution. In the 1930s Germany's leader Adolf Hitler took away rights from European Jews and other groups. Many were killed. Those who could escape left Europe for other places.

People also migrate to other countries in search of economic opportunity. These people move to another country with the hope that they will make a better living.

Whatever their reasons, many of the world's people have chosen the United States as their new home. Today, immigrants come to the United States from such diverse places as Mexico, Cuba, Vietnam, China, Japan, India, the Philippines, El Salvador, Canada, Russia, and Germany. Former United States President Jimmy Carter said this about the different immigrant groups in the United States:

We are of course a nation of differences. Those differences don't make us weak. They're the source of our strength. The question is ... why our families came here. And what we did after we arrived.

What are some reasons people migrate to other countries?

Monday, January 23, 2017

How were the borders of Africa's countries formed ?

As you have read, most experts believe that the world's earliest people lived in Africa. Some of these people migrated from Africa into Asia and Europe.

The ancient Egyptian and Nubian civilizations developed in northern Africa. Africa was where important trade routes were started and where Ghana and Mali, large empires based on trade, first grew.

The events that would lead to the creation of Africa's present-day countries took place just 500 years ago. At that time, European countries were beginning to build colonies in Africa. The borders of these colonies were formed by the Europeans' desire for resources rather than by the location of the different African cultural groups. For example, the land of the Somali people and other groups was divided among several different colonies. These colonies later became the independent countries of Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. Today Somali people live in all three countries.

Present-day countries of Africa are still feeling the effects of the European divisions. In some cases, people of the same ethnic group are separated by the boundary lines of countries. In other cases, enemy groups must live together in the same country. In the 1990s, conflicts arose in Rwanda and Burundi because of the European divisions. Fighting broke out between two rival ethnic groups, the Hutu and the Tutsi.

Conflict between peoples also led to the forming of Africa's newest country. This country, Eritrea (air • ih» TREE »uh), was once the northeastern part of Ethiopia. After a 30-year civil war, the Eritreans gained their freedom from Ethiopia in 1993.

In 1997, another change came about in Africa, when a new government was formed in Zaire. At that time the country changed its name to become the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

 How were the borders of Africa's countries formed?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Australia and Oceania History Facts

Australia and Oceania
Australia is the world's smallest continent. This continent plus Oceania all the islands of the central and south Pacific Ocean would fill an area of just 3.3 million square miles (8.5 million sq km). Yet more than 20,000 islands make up the watery region of Oceania.

Australia is the only continent that holds just one country also called Australia. Its name means "southern land," and its nickname is "the land down under."
The population of Australia is unevenly spread. The coastal plain in the east is very dry, so most people live near the eastern coast. A range of mountains called the Great Dividing Range runs north and south through Australia. Today most Australians live in the large cities of Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra (KAN»ber»uh), Newcastle, and Melbourne on the continent's eastern coast.

For thousands of years the native peoples of Australia were the only ones who knew about Australia's resources and beauty
Then the Dutch began to explore Australia in the early 1600s. In the late 1700s, Britain claimed Australia and started a colony there. In 1901, Australia became an independent country.

East of Australia is New Zealand, which is made up mainly of two long, narrow islands. New Zealand was colonized by the British in 1840, and gained its independence in 1907.

The other islands of Oceania are usually divided into three groups these are called Melanesia (meh»luh»NEE»zhuh), Micronesia (my • kruh • NEE•zhuh), and Polynesia (pah»luh»NEE»zhuh). All are located northeast of Australia.

How have natural features affected the location of Australia's population?

Europe History Facts

The cultures of Europe have affected and been affected by other cultures around the world. Europeans began colonies in the Americas, Asia, Australia, and Africa. Most of these colonies are now independent. Yet the contact between cultures can still be seen in such things as clothing, food, architecture, art, and music.

Europe today is very different from how it was 20 years ago. Some European countries that existed in the 1980s no longer exist. Others have changed in size. New ones have formed as well.

Most of these changes came about with the fall of communism in eastern Europe. Communism is a form of government in which a country owns all property and businesses. Under communism, people have little freedom. Today no country in Europe has a communist government.

About 500 million people live in Europe
though its area is just 4 million square miles (10,359,200 sq km). The continent of North America is more than twice the size of Europe and has fewer people.

With more than 40 countries, Europe has many different cultures. More than 50 languages are spoken throughout the continent.

Some countries of Europe are very small, while others are quite large. Russia is Europe's largest country It covers land in both Europe and Asia. Europe's smallest country is Vatican City, with an area of less than 1 square mile (2.6 sq km). It is the smallest country in the world.

Present-day Europe has many large industrial cities. Among the best-known European cities are London, in Great Britain; Paris, in France; St. Petersburg, in Russia; Vienna, in Austria; and Rome, in Italy.

How has the geography of Europe changed in the past 20 years?

Saturday, January 21, 2017

What was the reasons India and Pakistan separated?

Asia was the birthplace of the world's major religions Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. More people live in Asia than on any other continent. The country of China alone has more than 1 billion people. It is the world's most heavily populated country.

Asia is huge not only in population but also in physical size. Asia is the largest continent, with an area of more than 17 million square miles (44,026,600 sq km). Because Asia is so large, geographers usually divide it into several regions.

Part of the huge country of Russia forms the entire region of northern Asia. The present-day countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India form a large part of the region known as southern Asia. Cultures in southern Asia trace their heritage back thousands of years, but their countries are fairly new. India and Pakistan became independent countries in 1947. When colonial India gained its independence from Britain, it split in two. The part where most Hindus lived became India. The part where most Muslims lived became Pakistan.

The towering Himalayas separate the regions of southern and central Asia.
A large part of China, Kazakhstan (ka»zak»STAN), Kyrgyzstan (kir»gih»STAN), Turkmenistan (terk»meh»nuh»STAN), and Uzbekistan (uhz«beh»kih»STAN) make up the region of central Asia.

Bordering central and southern Asia to the west is southwestern Asia. This area is also known as the Middle East. The ancient civilizations of the Fertile Crescent began in this region. Today all the countries in south western Asia are Muslim countries, except for Israel, which is a Jewish state.

Far to the east of central Asia lies eastern Asia. It includes part of China, North Korea, South Korea, and Japan. All of these countries border the Pacific Ocean. China is the
"ft largest country in the world that remains communist.

To the south of China is southeastern Asia. This region includes the island
countries of the Philippines and Indonesia and the mainland countries of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand.

What was one of the reasons India and Pakistan separated?

The Americas History

Countries of the World Today
A bout 10,000 years ago the world had no political borders and no countries. Today almost 200 countries of different sizes exist. On every continent except Antarctica, borders have been drawn to bring people together or to separate them.

The Americas
When people think of North America, they usually think of three large countries Canada, the United States, and Mexico. However, North America also includes the smaller countries that make up Central America and the Caribbean.

The northernmost country in North America is Canada. Canada is a country that is large in area but small in population. It covers 3,851,809 square miles (9,975,415 sq km), but it has just 29 million people.

Most of Canada's population lives in the southern part of the country, where the climate is warmer. Canada's large cities and most of its population are located along its border with the United States. However, some Canadians do live in the far north. For example, the native Inuit (IN»yoo»wit) people have lived in the harsh climate of Canada's arctic tundra for centuries.

