Saylor.org's Early Globalizations: East Meets West (1200s-1600s)/The Americas: Aztecs and Incas

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When Christopher Columbus landed in the New World in 1492, he mistakenly referred to the native inhabitants as “Indians,” thus implying that all peoples in the Americas shared the same identity. But that was not the case. During the postclassical era, also known as the medieval period, civilization in the Americas was comprised of many diverse societies that developed largely in isolation from the rest of the world. However, two major centralized civilizations emerged during this period: the Aztecs and the Incas.

In this unit, we will begin by studying a broad overview of the Aztec Empire, which emerged in what is now called Central America. We will then examine more specific aspects of the Aztecs—their religion, society, and culture, as well as their great city at Tenochtitlan. We will then examine the emergence of the Inca Empire in the Andes Mountains of South America.

Panorama Macchu Picchu