Answer to Question #186219 in History for Feby Abraham

Question #186219

Explain -Incan and Aztec empires: Incan and Aztec migrations and foundation myths; economic foundations and tribute; record-keeping and writing systems; infrastructures; political systems; agriculture and farming technologies; urban centers; links between politics and religion—monumental architecture; the importance of sacrifice in Aztec religion and politics.

Expert's answer

The Inca Empire (Quechua: Tawantinsuyu, lit. "Four parts united"), alternately recognized as the Incan Empire and the Inka Empire, was pre-Columbian America's greatest empire. The city of Cusco served as the empire's administrative, diplomatic, and military base. The Inca civilization began in the early 13th century in the Peruvian highlands. In 1572, the Spanish captured its only fortress. Between 1438 and 1533, the Incas incorporated a vast portion of western South America, based on the Andes Mountains, by a combination of invasion and peaceful assimilation. At its height, the kingdom united Peru, western Ecuador, western and south-central Bolivia, northwest Argentina, a substantial part of modern-day Chile, and the south westernmost tip of Colombia into a state equivalent to Eurasia's ancient empires. Quechua was the government's formal tongue. Numerous indigenous modes of worship continued in the state, the majority of which were centered on indigenous holy Huacas, but the Inca leadership promoted sun worship of Inti – their sun god – and elevated it over other cults such as Pachamama. The Incas believed that their leader, Sapa Inca, was the "son of the light."

           The Aztecs settled in Mesoamerica at the turn of the 13th century as a nomadic group from northern Mexico. The Aztecs arose as the ruling power in central Mexico from their majestic capital city, Tenochtitlan, establishing an intricate civil, political, religious, and economic structure that eventually placed much of the region's city-states under their influence in the 15th century. In 1521, invaders headed by the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés overthrew the Aztec Empire and conquered Tenochtitlan, putting Mesoamerica's last great indigenous culture to an end. The Aztecs established a three-way coalition with the Texcocans and Tacubans in 1428, led by Itzcoatl, to overcome their region's most dominant enemies, the Tepanec, and conquer their capital of Azcapotzalco. Montezuma (Moctezuma) I, Itzcoatl's heir who assumed control in 1440, was a great warrior who was hailed as the "Founder of the Aztec Kingdom." By the early 16th century, the Aztecs had consolidated control of up to 500 minor states and a population of between 5 to 6 million citizens, mostly by invasion or trade. Tenochtitlán had a peak population of over 140,000 people, making it Mesoamerica's most densely populated region.

           Numerous elements of the Aztec culture were shared with other Mesoamerican faiths, such as the Mayans, most prominently the ritual of human sacrifice. In the Aztec empire's large towns, majestic mosques, palaces, plazas, and sculptures exemplified the civilization's unwavering loyalty to the numerous Aztec gods, including Huitzilopochtli (god of battle and the sun) and Quetzalcoatl ("Feathered Serpent"), a Toltec god who played numerous positions in the Aztec religion throughout the centuries. The Great Temple, or Temple Mayor, was devoted to Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc, the rain deity, in the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan.

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