Canada was settled and ruled by both the British and the French. Because of this, Canada is a bilingual, or two-language, country. Both French and English speakers make up large parts of the population.

Like Canada, the United States is a large country in area. However, it is also large in terms of population. With more than 267 million people, the United States has about 10 times the number of people Canada has. People from all over the world came to the United States in the past, and they continue to come today. Because of this, every one of the United States' 50 states has people of different backgrounds.

To the south of the United States is Mexico. In some ways, Mexico is like the United States. It is made up of states, elects a president, and has a congress. Yet its culture is very different. Although Mexico is part of North America, it is also part of the cultural region of Latin America.

Latin America is made up of Mexico, Central America, South America, and many nearby islands. It gets its name from the Latin-based languages, Spanish and Portuguese, spoken in the region. These languages were introduced during the 1500s, when the first Spanish and Portuguese colonies were built there.

The Spanish greatly influenced the culture of Latin America. The culture also has deep roots in ancient native groups such as the Olmecs, Mayas, Aztecs, and Incas.
The countries of Latin America are very different geographically For example, the country of Chile has the driest desert in the world, the Atacama Desert, while much of the country of Brazil is covered by lush tropical rain forests.

How has settlement by different groups affected the cultures of the Americas?

The Surviving Inca Empire

The Surviving Inca Empire
In 1532 conquistador Francisco Pizarro (pee»ZAR«oh) and a group of Spanish conquistadors landed on the Pacific coast of Peru. Their goal was to claim the wealth of the Americas.

Not long before the arrival of the Spanish, the Inca ruler died. Two of his sons, Huascar (WAHS»kar) and Atahuallpa (ah»tah»WAHL»pah), were fighting over which of them would become the new leader of the Incas.

Atahuallpa's forces finally defeated their enemy, killing Huascar in the fight. Pizarro invited the new emperor to his camp. Once there, Pizarro's forces captured him. Atahuallpa promised Pizarro a room full of gold and silver in exchange for his freedom. The Incas brought Pizarro these riches, but the conquistador ordered his soldiers to kill Atahuallpa anyway. Then Pizarro and his army captured Cuzco. Inca attempts to take Cuzco back from the Spanish failed. The Incas outnumbered the Spanish, but their wooden swords were no match for Spanish guns.

The Spanish claimed control of the Inca Empire. Many Incas became slaves and were forced to work on Spanish farms and in Spanish mines.

Spanish ways began to replace Inca ways. Christianity replaced the worship of the Inca gods. The Spanish began to import resources from their homeland. Cows, sheep, chickens, and wheat and barley were introduced as new foods to the Americas. The Spanish exported native resources to Spain.

Spanish culture did not replace all of the Inca culture. In the highlands, many Incas hid from the Spanish. They continued to live much as they had before Pizarro landed. They secretly kept their religion alive. Even today, Peruvian highlanders often wear traditional clothing woven in the old style. The Inca language, Quechua, is an official language of present-day Peru, along with Spanish.

How and when did the Inca Empire end?

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Incas and Governing an Empire

Governing an Empire
The Inca Empire covered three very different environments: the dry Pacific coast, the hot and humid eastern foothills of the Andes, and several highland plateaus surrounded by rugged mountains.

To link the many regions of their empire, the Incas built more than 14,000 miles (22,526 km) of roads. Two main roads ran the length of the empire, one through the mountains and the other along the coast. Many smaller roads connected the two at different points along the way.

Inca roads were built differently, depending on the environment. Stone causeways led over swampy areas along the coast. On steep mountainsides, roads took the form of stone steps. In the highlands, swaying rope bridges hung across deep canyons.
Along the Inca roads relay teams of runners carried messages, and llamas moved goods. Inca transportation worked so well that Incas in Cuzco could enjoy fresh fish caught in the Pacific Ocean.

Roads could connect the many parts of the empire, but roads alone could not bring the people together. To win loyalty, the Incas showered newly conquered peoples with gifts of cloth and food. They also allowed those peoples' former chiefs to take part in governing.

The Incas made sure, though, that the conquered people learned Inca ways. They brought the sons of conquered chiefs to Cuzco. There they taught them Inca ways to take back to their people. Quechua (KECH»wah), the Inca language, became the official language all through the empire. People were free to worship their own gods only after saying that the Inca gods were more powerful.

To support Inca rule, each household in the empire had to pay a labor tax. For part of each year, all men had to work for the government. They served in the army, cared for government-owned farms and herds, and built roads, bridges, or cities. Most conquered people were able to stay in their homelands. Flowever, some were sent to live in new places. This practice was called mitima (mee»TEE»mah). Mitima helped the Incas begin new communities. It also prevented rebellion by breaking up large groups of conquered people and spreading them throughout the Inca Empire.

What steps did the Incas take to make newly conquered peoples part of the empire?

Inca Life and Work

Inca Life and Work
In the center of each Inca city was a main square, with large government buildings all around it. To construct their buildings, Inca workers cut large stone blocks and stacked them to form walls. They fit the blocks so closely that cement was not needed to hold them together.

Many Inca walls still stand in areas where earthquakes have toppled later buildings.
Inside the government buildings nobles and others did many jobs. Accountants kept track of numbers of people and goods in the empire. They also kept lists that told who owed labor taxes and where and when they would work.

Because the Incas did not have hieroglyphics or an alphabet, all this information was stored on groups of colored, knotted strings known as quipus (KEE»pooz). The different-colored knots on the quipus stood for different words or ideas. For example, the color yellow was the word gold. The color white was the word peace.

All the people wore beautiful, finely made clothing. Some of the clothing was made from cotton raised by Inca farmers. Some was woven from yarn made from alpaca hair. Only Inca nobles could own jewelry made of gold or silver.

Away from the busy streets of the city's center were the Inca homes. Three generations of the same family usually lived together. Most people lived in small mud houses with thatched roofs. The richest nobles had their own palaces.

Some Incas worked as craftworkers, traders, or merchants. Most, however, worked on government-owned farms.

What were some of the jobs in Inca society?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Incas and Rise to Power

The Incas
Between the snow-capped peaks of the high Andes Mountains, early peoples found a few wide and fertile valleys. The rich land was perfect for growing corn, potatoes, and quinoa (KEEN»wah), a grain high in protein. This highland region also offered the settlers stones for building and llamas for carrying loads. Other animals called alpacas (al»PAH»kahz) and vicunas (vih»KOON»yahz) provided wool.

In time, people known as the Incas moved into the area and formed a remarkable civilization. Over the years they claimed the entire area and formed an empire.

The Incas Rise to Power
The first Incas settled in the Cuzco (KOOS»koh) Valley around 1200. They took their name from their ruler, who was known as the Inca.

Legends tell of the founding of the city of Cuzco by the first Inca, Manco Capac (MAHNG*koh KAH»pahk). One legend says that the sun god sent his son and daughter to bring civilization to the world. The Incas believed that they were descended from this god and goddess.

The Incas began to farm in their new home and to build communities. They did not, however, live peacefully with the native peoples around them. By the early 1400s, they began to conquer their neighbors. Under the leadership of Pachacuti (pah»chah»KOOtee), the ninth Inca, Inca rule spread far beyond the Cuzco Valley. Pachacuti conquered some groups by military force. Others he won over through peace talks.

