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Civilizations of central and South America

The ancient peoples of America were developed almost in the complete isolation from the remaining peace and, in particular, for this reason they made comparatively few technical discoveries. However, they created civilization with the enormous cities and achieved the salient successes in the skill and the sciences.

The first Americans, apparently, arrived to the continent from Asia of 20-40 thousand years ago. In spite of all efforts of archaeologists, cannot be more accurately dated this event. Approximately 40 thousand years ago of men it settled on all remaining inhabited earth of planet; therefore it is completely probable that at the same time it moved also through the isthmus, which still connected up that time Siberia and Alaska.

Development in the isolation

This isthmus existed during the last glacial period, when in the enormous polar caps this quantity of water was forged by ice, that the level of world ocean was considerably lower than now. The hunting tribes, which by small groups passed to another continent in search of the output, were, apparently, the trailblazers of America. For thousands years they settled on entire continent and somewhere by 9000. B.C. they reached Tierra del Fuego.

Icy caps melted after approximately thousand years, isthmus disappeared and was formed the Bering strait, which separated Asia from America. Although late the ancestors of Eskimos reached Alaska on the boats and populated the inhospitable extreme north and Greenland, wide oceans for a long time separated the inhabitants of America from the remaining peace. This fact helps to explain the late origin of civilization on the continent, and that, why ancient Americans did not know how to make such vitally important technical discoveries as, let us say, wheel or alphabetical written language. Moreover, horse, by centuries served as the most valuable “mechanism” in Europe and Asia, was unknown to ancient Americans until in XVI its century leave Spanish [konkistadory]. In view of these reasons the civilizations of America considerably differed from the civilizations of Europe and Asia, and in the absence any monuments of written language much is to this day wrapped by the cover of secret.

Ancient Americans

Having satisfactorily swum across the Atlantic, Columbus was convinced that he reached India, and therefore it named local residents “by Indians”. This name so was fastened to them, in spite of explicit error. In reality American Indians were not even united people. They have many common features - dark-comlexioned skin, high cheek-bones, black hair and eye, the chemical composition of the blood.

However, they striking differed from each other in terms of increase and exterior view, they spoke on hundreds of languages and created the wide variety of customs and beliefs. Between “Indian” tribes there was even less similarity than between any two European peoples at any moment of their history. The fact is that the wide spectrum of natural conditions aggravated these differences, forcing Indians to be adapted to the life in the mountains, in the plains and in the swamps, on the cold spaces of tundra and in the tropical jungle. The Indians of North America (contemporary of Canada and USA) became farmers in the east, hunters in the outskirts of the Great Plain and fishermen in California. Further to the south gradually was formed the settled way of life in the agricultural settlements, based on the cultivation of harvest. Specifically, it in the final analysis gave impetus to the origin of the highly developed cultures of antiquity. Some of them still flourished, when in 1492. Columbus reached the coasts of new light.

Civilization of [olmekov]

First of the known civilizations central America there was the culture of [olmekov] in East Mexico. Its center was located in the extensive region, covered with tropical scaffolding and swamps. Specifically, in these hostile to man mysterious edges immense religious centers grew. Majestic temples there is no time were raised at the apexes of earthen hills. However, in spite of enormous scales, these centers were not present cities, since, although for the participation in the religious rituals the crowds of people here were collected, their permanent population consisted of several hundred priests and temple servants.

With the years wooden temples disappeared from face of the earth, but the colossal rock sculptures of [olmekov] were preserved to the present together with the smaller sculptures from the nephritis, basalt and obsidian. Ancient [vayateli], as a rule, depicted fierce essences - jaguars, eagles and sharks, frequently giving to them human features and creating the directed at the simple Indians horror fantastic means.

Having been finally formed by 1200. B.C., the culture of [olmekov] was extended until 800. B.C. almost in entire central America and Pacific coast, but after 400 years it perished for the unknown reason. However, into the subsequent centuries monumental construction, fantastic sculptures and the gods of [olmekov] continually floated from the nonexistence, attesting to the fact that in central America long time there was a powerful cultural tradition. From the other side, it was not discovered not one written monument of [olmekov], although after the end of [olmekskogo] period, apparently, was soon invented the pictographic letter.

Several centuries later, somewhere about 150 g. A.D., were elevated the first present city of America. The ruins Of [teotiuakana] lie at 30 miles to the northeast of present Mexico City. There is no time this fertile plateau of the valley of Mexico City was the northern part of the territory of [olmekov]. What people lived in this city, so it remained unknown, but this was the majestic complex of pyramids, palaces, apartment buildings and workshops with the regular rectangular planning of blocks. Until now is raised above the neighbourhood its largest monument - 60- meter pyramid of the sun. [Teotiuakan] was undoubtedly large shopping center and by the, possibly, Holy City, since the emperors of [atstekov] after the centuries accomplished there pilgrimages. And nevertheless it to this day remained riddle, since it was preserved no written evidence of its base, history or loss [ok]. of 700 g. A.D.

