Unit 2 – Test 1, Study Guide and Review Incan Accomplishments



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Unit 2 – Test 1, Study Guide and Review
Incan Accomplishments

-They had the largest empire along the Andes coast of South America

-They built over 14,000 miles of roads and bridges

-They built earthquake proof buildings without using metal tools or cement/concrete

-They built aqueducts which brought water hundreds of miles to dry land

-They kept careful, organized records by taking an annual census and thus taxing appropriately

-Their government helped the elderly, sick and poor from the collected taxes. It organized which villagers would work on roads, buildings, and bridges

-They used quipus to keep records mathematically

-They used runners who kept the empire informed daily running over 250 miles, from town to town

However, they did not have a written language or money as we know either.


Aztec Accomplishments

-They built a magnificent city on a lake

-They were master farmers creating chinampas, floating gardens

-They used artificial irrigation for their farming

-They used a written language, hieroglyphics

-They used a daily calendar based on the Mayan calendar

-Their scientists were able to predict eclipses and movement of the planets

-Their city of Tenochtitlan was like NYC of today with its culture, zoos, museums, temples, wide streets and busy markets selling food jewelry made of silver and gold

-Their fierce army protected merchants as they traveled through the empire creating an economy

-Their doctors made over 1,000 medicines from plants and herbs

However, they were brutal, often enslaving their enemies or using them for human sacrifice
Mayan Accomplishments

-They built great cities which were religious, economic and cultural centers of the day

-They were great scientists studying the planets and stars, creating two calendars, one was a daily calendar and one for their celebrations/holidays

-They were great mathematicians, being one of the first to include the value and having a symbol for zero

-They built great pyramids and temples

-They had their own written language, hieroglyphics



Unit 2’s Vocabulary Review


  1. Many early civilizations used a written language of hieroglyphs (symbols and signs), such as the Maya and Aztec.



  1. Instead of using a calculator to add up numbers, the Inca used quipus, colored cords with knots tied into them to represent numbers.




  1. The Inca kept excellent census records (population count) with their quipus, but most were destroyed during their conquest.




  1. A wave of Spanish conquistadors (conquerors) in the early 1500s disrupted and destroyed many nations native to the Americas.




  1. Native Americans had no immunities (defenses) to European diseases. This resulted in an unfair battle with the Spanish soldiers and conquistadors.




  1. Some nations or people form alliances in which they have an agreement or truce to look out for and protect each other. Countries of tribes who do this are allies with each other.




  1. The Inca were fighting a civil war (a war within a nation) in the 1520s, which allowed the Spanish to more easily defeat them.




  1. Much like ancient Rome, the Aztec built an empire (expanding nation) in which they conquered other Natives Americans and took their land and resources.




  1. The Inca built great aqueducts (bridges and tunnels to transport water) in order to bring water into their villages from the mountaintops.




  1. Hernan Cortez exploited (took advantage of) the natives from nearby tribes of the Aztecs. Once they aided his battle with the Aztec, the natives were either killed or enslaved.



Inca Empire Review
Introduction: The Incan Empire dates back to about 1200 CE to the little village of Cuzco, located in the Andes (west coast of South America). Most Incans were farmers. As a nation, they used wars and conquest to eventually gain control of Cuzco Valley, which was one of many valleys in found along the Andes.
By the early 1400s their leader Pachacuti became ruler of the Incas by conquering the people of the Andes. He demanded loyalty from everyone in the empire. Those who didn’t show loyalty were removed from the empire. Pachacuti’s son (Topa Inca) followed and helped expand the empire some 2,500 miles from what is now Ecuador to Argentina.
Incan Civilization - the Incas, like the Aztec were excellent farmers. The center the Empire’s government, trade, learning and religion was Cuzco, which was so elaborate that invading Spaniards commented how it was “large enough and handsome enough to compare to any Spanish City.” Only the emperor and nobles lived in the center of the city
Government and Records: The Incan government was carefully organized. They used quipus to maintain their census. This allowed them to tax fairly. Tax was the collection of food from a family’s farm. It should be noted the Incan government used “taxes” to help the poor, sick and elderly. Lastly, local villagers were required to work on government-sponsored projects, which included building roads, bridges, aqueducts, canals and buildings.
Roads, bridges and aqueducts – the Incans built more than 14,000 miles of roads, most times over mountainous roads. The roads were extremely important as they allowed Incan armies to travel, and also allowed the runners/messengers to travel from one to the next town with messages. Roads were valuable for the Incans towards maintaining and keeping their empire. The Incans also made rope bridges across many gorge and steep cliffs of the Andes Mountains. Lastly, they built a series of canals and pipes to irrigate farms, hundreds miles away. They were known as Aqueducts.
Incan buildings – The Incas were masters of building with stone. They did not use metal tools, modern tools or concrete/cement. However, they were able cut and shape stone. The building’s stone was so tight, so close, that a sheet of paper couldn’t fit between any two stones. Machu Picchu, shown to the right, is the most famous of Incan ruins.
Religion - Like the Mayas and Aztecs, Incans believed in many gods and practiced human sacrifice. The sun god, Inti, was their most important god.

Maya & Aztec Review
The Mayan civilization came first and lasted the longest.
Building pyramids and developing an accurate calendar are two achievements of the Maya.
There are many theories about the fall of the Mayan civilization. To begin, the Mayans relied heavily on their king. As time went on, things started to go wrong. There was crop failure from drought and soil erosion. The people turned to their king to save the day. The king would respond with more human sacrifice. These sacrifices did nothing but deplete the population and cause frustration among the people. In turn, the people lost faith in the king. Eventually, the people abandoned, left the cities to live on their own. Today Mayans still live in the surrounding area of their ancestors.
The Aztec and Maya lived in what would be modern day Mexico.
The Aztec doctors used over 1,000 medicines from plants and herbs.
The Aztec mathematicians introduced the value of zero as well as showing it in their work.
The Aztec people were known for many accomplishments, but one thing that they did not do was maintain peace toward their neighboring tribes.

There are many reasons for the fall of the Aztec civilization. The most prominent reason was the lack of immunity by the Aztec towards the diseases of the Spanish. Smallpox killed millions, but the Spanish also had superior weapons, (canons, guns, armor) and the Spanish had horses. Lastly, the few hundred Spanish conquered the tens of thousands Aztec because the Spanish made alliances with Aztec neighbors who had enough of the bullying tactics of the Aztecs.


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