Pachacuti's son and grandson expanded the empire even farther. By the time the Spanish arrived in Peru in 1532, the Inca Empire covered an area of almost half a million square miles (1.3 million sq km). It stretched through what is today Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile. The Incas ruled over more than 9 million people. The conquered peoples spoke at least 20 different languages and belonged to many ethnic groups.

When and where did the Inca people first settle?

Writing in Ancient Aztecs

The Aztecs did not have an alphabet. Instead, they wrote in pictures, or glyphs. Some glyphs were simply pictures of objects, such as a tree or a knife. Other glyphs represented ideas. War, for example, was shown by a picture of a shield and a club. Speech was represented by small scrolls coming out of the mouth of the speaker. Motion was shown by a line of footprints. The glyphs were drawn first in black and then colored in.

Sound Signs
Some glyphs came to represent the sound of the object they showed. These glyphs were called phonograms and could be put together to spell out the sound of a word. This method was often used for writing the names of places. For example, by combining the glyph for a tree (quauitl) with the glyph for teeth (tlantli), the scribe created a new glyph that sounded like the city of Quauhtitlan.

Reading Pictures
Glyphs were not written on a page in regular order. They were drawn to make a scene that had to be interpreted by the reader, in the same way that we might try to solve a picture puzzle. The position and size of the glyphs were important. Things that were supposed to be further away were drawn at the top of the page, with nearer things at the bottom. Glyphs that were more important would be drawn larger.

This type of picture writing is not easy to understand, nor is it easy to use. It is not surprising that only a few skilled scribes, usually priests, could read and write.

Paper was made from the bark of wild fig trees, which was soaked in lime water and beaten to separate the fibers. The pulp was mixed with gum and beaten into thin sheets. The sheets were often stuck together to make a long concertinalike book called a codex. Some codices were painted on parchment made of animal skin.

Official Paperwork
Ruling the vast Aztec Empire required large numbers of written records dealing with tribute owed and collected, orders given to officials, and reports from other cities. In addition, each calpulli kept detailed maps and records of the land held by its members. Every temple had a large library of religious and astrological books. Priests believed the stars and planets affected the lives of their people, and they kept records of eclipses, planetary events, and star movements. All this writing meant that a lot of paper was used, and nearly half a million sheets were sent as tribute each year.

The Aztecs were also able to write numbers. Their counting system was based on 20, the number of fingers and toes each person has. The numbers 1 to 19 were represented by fingers; the number 20 was shown by a flag; the number 400 (20 X 20) was a feather; and the number 8,000 (20 X 20 X 20) was a bag, which could hold that number of cacao beans.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Aztecs Trade and Tribute

written by Tim Wood illustrated by Philip Hood

The Aztec civilization has held the interest of historians and archaeologists ever since the ruins of their first cities were uncovered. Even today people want to find out all they can about the Aztec way of life. Author Tim Wood's book The Aztecs helps to answer many questions about how the Aztecs lived. The selection that follows describes two topics Aztec trade and Aztec writing.

Trade and Tribute
Much of the wealth of the Aztecs came from tribute sent to Tenochtitlan by the other cities in the Empire. Gathering tribute was very well organized, with Aztec tax gatherers, called calpixques, stationed at key points throughout the Empire to supervise the system's operation.

Gathering Tribute
Every few months, lists of the tribute required from each city were sent out from the capital. If the cities refused to send the tribute, war was declared. Throughout the year, but especially at harvest time, a constant stream of goods was carried into Tenochtitlan to be stored in the city's warehouses.

The Aztecs also acquired the goods they needed by trade. The traveling merchants, called pochteca, led very different lives from those of other Aztecs. They lived in separate areas in the city and all belonged to a merchant guild. They had their own laws and judges and worshipped their own god, Yacatecuhtli the "Lord Who Guides" or "Lord Nose"—to whom they made offerings so he would protect them on their journeys. The children of merchants were allowed to marry only the children of other merchants.

Merchants were afraid of being envied by the nobles, so they hid their great wealth, dressing in plain cloaks and headdresses made of cactus fiber.

Trading Expeditions
The pochteca went on long trading journeys to all comers of the Empire. When preparing for an expedition, great care was taken. They chose a lucky date and cut their hair for the last time until they returned. Their departure was announced in the marketplace so that other people could join the trading expedition. The merchants left the Valley of Mexico carrying goods belonging to many different merchants, each of whom shared in the profits—or losses of the venture. The pochteca were heavily armed and took large numbers of soldiers with them.

Since the Aztecs had no pack animals they had never even seen horses or oxen—all their trade goods were carried by porters in bundles on their backs.

They returned with luxury goods from all corners of the Empire, such as fine cloth, dyes, cacao beans, gold, cotton, feathers, jade beads, and copper.

As well as adding to the great wealth of the Aztecs, the merchants were useful in other ways. Some acted as spies, reporting to Aztec generals about the wealth of other cities and the size of their armies. Sometimes they were told to cause trouble in an area that the Aztecs wanted to attack. They would find a way to insult a local chief so that their expedition would be attacked. The Aztec armies would then march in to restore order and make sure the trade routes were safe and to collect prisoners for sacrifice.

Hiding Their Wealth The merchants always returned secretly, arriving at night with the goods in their canoes or packs, well covered. Everything was then hidden in the house of another trader. Merchants were always very careful to keep their enormous wealth and trade secrets hidden from other Aztecs.

The End of the Aztec Empire

The End of the Aztec Empire
By the early 1500s the Aztecs ruled over many city-states. Yet some city-states in the region remained independent. When the Spanish landed in Mexico in 1519, these independent city-states helped the Spanish conquer the Aztec Empire.

The Spanish conquerors, or conquistadors (kahn»KEES»tah»dawrz), seemed strange to the Aztecs. The conquistadors rode horses and had weapons unknown to the Aztecs, such as cannons, steel swords, and crossbows.

When the Aztec ruler Motecuhzoma (maw»taykwah»SOH»mah) heard descriptions of the Spanish, he thought they might be Aztec gods. According to the Aztec religion, Quetzalcoatl would return one day to rule the Aztecs. The Aztecs believed that the Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortes (kawr«TEZ) might be Quetzalcoatl.
The Aztec people did not know that the Spanish were interested only in their gold.
The Aztecs found out too late that the newcomers were men, not gods. The Spanish kidnapped Motecuhzoma and demanded that control of Tenochtitlan be turned over to them.

The Aztecs did not give up their city without a fight. However, in 1521 the Aztec capital finally fell to the Spanish. The Spanish built a new city over the ruins of Tenochtitlan. This city became the center of Spain's new empire in the Americas. Today the city is known as Mexico City.

What caused the end of the Aztec Empire?

The Aztecs and Creating an Empire

Creating an Empire
In 1428 the Aztecs of Tenochtitlan joined the people of the city-states of Texcoco and Tlacopan to form a triple alliance. This united group quickly became the strongest fighting force in the Valley of Mexico. Together the three city-states built an empire. It is often called the Aztec Empire because the Aztecs were the most powerful of the three allies.

During the 1400s, Aztec warriors began to march across the Valley of Mexico and over the mountains to the south and the east.

The soldiers conquered many other native peoples. From all the conquered people, the Aztecs demanded tribute, or payment. The tribute brought large amounts of food, precious stones and metals, and clothing into the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. Maize, beans, chilis, cotton, rubber, jaguar skins, feathers of tropical birds, gold, silver, jade, and cacao beans were all part of the tribute.

