Ancient Latin American Civilizatioins.

Essay by kt8xx8Junior High, 8th grade April 2003

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Throughout history, great civilizations have existed in different areas in the world. In Latin America, there were the Mayans, Incas, and Aztecs. These three civilizations were each great and special in their own ways. They were empires, and as you shall soon learn each of them had the similarity of greatness, and yet were one unto themselves.

The Mayans

The Mayans were located on the Yucatan Peninsula between 2400 B.C. and 900 AD. Most of them were farmers or traders. They had many great achievements, including being advanced in science (they were able to predict eclipses and had a very accurate yearly calendar), being advanced in mathematics (they developed the concept of the zero), writing (they had ideographs, which are similar to the Egyptian's hieroglyphics), elaborate architecture (they built pyramids that had flat stairs leading up to a temple on a flat top), and a centralized government.

The specific cause of the decline of the Mayan empire, around 900 AD, is unknown.

The Incas

The Incas were located in Peru. The height of the empire was in the 15th century. Legend has it that the Incas are people who are descendants from the sun. They built a system of roads that helped maintain the large empire, and invented ingenious ways of irrigating and terracing to aid them in their farming. The Incas called their empire "The Land of the Four Quarters". Every year on June 24th the Incas celebrate the Festival of the Sun, to remember the old empire and to give thanks to the gods.

The Aztecs

The Aztecs, like the Mayans, were also located on the Yucatan Peninsula, but unlike the Mayans, occupied the area from 1200 to 1521 AD. They had unique architecture and farming techniques, including pyramid-style plaster buildings, and...