Aztec and Incas

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 8 October 2016

Aztec and Incas

The Aztec and Inca Empires arose 1000 to 1500 century C. E. in Mesoamerica and South America. The Aztecs arrived in central Mexico approximately the fifteenth century. The Incas settled in the region around Lake Titicaca about mid-thirteenth century and by the late fifteenth century, the Incas had built an enormous empire stretching more the 4,000 kilometers. Both empires were enormous, the Incan Empire ended up being the largest state in South America. Neither empire had developed a written language, but they did come up with a way to remember things and keep records.

They did both build temples to worship their gods and roads were built too. The political systems and cultural structures of both regions helped them to prosper and become empires. When the Aztecs arrived in central Mexico they settled on an island in a marshy region of Lake Texcoco and founded Tenochtitlan, which would become their capital. The lake harbored plentiful supplies of fish, frogs, and waterfowl. Lake Texcoco also enabled the Aztecs to develop the productive style of agriculture called chinampas.

Through a triple alliance with Texcoco and Tlacopan, tribute was extracted from the people. The Aztecs received food crops and manufactured items from the nearby peoples. Tribute obligations were sometimes very oppressive for subjects. Along with the success of the chinampas, the Aztecs developed a system of writing based on symbols. The Aztec social structure was based fully on warrior elites. The Aztecs looked upon all males as potential warriors and showered the military elites with wealth and honor. The Aztecs also performed bloodletting rituals to the war god.

These rituals involved human sacrifices. These rituals were also why priests played a big part in these rituals and that maybe why the played such a key part in the social structure. The Incas didn’t have a successful agricultural production like the chinampas but what they did have is a bartered surplus of agricultural production and handcrafted goods. Long distance trade fell under the supervision of the central government and administrator’s organized exchanges of the agricultural products. The Incas came up with their own writing system called quipu.

Quipu consisted of an array of small cords of various and lengths, all suspended from large thick cord, unlike the Aztecs system which was just symbols. The Incan social structure was based upon hereditary aristocrats, consisting of rulers, priests, and peasant cultivators. Like the Aztecs the Incas performed bloodletting rituals, the sacrificial subject was just an animal instead of a human. The Incans considered the sun as a god and as their major deity, called Inti. They also recognized the moon, stars, planets, rain, and other natural forces as divine.

Many of the differences between the Aztecs and the Incas benefited the two by becoming successful, striving, powerful regions. The Aztec and Incan empires both had strong armies. In the Aztec empire by the early fifteenth century the Aztecs were powerful enough to overcome their immediate neighbors and demand tribute. During the middle decades of the fifteenth century, the military elite that ruled much of Tenochtitlan, the Aztecs launched ambitious campaigns of imperial expansion. Know as “the Obsidian Serpent” Itzcoatl and Motecuzoma advanced first to Oaxaca in southwestern Mexico.

After capturing Oaxaca and slaying many of the inhabitants, the Aztecs began to populate Oaxaca with colonists. In the Inca Empire, in about 1438 the Incan ruler Pachacuti launched a series of military campaigns that enable the Incas to expand their territory even more. Pachacuti fought fierce battles and the campaigns he started we long and very brutal. Pachacuti first extended Inca control over the southern and northern highlands and then captured Chimu. Along with strong military, similar religious beliefs required the same type of worship places.

These two empires built temples as the place to perform rituals. Temples are a high structure and the closer the priests were to the heavens the easier it was for the gods to hear them. Also both empires were polytheistic, meaning they believed in more than one god. The road system of Incas was the best road system ever constructed before modern times. Two roads linked the Inca realm from north to south. The Aztecs also had roads, to make the transportation of goods less time consuming and simpler. Dating from 1000 to 1500 C. E. he Aztec and Incas were able to develop and keep strong and powerful empires.

They had a lot of control over a lot of land and they kept on expanding as the populations grew. Their armies were significantly strong and were able to conquer land. Also both empires were agriculturally strong. The Incas had an irrigation system and the Aztecs had the chinampas system was very productive. Since both empires believed in more than one god, and gods were supposed to be honored, bloodletting rituals were performed so that the gods would grant the peoples wishes.


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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 8 October 2016

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