By 1500 the Aztec Empire covered more than 200,000 square miles (517,960 sq km) of Central America. As many as 5 million people lived under the rule of the Aztecs. From the peoples they conquered, the Aztecs borrowed many new ways of doing things. They also learned new ideas from the Mayas, just as the Mayas had from the Olmecs. Together the ideas helped the Aztecs build a strong empire.

How did the Aztecs gain their power and wealth?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Aztec Way of Life

Aztec Way of Life
Like the Mayas, the Aztecs had a calendar, a number system, and a way of writing. They also built many large cities, just as the Mayas had.

All the Aztec cities were ruled by one emperor, who was believed to talk to the gods. The emperor ruled over both military and religious matters. Assisted by a council of four high-ranking officials, the emperor made all Aztec laws and saw that they were followed. This leader stood at the top of Aztec society People were not allowed to turn their back on the emperor or look directly at his face.

Below the emperor in society were the nobles, who helped him rule, and the soldiers. Then came the farmers, artisans, and merchants. Aztec women in these classes were allowed to own property and manage businesses. Aztec girls attended school. Some grew up to become religious leaders or healers, while many others farmed.

At the bottom of Aztec society were the slaves. Some Aztecs became slaves because their parents were too poor to support them. Others were enslaved as adults because they had broken Aztec laws. Some captured enemies also became slaves.

Not all captives became slaves, however. Many were sacrificed, or killed as offerings, to the Aztec gods. In fact, one reason the Aztecs fought wars was to capture enemy warriors to sacrifice.

Like other ancient cultures, the Aztecs worshipped many gods. One of the most important gods was Quetzalcoatl (ket«zahl»koo»WAH»tahl), the god of knowledge and creation. The Aztecs believed the world would end if they did not make sacrifices to their gods. Thousands of people died each year as sacrifices. Because human sacrifice was so important to the Aztecs, the goal in battle was to capture enemies, not to kill them.

What was the connection between religion and war in Aztec life?

Where did the Aztec people settle?

The Aztecs
Neither the Olmecs nor the Mayas built empires.
It was not until the 1400s that a large empire formed in Mesoamerica. The people who built this empire were the Aztecs.

The Arrival of the Aztecs
Around 1200, nomads from the north came to the area of central Mexico now known as the Valley of Mexico.

There they settled near other communities of native peoples that had been built along the lakes in the center of the valley. These newcomers were the Aztecs. The already settled people of the valley which they called Anahuac (AH»nah»wahk), thought of the Aztecs as uncivilized. The newcomers did not speak Nahuatl (NAH»waht»uhl), the language used in the valley. Also, they wore animal skins rather than clothes woven from cotton. In addition, they used bows and arrows. These weapons helped make them better warriors than others in the valley.

The Aztec people called themselves the Mexica rather than the name by which they are now known. Because of this, the land all around them has become known as Mexico.

Many experts believe that the ancient Aztecs came from what is now northern Mexico. The Aztecs moved south in search of a new homeland. According to legend, the Aztec war god, Huitzilopochtli (wee»see»loh»PAWCH«tlee), had promised that they would find their homeland where they saw an eagle with a snake in its mouth, sitting on a cactus. The Aztecs saw this sign on a small, swampy island in Lake Texcoco (tes»KOH»koh) and settled there. Today the eagle with the snake is a symbol of Mexico and appears on the Mexican flag.

Where did the Aztec people settle?

Aztecs and The Building of Tenochtitlan

The Building of Tenochtitlan
About 1325, the Aztecs began building a capital city on the island in Lake Texcoco. They called the new capital Tenochtitlan (tay»nohch«teet»LAHN). In some ways the place said to be chosen by Huitzilopochtli was a good one. Having water all around made the island city easy to defend against attack. Also, the lake offered fish, water birds, and frogs for food.

However, the island had no farmland and no stone or wood for building. Flooding, too, was a problem.

The Aztecs found ways to solve all the problems caused by their location. First, they built causeways, or land bridges, to connect the island capital to the mainland. Then they made a dike, or earthen wall, 9 miles (14 km) long to protect the city from floods. They drove large posts deep into the ground and built reed houses on top of them. They traded with other peoples to get the wood and stone they needed for palaces and temples.

To solve the problem of not having enough farmland, the Aztecs built
chinampas (chee• NAHM• pahz) in their lake. Chinampas were human-made islands formed by weaving branches together to make huge underwater baskets. Trees planted around the baskets helped keep them in place. Workers then filled the baskets with mud from the lake's bottom. New islands of farmland now rose above the water. On these "floating gardens," farmers grew corn, beans, peppers, and avocados.

All these changes to the environment helped Tenochtitlan grow. By the 1400s Tenochtitlan had become a huge city of more than 300,000 people.

How did the Aztecs solve the problems caused by Tenochtitlan's location?

Monday, January 16, 2017

Continuity and Change in Ancient Maya

Continuity and Change
During the A.D. 900s, the Mayan people began to leave their cities in the rain forests of the southern lowlands. Some archaeologists believe that the cities became too crowded. Others think that war between the Mayan cities caused the Mayan civilization of the Classic period to collapse.

Some Mayas migrated north and west. During the A.D. 900s a new Mayan civilization grew up in the northern part of the Yucatan Peninsula. This region has no rivers, so the Mayas built their new cities near cenotes (sih«NOH»teez) deep natural wells. One of these cities, Chichen Itza (chee»CHEHN it»SAH), became the Mayas' new capital.

The Mayas of the northern Yucatan Peninsula continued to use the writing, astronomy, and mathematics of the Mayan Classic period. However, they had lost trust in individual kings. Instead, they set up ruling councils to govern their cities.

In 1187 the rulers of the Mayan city Mayapan (myah*PAHN) captured Chichen Itza. Mayapan then became the Mayan capital until 1450.

At the time of his fourth voyage to the Americas, Christopher Columbus encountered the Mayas. Later Spanish contact brought European diseases to Mesoamerica. Many Mayas died during this time. Others were enslaved. However, one group of Mayas the Itzas fought Spanish rule for almost 200 years. Today, nearly 3 million Mayas speak Mayan languages and farm the lands where their ancestors once lived.

Where did the Mayas migrate after they left their cities in the rain forest?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Mayas and Mayan Learning

Mayan Learning
The ancient Mayas studied many different subjects, including mathematics and astronomy. They made use of mathematics both to record trade and to keep track of days. The Mayan number system was different from those of other ancient cultures in one important way. It had a symbol that stood for zero. It also used just three symbols to make all the numbers. Shells stood for zeros, dots for ones, and bars for fives. Combinations of these three symbols allowed the Mayas to make all the other numbers. For example, a 6 was made by placing a dot over a bar. The Mayas showed numbers higher than 19 by using position much as we use position to show numbers higher than 9.

The ancient Mayas were fascinated not only by mathematics but also by astronomy. They watched the night sky closely, following the movements of the planets. One planet they carefully tracked was Venus, which they could see both in the morning and at night.

From their study of the skies, the Mayas developed two very accurate calendars.
One had a 365-day year, just like our modern calendar. They used this one to keep track of planting, harvesting, and seasonal flooding. The Mayas' other calendar had 260 days and was used to keep track of religious events.

The Mayas also created an advanced system of writing. Mayan writing consisted of a type of hieroglyphics called glyphs (GLIFS). Glyphs were picture-symbols that represented objects, ideas, and sounds.

