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7th Grade World History

The Americas

Ancient Rome
Ancient Islam
Ancient Africa
Ancient China
Ancient Japan
The Americas
Medieval Europe
The Renaissance
The Reformation



North and South America make up the region that we call the Americas.  high mountains, desert plateaus, grassy plains, and forests make up the northern continent.  In the north of this continent, the climate is cold and icy, but in the south, the climate is much much warmer.  If you head further down you will find a region called Mesoamerica.  In this region, steamy rain forests and active volcanoes form most of the land.  These landforms make the soil very fertile.  This makes the soil very excellent to farm on.  Because of this, the first farmers came form Mesoamerica.

      The Mayan culture was started on Mesoamerica.  Thick forests covered most of the lands.  They grew maize as well as other crops.  These people made the most of their enviornmnet.  For exzample, deer and monkeys were a food source; trees, wood poles, and vines and mud were good materials for building ones house.

     The Aztecs were skilled fighteers that came home to a swampy island in the middle of Lake Texcoco.  On this lake, the Azecs built their capital, Tenochtitlan.  The people built huge causeways so that it would be easier to travel and trade within the empire.  These were made of dirt and rocks.  Surrounding them, there was a whole bunch of water.  But, this water was undrinkable, so they built stone aqueducts to bring fresh water to their city. 

     The Incas started their culture in the South America.  There were some different civilizations.  Such as the Chavin, highlands, the Nazca, Moche, and chimu, coast.  The Incas started in their capital, Cuzco, in the Andes. 

Mayan (green) and Aztec (orange) civalizations            Tenochtitlan



The Mayan culture was very odd.  They worshiped gods related to different aspects of theri life.  The creator was the most important god of all.  They believed that he would take many different forms.  To kee all gods happy, Mayans offered blood.  They would pierce thier tounge or skin for their god.  But on special occassions, they needed more amounts of blood.  So they offered human sacrafice.  These sacrafices occured in a special temple.

     The Aztecs believed that there was a God for everyting.  They believed that sacrafice was necessary to please the gods.  Huitzilopochtli, war god, and Tlaloc, rain god, were the two gods that the Aztecs made the most sacrafices to.  They believed that bloody cermonies on top of the Great Temple in Tenochtitlan would make the gods happy enough to make their crops grow every day.  Priests led these religious ceremnoies.  These victims were P.O.W.  They would sacrafice their hearts and blood to feed and make the gods stronger.  There were as many as 10000 victims sacraficed a year.

     When the Incas captured new people, they made them be the same religion as the original Incas.  But they could worship their same god, this made it so that the conquered people could worship many different gods.  The Sun god was very important to Inca religion.  Every time the sun went down, they preformed a religious ceremony to tie down the sun so it won't dissapear completely.  As a result, they thought that their kings never really died.  Priests brought mummies of kings so they could give them gifts and stuff.  Ceremnoies included sacrafice fo llamas, cloth, food (not humans).  They also believed that  special rocks and mountaintops had magical powers.

shows the bloody sacrafice of the Aztecs



Buildings made of jade or stone were the achievements fodr archutecture.  Slaves built these buildings with their hands and with no metal tools.  They had to move heavy blocks on  logs and then place it on the temple.  They also built astronomy towers to observe the stars.  They figureed out that there are 365 days in the year.  Also, they figuered the cycle of the moon.  So they developed calenders.  They planned religious ceremonies around the calender.  Math was another achievement.  They created the number zero.The Popol Vuh was created to store Mayan records.  Eventhough they passed down their information orally, they needed something to keep when the Spanish arrived.

ancient Mayan calender

     There were many achievements for the Aztecs.  One of which being the floating chinampas.  This was their most greatest acomplishment.  They also made discoveries in creating a calender.  This was used to place the dates for ceremnoies and planting crops.  They also made acheivements in plants.  They found over 100 different plants that could be used as medicine.  The people of this city also created beautiful works of temples and pyramids.  They used hard stone to do such a thing.  They also useed turquoise mosaics to decorate knife handles and masks.  Woman decorated cloth and made it from cooton in their spare time.  The Aztecs had a complete writing system that they used to keep historical records in.  They used a codex to do this.  The pages were made of bark or animal skins.  They also had a very good oral system.  They tested peoples knowledge by doing riddles and seeing if they had paid attention in school.  They passed down stories from one generation from the other.  Soon they wrote these down.