Considerably greater it is known about the great civilization of [mayya], since this tribe used accessible for the understanding by the form of pictographic letter. It is imprinted in the inscriptions, which immortalized some dates and memorable episodes of their history. [Mayya] lived in [Mayya] lived in peninsula Yucatan (Mexico), which was cut into the Caribbean sea. As in the epoch of [olmekov], the large part of this territory was covered with dense tropical forests; therefore their cutting down and clearing of the earth required incredible labor. When the culture of [mayya] is alien into the decline, their cities of brushwood jungle remained in the obscurity, until they are newly opened in our time, but some of them still wait its original discoverers.

Achievements of [mayya]

The capital of [mayya] Of [chichen]-[Itsa] and other cities were, undoubtedly, created by the highly organized society, in which completely ruled religious cult. As evidence that serve even achievements of [mayya] in mathematics and to [astronomii].[Eti] sciences were almost exceptionally set to the service to the composition of the complex calendars, calculated for thousands years - obvious sign of the fact that [mayya] were obsessed by the concept of time, giving to it special religious sense. At the same time [mayya] did not leave the especially salient monuments of their spirituality. The craftsmen of this people continued traditions general for central America, with the most great craftsmanship depicting of the supernatural essences in the form of the terrible fantastic hybrids of classical period (300-800 A.D.) and using in this case the simplest rock instruments. It is later, probably under the effect of the [toltekskikh] conquerors arrived from Mexico, [mayya] adopted the custom of [prineseniya] of prisoners into the victim to gods. The territory of the propagation of the culture of [mayya] increasingly more became narrow in the course of time, bloom was changed into slow extinction,

but in it life still glimmered until Spaniards finally destroy it in XVI century. Meanwhile dispatch wars and invasions of different tribes by your turn. For the change to [toltekam] into the valley of Mexico City arrived [atsteki]. At first, approximately in 1300 ; newcomers were fastened only on a small plot of the earth, but during two subsequent centuries they knew how to subjugate the tribes of practically entire central America. Their expansion still continued, when the Spaniards arrived in the new light opened “[atstekskuyu] civilization”. However, [atsteki] only by a few enriched ancient culture, after entering into the history more as unsurpassed soldiers.

Bloody is the religion of [atstekov]

[Atsteki] confessed the cult of bloody offerings, which reached the monstrous extremes, when one time thousands of people were sacrificed. The need of [atstekov] for a constant inflow of prisoners for the accomplishment of bloody rituals made by their martial people, constantly prepared for the battle. The tribes subjugated by [atstekami] hated their gentlemen. Therefore, in spite of scales and might, the empire of [atstekov], in the essence, was very fragile. With the expansion of [atstekov] on the north practically coincided in the time the creation in South America of the empire of Incas, which on the present measures stretched from North Ecuador to central Chile. Similar to [atstekam], Incas appeared in the Andes at the end the continuance of development. [Andskie] tribes cultivated the earth, [vrezayas] by gigantic stepped terraces into the slopes of mountains, strengthening by their rock walls and systems complex irrigating systems. They also made colorful cloths and ceramics, amazing adornments from gold, silver and other metals.

Besides such alpine civilizations as empire [Tiauanako] ([ok]. of 500-1000 A.D.), in this region flourished the number coastal cultures, for example, to urine and Cima.

Inheriting the centuries-old traditions of local tribes, Incas nevertheless created our own state with the rigid regulation up to the least trifles. Emperor [Sap]'s will an Inca everywhere implicitly was carried out. Thousands of miles of outstanding roads connected the distant possessions; to news they were reached by runners, who changed each other on entire route. Although Incas did not have their written language, detailed orders and information were fixed with the special system of knots on the many-colored threads, or “pile”.

Iron administration of the Incas

Simple people was under the control rigid control and. People it was not permitted to move into another dwelling, they paid heavy taxes, were carried out military and working duties. From the other side, the power of the state and the effective distribution system of foodstuffs made life relative to safe.

Incas were great architects, about which testify the ruins of their ancient capital piece and concealed in the mountains city I dip -[Pikchu]. The rock blocks of [obtesany] are urged without the lime solution with such accuracy, that between them you will not push through even blade of knife.

Almost there are no doubts about the fact that the group of Vikings reached America coasts and temporarily settled about 1000 g. A.D. or broke camp in Newfoundland. But this episode did not " have a continuation”. Entirely different matter was the journey of Christopher Columbus through the Atlantic in 1492 ; since the appearance of Europeans in the new light led to the catastrophic consequences for [atstekov], Incas and all other American Indians.


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