Only recently have archaeologists begun to be able to read the Mayan language.
For writing material, the Mayas made paper from the bark of wild fig trees.
Using this paper, they created codices (KOH*duh«seez) books containing Mayan glyphs. Only four codices of Mayan writing have survived. They tell about such subjects as Mayan religion and astronomy.

The Mayas also carved their glyphs on stone monuments, murals, pottery, and wooden beams. Most of these glyphs are records of dates and events in Mayan history. They provide archaeologists with their main source of information on the ancient Mayas.

What were some of the achievements of the ancient Mayas?

The Lost Cities of the Mayas

The Mayas
The civilization of the Mayas was one of the longest- lasting civilizations of the ancient Americas. The Mayan way of life began to form around 500 B.C. The earliest Mayas lived as farmers in the tropical rain forests of southern Mexico and Central America. By building on ideas borrowed from the Olmecs, the Mayan civilization grew strong.

The "Lost Cities" of the Mayas
The Mayas built more than 100 cities and towns deep in the rain forests of the region that today includes Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. Their culture was strong during the time between A.D. 300 and A.D. 900. This time has become known as the Classic period of the Mayas.

The Mayas were skilled architects and builders. Their cities had temples, pyramids, ball courts, palaces, and plazas. At the height of the Classic period, some Mayan cities had huge populations.

After A.D. 900 the Mayan civilization fell into decline. For many centuries the cities and towns of the Classic period lay in ruins, hidden by thick rain forests.

Then, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the "lost cities" were rediscovered. Even today, archaeologists are making new finds at the sites of these ancient cities.

The largest of the ancient Mayan cities was Tikal (tih*KAHL). At the site of the ancient city, the remains of about 3,000 temples and other buildings have been found. Scientists estimate that as many as people lived in Tikal.

Located at the center of Tikal are the ruins of six tall stone temples. Each is made of huge blocks of limestone and shaped like a pyramid. The tallest is 299 feet (91 m) in height as high as a 30-story building.

On its top still sits a carved jaguar with sharp, curving claws. This temple is sometimes called the Temple of the Giant Jaguar.

The cities of the Mayas were alike in many ways. All had stone temples, which shows that religion was important to the Mayas. Like the Olmecs, the Mayas worshipped many gods. They believed in gods of the sun, the rain, and many other aspects of nature.

Near the stone temples was a palace for the city's leader. Each city had its own king and its own government. The king also controlled the smaller towns near his city. From time to time, one powerful Mayan king may have claimed control of several cities.

Each king also had a temple built in his honor. Later the temple would serve as the tomb for the king. Stelae in front of the temple gave information about the king, including the dates of his birth, his time of rule, and his death.

Stelae from the temples often described more than just the men who served as kings. Women were pictured and written about, since they, too, were important in noble families. For example, some women served as regents, or temporary rulers. They acted as leaders until young heirs to the throne were old enough to rule.

In the Mayan cities the temples and palaces were surrounded by workshops and homes. Paved courtyards provided space for markets and public gatherings. Most cities also featured ball courts like the ones at the Olmec centers.

For much of the year, Mayan farmers lived near their fields, in one-room mud huts. Between growing seasons they came to the city to build temples and palaces and to participate in ceremonies.

What were Mayan cities like?

How did Olmec ideas spread to other peoples?

The "Mother Civilization"
In many parts of Mexico and Central America, far from Olmec centers, traces of Olmec civilization have been found.

In southwestern Mexico, cave paintings show scenes of Olmec gods. In El Salvador, 500 miles (about 800 km) southeast of Olmec lands, a boulder is carved in the Olmec style.

Since the first discovery of the remains of Olmec civilization, archaeologists have tried to figure out how Olmec ideas spread throughout Mesoamerica. Most experts believe that Olmec ideas spread through Mesoamerica by cultural diffusion. You have already learned that cultural diffusion is the spreading of new ideas to other places.

No evidence has been found that suggests that the Olmecs conquered a large area and forced other peoples to follow their ways. Instead, Olmec ideas probably spread as different cultures came in contact with the Olmecs through trade. Other peoples may have adopted many Olmec ways because they admired Olmec innovations.

Some of the Olmec innovations included the use of hieroglyphic writing and a number system. The Olmecs were also among the first Mesoamerican peoples to use a calendar. Other Olmec innovations helped make everyday life easier. For example, the Olmecs made mirrors by polishing iron ore.

Some Olmec innovations are still used in modern Mexico. The early people of Mesoamerica did not use animals or wheeled carts to carry loads. Instead, workers or slaves used tumplines to carry trade goods and workloads. A tumpline (TUHM»plyn) is a kind of sling that makes it easier to carry heavy loads. A strap placed over the forehead helps support the load carried in the sling on the person's back.

A number of customs shared by later Mesoamerican peoples began with the Olmecs. These include their art and architecture, their religion, and their ball game. In fact, Olmec culture is in many ways the base of other Mesoamerican cultures. Richard E. W. Adams, who studies and writes about ancient Mesoamerica, notes, "Olmec culture did not die out but was absorbed and passed on in [different ways]." The way in which Olmec culture was passed on to other cultures has caused many scholars to call it the "Mother Civilization" of Mesoamerica.

How did Olmec ideas spread to other peoples?

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Ancient Olmec Art

Olmec Art
Ancient Olmec artists created what archaeologist Michael D. Coe describes as "magnificent and awe-inspiring sculptures." The artists carved their works from some of the hardest rock in the Americas, even though they did not have metal tools.
The Olmecs made tools out of materials that were available to them. They used drills made of bone to cut into basalt, greenstone, jade, and other rocks. They used sand and reeds to carve the finer lines of their artwork.

The Olmecs are perhaps best known for the giant heads they carved from basalt rock. They cut out large pieces of the basalt from mountains that were many miles away from their ceremonial centers. They probably moved the stones to their centers by floating them downriver on rafts made of balsa, a very lightweight wood.

A number of the ancient carved heads still exist. Some of them are more than 9 feet (2.7 m) tall and weigh as much as 20 tons each. Modern archaeologists marvel at the finely carved lines of the ancient stone faces. Experts believe that each face is a portrait of a different Olmec ruler.

Olmec artists also used basalt to carve thrones for their rulers. On the front of many of these thrones is a carved opening with a small stone figure inside. Some archaeologists think that the stone figure represented the ruler returning from a trip to the "otherworld." The otherworld was the place where the Olmecs believed their people went after they died. The Olmecs thought that if their king survived a trip to the otherworld, he would bring back life and good fortune for his people.

Not all Olmec art showed real people. Some pictured the many gods worshipped by the Olmecs. The Olmec religion was based on the forces in nature that affected farming. The most important god to the Olmecs was the jaguar god, a cat god they believed brought the rain. The image of the jaguar appears often in Olmec art. Some Olmec art shows figures that are half-jaguar and half-human. Other gods that the Olmecs worshipped included a fire god, a corn god, and a feathered serpent. Many of these gods are also found in later Mesoamerican cultures.

Not all Olmec art is huge like the stone heads. In fact, the Olmecs made some sculptures that were only a few inches tall. Tiny masks and jade statues have been found. The Olmecs did not display their smaller works of art as they did the huge stone heads. Instead they buried them, probably as offerings to their gods.

What were some of the subjects of Olmec sculptures?