     The Incas were known by their huge stone buildings.  Inca masonry was very high in the quility that even today it is hard to fit a knife between the stone.  They also paved different roads that connected canyons and all parts of the empire.  The artisans made beautiful works of art.  They made a field of maize with all gold and silver.  They also made beautiful tiles that are brightly colored.  There were no written records of anything in the Inca civilization.  They passed down information through song.  These were memorixed by official memorizers.  After the Spanish took control of the Incas, they started to pass info down by stories in spanish. 

End of Mayan Civlization
The civilization began to collapse in the 900's.  Historians think that warfare might have caused the end of this civilization.  This is caused by crops being brought up by the wind, so they wanted more land.  They went to other cities and battled for it.  Another theory is that the kings made too many demands of his people.  They rebelled or left the cities.  Other historians think that the climate might also have played a role in the collapse of the empire.  The Mayans wuffered from a senere drought for about 150 years.  This made it hard to grow foods and feed everybody in the cities.  But all of the researchers agree that no one single event caused the decline.

Fall of the Incas
  • empire had entrenal problems when the Spanish arrived
  • Spanish captured ruler of empire
  • guns and horses gave Spanish military advantage
  • disease weakened the people

As you can see, it is much like the Aztecs fall.



The warfare was in Mayan society was very bloody.  They used hand-to-hand combat with spears, flint, knives, and wooden clubs.  During their fights, they burned enemy towns and destroyed crops.

     The Aztecs were very skilled in the war department of their rise to power.  War was usually got most of there land and power.  They also made alliances with other towns to defeat other less powerful towns.  The towns that the Aztecs conquered had to pay tribute.  Tribute is a payment to a more powerful country.  They had to pay them with cotton, gold, or food.  Hernan Cortes led a small group of conquistadors through Mexico in 1519.  Moctezuma II believed that Cortes was a God because of the legend that said that the goe Quetzalcoatl would be returning to Mexico in 1519.  So he gave Cortes gifts and gold.  Then Cortes came back and took him captive and forced the Aztrec to declare war.  Cortes and his men were driven out of their country only later to return with indiana allies to conquer Tenochtitlan.

     The Incas conquered alot of people.  They put a leader in charge of each tribe they conquered so they wouldn't gain too much power.  They also made children come to the capital to be taught about Inca government and religion.  Then they went back to their home village to rule.  The Incas were very smart.  They used one universal language to communitcate with everybody, Quechua.  They wrote all the records in the quipus.  The fighting was what had really killed this civilization.  Two sons Atahualpa and Huascar, fought for the thrown of the Inca ruler.  Atahualpa won but had destroyed his empire.  His troubles didn't stop there.  Spanish people came and took him capture and killed 1000 of the Incas.  Pizarro held captrue Atahualpa adn asked for ransome of gold and jewerly.  He killed Atahulapa and gained control of the empire.

Heranan Cortes

The early people of Mesoamerica were home to ruch soils and worm temperatures.  One of the first crops produced in the region was maize, or corn..  Later they learned to grow beans and squash.  Because of these foods, civalizations began to grow.  Ultimately, settlements developed and grew into towns and cities.  Potatoes also began to develop in other cultures as well as maize.
     The Maya cities traded with those opposite of them.  For example, the highland cities traded with the lowland cities.  This was done so that everybody could have the thing they desireed most.  Whether it be jade, obsidian, cotton, or cacao they all wanteded it. 
     The Aztecs had controlled a ginormous trade network.  Merchants carried luxury goods such as gems and rare foods.  Since these merchants dealt with people, Aztec emperors used them as spies to spy on the people of other empires.  There were absolutely no farming areas on the capital.  So to improvise, they bult chinampas, floating gardens.  They did this by putting soil on floating rafts that were anchored to treas in the water.  This, along with huge temples, busy markets, clean streets, and a magnificent palace, made Tenochtitlan the greatest city in the Americas.  When they were at the height, the city had some 200,000 people.
     The Incas jmade their people pay in labor.  This was called the mita.  The government told each household what to do.  Most of the Incas were farmers.  They grew crops like peanuts and maize where it was warm while they grew poutatoes where it was cooler.  Up in the mountains, they raised llamas for meat and wool.  These farmers also had to work on the governments land too, to pay in mita.  Villagers had to produce cloth adn grain fo rthe army.  No merchants or markets were in the Inca civilization.  Instead the government distributed the goods collected from mita.  The leftovers were stored in the capital for emergances.

