Inca and Maya Cultural Systems

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Final Exam

PART I: Inca and Maya Cultural Systems To one who is not familiar with the ancient peoples of the Americas, the Maya and the Inca could be misjudged as two similar civilizations. Although links do exist between all the civilizations, the Maya and the Inca are not as parallel as say the Maya and Aztec. The Maya civilization occupied what are now Guatemala, Belize, and the Mexican states of Tabasco, Chiapas and the entire Yucatan Peninsula. The earliest records of the Maya civilization show that they were already growing crops around 1,800 BC with the "golden era" of the Maya civilization occurring between 250 and 900 AD. More than 40 cities, some of which had populations of more than 50,000 existed in this time. The Incas reigned along the west coast of South America with the empire’s center in present day Peru from approximately 1476 to 1534 AD. According to M. Moseley’s book, The Incas and their Ancestors, The Inca’s population is estimated to be over 10 million at the height of the empire; however, these people were not technically Incas, but Inca subjects. Interestingly, the term ‘Inca’ only encompasses a small group of kindred, less than 40,000 individuals who built their great Andean empire by force. The ‘subjects’ were not Incas because the Incas were a closed ethnic body. Nonetheless, the differences between the Inca and Maya go much further than just regional and time differences. Each society’s religion, ideological, and cosmological beliefs played a major role in shaping their culture and all three aspects are interconnected within each culture. These beliefs are the most scared traits in the two civilizations. The Incas worshiped many gods, but held the sun, Inti, to be the highest deity and considered themselves to be the sun's representative on earth. The Temple of the Sun in Cuzco was the center of the state…...

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