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HIST102: Early Globalizations - East Meets West (1200s-1600s)

Unit 3: The Americas: Aztecs and Incas   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.

Unit 3 Time Advisory
This unit will take you 2.5 hours to complete.
 
☐    Subunit 3.1: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.2: 1 hour

Unit3 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Identify some of the major events and milestones in the history of the Aztec and Inca Empires.
  • Compare the sources of each empire’s strength as well as their political, social, and cultural traditions.

3.1 Rise of the Aztecs   - Reading: Boundless: “Tenoctitlan” Link: Boundless: “Tenoctitlan” (PDF)

 Instruction: This article discusses the emergence of the Aztec
Empire in Mexico and describes its great capital city of
Tenochtitlan.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to Boundless and the original version can be found
[here](https://www.boundless.com/art-history/americas-after-1300/aztecs/tenoctitlan/). 

3.1.1 Aztec Society and Culture   - Reading: Connexions: Jack E. Maxfield’s “A Comprehensive Outline of World History: America: AD 1401 - 1500” Link: Connexions: Jack E. Maxfield’s “A Comprehensive Outline of World History: America: AD 1401 - 1500” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please read this select section and study the culture
of the Aztec Empire of Mexico at its greatest extent.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution 2.0 Generic
license](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/). It is
attributed to Jack E. Maxfield and the original version can be found
[here](http://cnx.org/content/m17798/latest/).

3.1.2 Tenochtitlan   - Reading: Metropolitan Museum of Art: Heidi King’s “Tenochtitlan” Link: Metropolitan Museum of Art: Heidi King’s “Tenochtitlan” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of this webpage in order to get a sense of the scale and sophistication of this prominent Aztec city.
 
Note on the Text: This article is written by Heidi King, who is the Research Associate in the Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

Subunit 3.1 Assessment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation's "Reading Questions for Subunit 3.1" Link: The Saylor Foundation's "Reading Questions for Subunit 3.1" (PDF)

 Instructions: Once you have worked through all of the assigned
resources in the subunit above, please open the linked PDF and
respond to all questions.  When you are done--or if you are
stuck--please check your work against The Saylor Foundation's
"[Guide to Responding to Reading Questions for Subunit
3.1](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/HIST102-Assignment3.1-GTR-FINAL.pdf)"
(PDF).

3.2 World of the Incas   - Web Media: PBS NOVA: “Secrets of Lost Empires”: “The Inca Empire”

Link:  PBS NOVA: “Secrets of Lost Empires”: “[The Inca
Empire](http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/2404inca.html)” (HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Please read the transcript of this video to get an
overview of the most advanced civilization of the Americas, the
Incas—with an emphasis on Incan stone building.    
 Note on the Media: This short documentary gives insight into the
geographical location of the Incan civilization.  Also, the film
explores Incan engineering with the use of stone, featuring the
opinions of prominent anthropologists.  This documentary was
originally part of NOVA, the televised science series on PBS.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.2.1 Inca Society, Religion, and Expansion   - Reading: Boundless: “The Incas” Link: Boundless: “The Incas” (PDF)

 Instructions: This article will discuss three important aspects of
Incan culture: Machu Picchu, which was the administrative and
religious center for the Inca Empire; the production of textiles
among the Inca and the influence of earlier cultures on Inca art;
and the Inca craft production and the cultural significance of
metals.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to Boundless and the original version can be found
[here](https://www.boundless.com/art-history/americas-after-1300/incas/).

3.2.2 The Incas and European Explorers   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of Pedro de Cieza de Léon’s Chronicles of the Incas, 1540 Link: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of Pedro de Cieza de Léon’s Chronicles of the Incas (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire excerpt to get a sense of Léon’s descriptions of the Incas.
 
Note on the text: In this 1540 text, the conquistador Pedro de Cieza de Léon describes the nature of the Inca economy.  Less directly, the author illustrates the hierarchy of Inca society.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above

  • Assessment: Pearson Education’s World Civilizations: AP Edition: “Chapter 11, Multiple Choice Quiz Link: Pearson Education’s World Civilizations: AP Edition: “Chapter 11, Multiple Choice Quiz” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please take the assigned multiple choice quiz on this webpage in order to assess your understanding of Americas on the eve of European invasion.  Click the “Submit Answers for Grading” at the bottom of the page to go to the answer key for the quiz.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 3 Essay: The Incan and Aztec Empires” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 3 Essay: The Incan and Aztec Empires” (HTML)

    Instructions: This is an ungraded activity. If you choose to complete the activity, you may record your answer anywhere you like. You do have the option to use the link above to save your answers on Saylor.org, though you will need to create a free account in order to do so --  this will only take a minute, and you may do so here.

    • Please describe in this essay what historians and archaeologists have learned about Incan and Aztec civilization based on research conducted at Tenochtitlan and Macchu Picchu.

      Tips for getting started: This assignment asks you to demonstrate what you have learned about the efforts of historians and archaeologists to reconstruct the world of the ancient Aztec and Incan peoples from the remains of their great cities. What do these findings suggest about the religious beliefs, politics, social systems and/or everyday life in these empires? It may also be interesting for you to indicate the types of questions that scholars continue to seek answers for in their research.