S.ocial Structure


The Mayan cities had a great life.  They had pyramids, buildings, and temples.  These honored local Mayan kings.  They also had structures to improve their life.  They improved life by paving unpaved roads, building canals to flow water throughout the city, and the shaped hillsides to make a better farm land.  They also had a ball court for people to play apon.  They used heads, shoulders and hips to bounce a hard heavy ball through a high small hoop.  These cities had their own governmnet and their own king.  No ruler united cities into own empire.  The Mayan society ahd tow classes, the upper and lower class.  The upper class was home to many groups of people.  The king held the highest position, while priests, warriors, and merchants were below him.  Kings were believed to be related to God.  So they got pampered with beautiful clothing and jewelry.  Priests were born into their role.  They led religious ceremonies and were the most educated people in the society.  Warriors were the next people in the society.  They participated in battle against rival cities.  Merchants rounded out the upper class.  They controlled transportation and the distribution of goods.  Although, most families were part of the lower class.  Women stayed home and cooked while men went hunting for dinner.  The farmers had to pay the king with their crops.  They also had to serve their country in their time of need.  Slaves were the lowest people in Mayan society.  People who owned money or were orphan children became slaves.  The lower class supported the upper class with food, labor and protection.

     The Aztec society were organized into different groups called calpullis.  Calpullis were families that shared land, schools, and temple.  Each of these elected a leader who took orders form the king.  The king was the most important person in the society.  He lived in luxury with almost 3000 servants.  He was incharge of law, trade and tribut, and warfare.  Aztec nobles helped him with this stuff.  They collected taxes, and were judges when ever they were called upon.  Priests and wariors were just below the king and nobles.  The priests job are listed as followes:

  • keep calendars and decide when to plant crops or perform ceremonies
  • pass down Aztec history and stories to keep tradition alive
  • perform various religious ceremonies, including human sacrafice

The warriors had many duties as well.  They worked hard to capture villages and people.  Because of this, they were highly respected.  Merchant and artisans were not really the upper class.  Merchants traded and brought goods to Aztecs, so they became very rich.  Artisans were very rcih also.  They made beautiful works of art like head dresses and gold jewerly.  Farmers and slaves were considered the lower class of the Aztec society.  Farmers grew maize, beans, and a few other crops.  They were most of the people in the society.  Like the conquered tribes, they had to pay tribute.  They lived in huts outside of Tenchtitlan.  The slaves suffered the most in the society.  Most of the people were P.O.W. (prisoners of war) or people who couldn't pay their debts.  They were sold as laborers to nobles and merchants.  If they didn't obey, then they would be sacraficed to the Gods.

     The Incas had two main classes: upper and lower.  The upper class consits of people from Cuzco while the lower class was the people that were conquered.  The upper class made was made up of the king, priests, and government.  Women took care of children and worked for the government.  Sons went to Cuzco to study and learn.  The yhad many privalges  They lived in stone houses  and wore the best clothes.  Theyt ahd servants and didn't have to pay taxes.  But htey had a duty to keep the people happy.  The lower class constited of farmers, artisans, and servants (no slaves).  Men and women farmed government lands and served in the army, built roads, and worked mines.  Parents taught there children how to work like them.  Special young girls were chosen to go to school to learn how to weave, cook, and learn religion.  They lived in small houses outside of Cuzco.  The law stated that the lowerclass people had to wear plain clothes. 

Aztec king

Aztec King

End of the Aztec Civilization
There were four factors to the Aztecs fall: aliances, weapons and horses, geography, and disease.  The first factor was the Spanish alliances.  Malinche helped the Spaniards by interperating for him.  She helped him make alliances with tribes that were conquered by the Aztecs.  They gave Cortesn supplies, information, and warriors to help defeat the Aztecs.  The Spanish weapons also helped their victory.  They brought armor, cannons, and swords, and horses.  They were afraid of these items.  Geography was the third item.  They blocked Tenochtitlan's causeways, bridges, and waterways to cut off drinking water and other supplies.  Disease was the final factor for the Aztecs death.  Thej Spanish brought smallpox with them.  This swept through the communities and wipped out all of the people.

Jeremiah 29:11 "'For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
Joshua 1:9"'Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  
Do not be terrified; 
Do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.'"
Isaiah 40:28-31 "'Have you never heard? Have you never understood?The Lord is the everlasting God,the Creator of all the earth.He never grows weak or weary.No one can measure the depths of his understanding.29 He gives power to the weakand strength to the powerless.30 Even youths will become weak and tired,and young men will fall in exhaustion.31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.They will soar high on wings like eagles.They will run and not grow weary.They will walk and not faint.'"