What were Olmec ceremonial centers like?

Olmec Centers
The earliest Olmec farmers lived in small communities. By around 1500 B.C. Olmec society had split into classes. About 150 years later the elite, or ruling class, had enough power to order the construction of large building projects. These projects required the labor of many people.

One building project took place at San Lorenzo, the oldest known Olmec city.
There, around 1150 B.C., workers carried baskets of dirt up a large hill. They used the dirt to make a platform more than 20 feet (6 m) high and as long as eight basketball courts placed end to end.

On this platform the Olmecs built an area for religious ceremonies called a ceremonial center. Among the ruins of San Lorenzo, archaeologists have uncovered the remains of stone columns and more than 70 stone monuments. The center also includes the oldest known ball court in Mesoamerica.

Temples and palaces where rulers lived probably also once stood on the ceremonial center. Nothing remains of these buildings today Archaeologists believe that invaders destroyed San Lorenzo around 900 B.C.

Another Olmec center, called La Venta, grew up after San Lorenzo ended. From 800 B.C. to 400 B.C. most Olmec activity took place in this center.

At La Venta, Olmec workers formed an earthen mound 110 feet (34 m) tall. Some archaeologists refer to this mound as the first Mesoamerican pyramid, or the Great Mound. Many of the pyramids the Olmecs built contained hidden tombs. However, archaeologists do not yet know if the Great Mound at La Venta contains a tomb.

What were Olmec ceremonial centers like?

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Olmecs and the Mayas: North America

The Olmecs and the Mayas

Geography of the Americas
North and South America were the last of the world's continents, except for Antarctica, to be settled by people. Not until nature provided a bridge were people able to cross from Asia to North America. As they migrated through the Americas, the early people found a wide variety of climates and landforms.

North America
Third in size of all the continents, North America is a land of many different environments. Forests and plains cover the center of North America. Cutting through the woods and grasslands are many rivers. The largest of these is the Mississippi.

Oceans lap the shores of the continent the Pacific on the west and the Atlantic on the east. Mountain ranges separate both coasts of the continent from the middle. The very old Appalachian (a»puh«LAY»chee»uhn) Mountains follow the eastern coast. On the western coast, the newer and taller Alaska Range and Sierra Madre Occidental rise above the land. Slightly inland stand the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Madre Oriental.

Today almost all parts of North America show signs of human life. Roads and highways crisscross the continent, connecting hundreds of cities large and small.

What are some important land and water features of North America?

The Olmecs and the Mayas: Migrating to the Americas

Migrating to the Americas
At the time of the last Ice Age, much of the world was covered by huge glaciers. So much water was frozen in the glaciers that the world's oceans became shallower. As ocean levels dropped, land that had been underwater was uncovered. Between what is today Alaska and the easternmost part of Russia, dry land connected the continents of Asia and North America. Today scholars and archaeologists call this land bridge of long ago Beringia (bair»IN»gee»uh).

Many scientists believe that the first people to reach the Americas were nomads who hunted the huge mammals of the Ice Age. Over thousands of years they probably followed the mammals across Beringia.

Once in the Americas, groups of nomads began to travel south and east in search of food. This slow migration of people took many more thousands of years. In time,
however, people had reached almost every part of the Americas.

In their new homelands, the different groups learned to adapt to different environments. A variety of cultures developed across the Americas. Each culture had its own tools, language, religion, and art.

How and why did the first people come to the Americas?

The Olmecs and Early Olmec Farmers

The Olmecs
Olmec civilization began along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in what are now the Mexican states of Veracruz and Tabasco. This civilization is remembered for its many ideas and inventions. Its innovations were used and added to by later civilizations in Mesoamerica, or Middle America, a region that includes central and southern Mexico and Central America. For this reason, the Olmec civilization is called the "mother civilization" of the Americas.

Early Olmec Farmers
The Olmec civilization began in the coastal lowlands of what is today eastern Mexico. By the early 1500s B.C. the Olmecs had begun planting maize, beans, squash, and other crops in the rich soil along the banks of the area's rivers. Olmec farmers planted their maize, beans, and squash together. The bean vines grew around the stalk, or stiff stem, of the maize. The squash vines spread out on the ground between the stalks. The bean plants gave the soil nitrogen, an important nutrient that the maize and squash needed. By intercropping, or planting different crops together, Olmec farmers made the best possible use of the small amount of fertile soil they had.

Crops grew quickly in the area's warm climate, and large amounts of rainfall kept the ground moist year-round. Two or more harvests were possible each year, giving the Olmecs a surplus of food.

Like other ancient civilizations, the Olmecs depended on the resources around them. They fished in the rivers and hunted animals such as deer, wild pigs, and jaguars in the rain forests. They built their homes of reeds from the rivers and grasses from the savannas. They made pots and bowls from clay they found near the rivers.

The Olmecs did not use only the resources available in their own coastal region. When they traveled inland to trade, they exchanged resources from their region for resources from the mountains, such as obsidian, a volcanic glass they used for cutting.

One of the resources the Olmecs traded was rubber, which they gathered from trees in the rain forest. In fact, it was rubber that gave them the name Olmec, which means "People from the Land of Rubber." m'iuvi What advantages did the coastal lowlands offer early Olmec farmers?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Olmecs and the Mayas in Central America

Central America
Farther to the south, North America gets narrower and narrower. This region, often called Central America, is actually part of the continent of North America.
Central America is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the east by the Caribbean (kair»uh*BEE»uhn) Sea, which is a part of the Atlantic Ocean. East of Central America are the many islands of the Caribbean.

Running north and south through much of Central America are very long mountain ranges called Cordilleras (kawr»dee»YAY»rahs). Many of Central America's mountains are active volcanoes, or volcanoes that still erupt. Ash from eruptions of the active volcanoes has made the soil nearby very fertile. Because of the fertile soil, people often farm near volcanoes in spite of the dangers they may face.

On both sides of the mountains are regions of lowlands. Rain forests and swamps cover much of the lowlands in eastern Central America. Forests of evergreen trees grow along the lowlands in the west. The thick forests make farming difficult in the lowlands regions.

Where in Central America is farming better, near the mountains or in the lowlands?

The Olmecs and the Mayas in South America

South America
At the southern end of Central America is the Isthmus of Panama, which connects North America with the continent south of it South America. South America is the fourth-largest continent in the world. Most of South America lies in the part of the Earth called the tropical zone, or "the tropics." This region lies between the Tropic of Cancer, 23 V2 degrees north of the equator, and the Tropic of Capricorn, 23 V2 degrees south of the equator. The areas north and south of the tropical zone are called the temperate zones.

A chain of mountains called the Andes runs along South America's western coast. These are the highest mountains in the Americas and the second highest in the world. Only the Himalayas in Asia are taller. Many of the highest peaks of the Andes are topped with snow all year. Even the mountain valleys are thousands of feet above sea level.

To the west of the Andes, in the country of Chile, lies one of the world's driest regions, the Atacama Desert. To the east of the Andes is the huge basin of the Amazon River. The world's largest tropical rain forest is also located in this part of South America. North and south of the rain forest are vast tropical grasslands. Near the cold southern tip of South America, the grasslands give way to a rocky area with few plants and trees.

What large river and large mountain range are located in South America?

