Ancient Civilizations


  • In the 15th and 16th century the Aztecs ruled a large empire in what is now central and southern Mexico.
  • The origin of the Aztec people is uncertain, but elements of their tradition suggest that they were a tribe of hunters and gatherers on the northern Mexican plateau.
  • The Aztecs settled on islands in Lake Texcoco
  • The Aztecs cultivated all available land, developed irrigation systems, and reclaimed swampland.


  • The Incas were South American Indians who ruled a large empire at the time of the Spanish conquest. Their empire expanded along the Pacific Coast and Andean highlands from the northern border of modern day Ecuador to the Maule River in central Chile.
  • The Incas began their conquest in the early 15th century and within a century they gained control of an Andean population of about 12 million people.
  • Incas left no written records of however the information that is known about them now is from oral reports that people memorized and wrote down after the Spanish conquest.
  • Inca rulers were thought to rule with an iron fist: meaning they used harsh control to lead the Incas.
  • The Incas' economy was based on agriculture. They grew many crops such as: corn, white and sweet potatoes, tomatoes, squash, peanuts (ground nuts), chili peppers, cocoa, and cotton. Animals were also raised by the Incas such as: guinea pigs, llamas, dogs, ducks, pigs, and alpacas.
  • Under Mayta Capac, the Incas began expanding their empire, attacking, and looting neighboring villages.
  • Although the Incas' technology and architecture were well developed they were not very original.
  • Many of the Incas' irrigation systems, palaces, temples, and fortification can still be found in the Andes.
  • Almost all men farmed to produce their clothes and food.
  • The Incas' built a networking road with interconnecting links but, the roads were strictly used for military and government business.
  • The Incas had a very organized religion and part of religious ceremonies involved human and animal sacrifices.
  • The Incas' religion came to an end when Spanish conquers destroyed the Incan religious institutions as part of a campaign to get rid of idolatry.

The picture below is an example of Inca mummification. The Incas like the Egyptians mummify the deceased.