American Civilization Essay

Submitted By heart33
Words: 733
Pages: 3

By the early 16th century, three very important civilizations had developed. The Aztecs, Maya, and the Incas. The societies were characterized by vast mineral wealth, large urban centers, and ritualized religions. The three civilizations eventually helped to expand trade into Asia, Africa, and Europe. Soon after that, Columbus crossed the Atlantic with his men, and they discovered many islands and expanded their knowledge of the America’s. This point in history marks new civilizations that developed, establishing trade, and discovering land. Around 1325 C.E. the Aztecs, who called themselves Mexica, built their capital on the site of present-day Mexico City. The Aztecs picked up local residents knowledge of irrigation and cultivation and adopted their written language. In order to keep their society running, the Aztecs expanded their trade networks into surrounding areas. The Maya had slowly settled the Yucatan peninsula and the rain forests of present-day Guatemala. This occurred around 900 B.C.E. and 300 B.C.E. They developed large irrigation systems for water storage. Farmers worked the fields day and night to keep people fed. Men worked hard on building huge stone temples for rulers. Unfortunately, around 800 B.C.E. the Mayan civilization started to decline. The Incas developed an equally impressive civilization in the Andes Mountains along the Pacific coast. The Incas controlled some 16 million people. Incas made expansive road systems and garrisons to ensure the flow of food, trade goods, and soldiers from their capital at Cuzco. The key to Inca success was the cultivation of fertile mountain valleys. I think the complex societies that emerged in the Americas were made possible by the establishment of crop systems, the domestication of animals, and the development of tools. All of these things guaranteed population growth and productivity allowing for goods to be traded. All of this knowledge was then passed on to Europe when it was part of a global trade network. Portugal tried to pursue long-distance trade because they were cut off from the Mediterranean by Italian city-states. Portuguese rulers sought another trade route to India and the Far East. Prince Henry was the powerful young leader in Portugal at this time, and he gathered information from astronomers, geographers, mapmakers, and craftsmen. He then launched a systematic campaign of exploration, observation, shipbuilding, and long-distance trade that revolutionized Europe. Later on Portugal was trading in gold, ivory, and slaves from West Africa. Portugal built the Elmina Castle, which became the biggest trading post for all nations. I believe that Portugal being cut off by city-states only made them stronger. It shows that a weak state or country can come back from being hurt in some way. Also, having a powerful leader like Prince Henry put them in an even better situation. Teamwork can get things done. Although establishing trade was a major part of…