Spirit of the Maya by Manuel Garcia

Spirit of the Maya
A Boy Explore His People’s Mysterious Past
written by Guy Garcia illustrated by Manuel Garcia

This story, set in present-day Mexico, tells much about the peoples who lived there long ago. Kin, a twelve-year-old boy living in Palenque (pah»LAYN»kay), Mexico, feels little connection with his ancestors, the ancient Mayas (MY»yahs). Read now to see what brings about a change in his feelings.

Grandfather is wearing a white tunic, which is the traditional clothing of the Lacando'n (lah»kahn»DOHN) Indians, who once roamed the green forests around Palenque. Grandfather remembers the old ways of his people. When he talks to Kin, he uses the Maya language. Kin understands his grandfather because he also speaks Maya. But he prefers to speak Spanish, which is the national language of Mexico. Kin would like to cut his hair short like other Mexican boys, but his father won't let him because it's traditional for the Lacando'n to wear their hair long.

Kin has never shown much interest in the old Maya traditions. But now that Kin is twelve, his father, Chan Kin, feels that he's ready to begin learning the ancient
ways. Chan Kin is an artisan who sells his wares to tourists at the pyramids outside of town. Kin would rather be out playing soccer, but he reluctantly agrees to stay home and help his father make the ceremonial clay figures.

Using clay that comes from a special place in the jungle, Chan Kin expertly molds a figure. In a few minutes his fingers have turned the ball of clay into a little man with thick arms and legs. Kin picks the man up, and the small eyes seem to be staring back at him.

Seeing that Kin is interested, his father tells him to sit down and pay attention. "You make a picture here," Chan Kin says, pointing to his head. "And then you let your fingers do the work."

After the figures are formed, Kin's father lets them dry for a month. Then, when the time is right, he builds a fire and puts the figures into the hot coals to bake.
While they're baking, Chan Kin shows his son how to make hunting arrows with parrot feathers and stone tips. Using a steel knife, he carefully splits the bamboo shaft and ties on the flint blade with wire. Then he glues on the feathers, and the arrow is ready to be tested.

"The arrows and clay figures are part of our past," Kin's father says. "It's important to keep our aim true, even if the world has changed."

Kin's father goes out into the yard and puts a new arrow into his bow. His target is a tree about twenty yards away. He pulls back on the bow, takes aim, and boing! the arrow flies through the air. Kin's father laughs because he has missed the target. He tries again; this time the arrow sticks in the tree.

Chan Kin explains how their ancestors used bows and arrows to hunt for food, and how they placed clay statues inside the pyramids to honor their gods.

That night, Kin's grandfather shows him a book about the pyramids that tells about a king named Pacal (pah»CAHL), which means "Shield." Like all Maya kings, Pacal had the power to speak to the gods through dreams and sacred visions.

Pacal was twelve years old the same age as Kin when he became the king of Palenque. He ruled for sixty-seven years and built many pyramids. His tomb is buried deep inside the pyramid called the Temple of Inscriptions.

"I wish I could see Pacal's tomb Kin says.
"You can," his grandfather replies. "The tomb is open for the tourists every day. Tomorrow is Saturday. Ask your father to take you to the ruins with him, and you can visit Pacal's tomb yourself."

Kin is up extra early the next morning. At first, his father is surprised to see him waiting by the family's Volkswagen van, but when Kin explains that he wants to see Pacal's tomb his father smiles and tells him to jump in. It only takes a few minutes to drive through town and past the statue that marks the turn-off leading to the ruins, but to Kin it seems like forever. At last they arrive at the pyramids, but there are too many trees for Kin to see anything. Kin's father parks the van in the parking lot, and Kin helps him carry the boxes of arrows he has brought to sell to an area near the entrance gate. Then his father buys him a ticket and tells him he'll be waiting to drive him home. "I knew that one day you'd come," Kin's father says proudly. Still, Kin feels a twinge of sadness at seeing his father sell trinkets to tourists at the gates of the great city that his ancestors once ruled.

Passing through the gate, Kin follows a tree-covered path to a plaza surrounded by incredible buildings. The pyramids are so tall that he has to bend his head all the way back to see the tops. Some of the pyramids are still half-covered by the jungle, and others have steps like long ladders leading up the sides. It took the Maya hundreds of years to build the pyramids with stones that they cut from solid rock and carried through the jungle.

Kin looks at Pacal's tomb for a long time, marveling at the beauty of the carvings. The symbols and drawings tell the story of Pacal, who received the crown of Palenque from his mother in A.D. 615. He ruled until the age of eighty and was buried in this very spot. His grave was decorated with beautiful pottery and jewelry made from
gold and precious stones. Many years later, archaeologists discovered the tomb and moved Pacal's bones and many other objects to a museum near the ruins.

Afterward, Kin walks over to the Palenque museum, where he learns that Pacal was part of a long dynasty of rulers that lasted until the reign of Snake-Jaguar II, who died in A.D. 702. Pacal's jade-covered skeleton and death mask are on display in the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.

As Kin leaves the museum, he feels a stab of sorrow. He climbs to the top of a
nearby ruin, but doesn't feel the same excitement he felt before. He knows now that he will never meet Pacal or the amazing Maya who built these pyramids. Kin wishes that he could travel back in time to visit the city during the height of its imperial glory.
Kin's father is waiting for him near the entrance to the ruins. When he asks Kin how he liked the pyramids, Kin tells him that they made him feel lonely and that he never wants to come back.

Chan Kin doesn't say anything, but Kin can tell that his father is disappointed.
Kin's father drives home silently. Then, without explaining why, he parks near the traffic circle that leads into town. In the center of the circle is a large statue of a man's head. Kin has looked at it a thousand times without knowing who it was, but now he recognizes it as the face of Pacal.

Kin runs out to get a closer look at the statue. It looks just like him! Suddenly, he understands why his father has brought him here. Even though he and Pacal live in worlds that are centuries apart, they are still brothers. Their skin and features are the same, and the same Maya blood runs in their veins.

As Kin and his father head home, he sees everything through new eyes. His Maya ancestors no longer seem so distant, and he no longer feels alone. Because, for the first time in his life, he knows how it feels to be a king.

As you continue reading this unit, you will learn about Kin's ancestors, the ancient Mayas, and those who came before them, the ancient Olmecs (OHL*mehks).

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Invasions of Ancient Rome

A Time of Invasions
During the late 300s and the 400s, the Romans faced more attacks by Germanic tribes. Even the huge Roman army could not guard all of the border of the empire.

Many different Germanic tribes began to enter Roman territory. Their goal was to find new lands to settle on. Their own lands were being taken over by the Huns, a people from central Asia who were migrating westward.

The Visigoths invaded the Danube River region in A.D. 378. Led by Alaric (A»luh«rik), they captured Rome in A.D. 410 and looted the city.

Another tribe, the Vandals, crossed the Rhine River into Gaul in A.D. 406 and spread southwest into what is now Spain. They crossed the Mediterranean into northern Africa and from there attacked Rome in A.D. 455. In Rome they stole items of value and destroyed monuments. Today we use the word vandal to describe someone who purposely damages property.

In A.D. 476, a Germanic chief named Odoacer (OH • duh • way • ser) overthrew the Roman emperor in the west.

A Roman emperor continued to rule but only from Constantinople.
Germanic tribes continued to claim Roman lands in the west. The Angles and the Saxons attacked and conquered Britain. The Franks invaded northern Gaul. In A.D. 486 Clovis, a leader of the Franks, captured the last Roman territory in Gaul.

By A.D. 500, the western part of the Roman Empire had separated into several kingdoms. Visigoths ruled in Italy, Spain, and southern Gaul. Franks held northern Gaul. Angles and Saxons were spreading out through Britain.

How did Roman rule end in the western part of the Roman Empire?

Rome's Decline in the West and Trouble in the Roman Empire

Rome's Decline in the West
By the middle of the second century A.D., the Roman Empire faced many problems. For one thing, several emperors, including Constantine, tried to keep the Roman Empire strong. However, even the efforts of strong rulers could not protect the empire from decline. It had grown too large to be managed easily. In addition, the empire's rule was being challenged by peoples both outside and within.

Trouble in the Roman Empire
A Roman historian living in the third century A.D. contrasted the period he lived in with the earlier days of the empire. "Our history," he wrote, "now plunges from a kingdom of gold to one of iron and rust."

The Pax Romana, which brought peace for two centuries, ended during the A.D. 160s.
At this time outsiders began to attack the empire along its borders. These people were known to the Romans as barbarians. The Greeks had developed this term because they thought the speech of outsiders sounded like "bar, bar, bar."

Throughout much of the A.D. 200s, outsiders threatened the empire on three sides. Germanic tribes from the north attacked Greece and Gaul. In the east the Persians attacked Roman territory in Asia. In the south an African people called the Berbers (BER»berz) raided Roman lands in northern Africa.

To make matters worse, many Roman emperors ruled poorly during these uneasy times. No one seemed to be able to govern such a large region, and civil wars often broke out. Tyrants seized control of the government in Rome, but they often ruled only a short time before being overthrown and killed. Twenty-five different emperors ruled in less than 50 years.

Roman citizens began to lose respect for their rulers during this time. Even the soldiers who fought to keep the Roman Empire together felt little loyalty toward it. Instead they gave their loyalty to their generals, who were fighting one another.

The political conflicts within the Roman Empire caused its economy to suffer. Trade declined, and Roman money lost value. The prices of food rose dramatically, bringing many hardships to the Roman people.

What problems did the Romans face during much of the A.D. 200s?

Monday, January 9, 2017

How did the Roman Empire divide into two parts?

The Roman Empire Splits in Two
As the third century drew to a close, better times returned to the Roman Empire. In A.D. 284, a leader named Diocletian (dy»uh»KLEE»shuhn) came to power. Emperor Diocletian made many changes to strengthen the government.

A fourth-century writer described him as "the man whom the state needed."
One of his changes was to divide the leadership of the Roman Empire. Diocletian put a trusted friend in charge of the western part. He then gave most of his attention to the eastern part.

Diocletian's actions led the way for other strong leaders to rebuild the strength of the empire. One of these was Constantine. Constantine not only made Christianity an accepted religion but also helped keep the Roman Empire alive.

Like Diocletian, Constantine focused on the eastern part of the empire. In A.D. 330 Constantine moved the empire's capital from Rome to the eastern city of Byzantium (buh*ZAN»tee»uhm). A Roman historian boasted,

Byzantium occupies a position the most secure and in every way the most advantageous of any town in our quarter of the world.

Nearly surrounded by water, Byzantium was easy to defend against attack and was well-located for trade. Constantine renamed the city Constantinople in his own honor. Soon Constantinople replaced Rome as the most important city of the Roman Empire. Today, Constantinople is known as Istanbul (is*tuhn»BOOL), Turkey.

In A.D. 395, the empire officially split in two. The east would see the growth of cities and trade. The west would see decline.

How did the Roman Empire divide into two parts?

The Growth of Christianity in Ancient Rome

The Growth of Christianity in Ancient Rome
In A.D. 392, Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire under the rule of the Roman emperor Theodosius (thee • uh • DOH • shuhs). From this time on, the number of Christians steadily grew.

Writings by Christians played an important role in the growth of the new religion. Many of the letters that Paul wrote to members of the communities he founded were saved and shared with other Christians.

Other Christian writings were grouped to form the Gospels, which describe Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. The word gospel means "good news." The Gospels are made up of four books: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These and other Christian writings were combined to form the New Testament. This part of the Christian Bible tells about the life and teachings of Jesus and about his followers. The first part of the Bible, the Old Testament, contains the books of the Hebrew Bible.

As Christianity grew, it became more organized. Each group chose a single leader called a bishop. Some people believe Peter served as an early bishop. Over time, the role of the bishop of Rome grew into the position of pope, the leader of all the bishops. Today the pope is the head of the Roman Catholic Church. The pope oversees the Catholic Church from the smallest country in the world Vatican City, in Rome.

After the Edict of Milan, Roman emperors and society supported and even encouraged the growth of Christianity. Emperors helped Christians build churches and supported their work.

Since Christianity's early days, there have been many divisions. The first of these was when the Christian Church split into the Roman Catholic Church in the west and the Eastern Orthodox Church in the east. Another important split came with the beginning of Protestantism in the 1500s. At the same time, the religion has seen tremendous growth. Today almost 2 billion people around the world follow the religion of Christianity.

How did the support of Roman emperors affect Christianity?

Ancient Rome and Christianity

Rome and the New Religion
Christianity caused concern for Roman leaders. The Romans allowed people to have other religious beliefs as long as they also worshipped the Roman gods. The Roman leaders believed that their gods would become angry because the Christians did not worship them. Therefore, they began to persecute the Christians. To persecute someone is to punish him or her for following certain religious beliefs. Often they ordered the death of Christians who would not worship the Roman gods. Christians were killed in cruel ways such as by crucifixion.

Pliny the Younger, a Roman government official in Asia Minor around A.D. 112, explained his actions in this way:

With those who have been brought before me as Christians, I have acted as follows: I asked them whether they were Christians. If they answer yes twice, I threaten to punish them and ask a third time. Those who continue to say yes, I order executed. ... I dismissed those who said they had never been Christians and those who offered sacrifices to our gods.

Roman persecution did not stop Christianity. In fact, the persecutions made many Christians more determined to hold on to their beliefs. Many Christians became martyrs (MAR»terz), or people who willingly died for their beliefs. Polycarp (A.D. 69-155), an 86-year-old bishop from Asia Minor, was one such martyr. When he was brought before the Roman governor, he was given several chances to give up his beliefs. Polycarp refused, saying he had served Jesus for many years and would not stop. The example of Polycarp and other martyrs helped other Christians to remain strong in their beliefs.

In A.D. 313 the persecution of Christians came to an end. This happened because of the actions of the new Roman emperor, Constantine (KAHN »stuhn* teen).
The year before, Constantine, then a general in the Roman army, had fought another k    general for the right to become emperor.

Their armies faced each other at Rome's Milvian Bridge. Just before the battle something happened that changed Constantine's life. He reported that the Greek letters for the word Christ chi rho appeared in the sky above him. Over these letters were written the Latin words in hoc signo vinces, which means "In this sign you will conquer." So Constantine ordered his soldiers to paint crosses symbols for Jesus on .    their shields. Constantine won the battle and became emperor.

Because of this victory, Constantine believed that the God of the Christians was a powerful god. In A.D. 313 he issued the Edict of Milan, which made Christianity an accepted religion. Throughout his reign as emperor, Constantine supported Christianity.

How did Roman persecution affect the Christians?


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