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Late Middle Ages timeline – 1100-1500 AD

By | 2017-10-13T13:09:23+00:00 September 10th, 2017|Central Asia, History, When|

The Mongol court (1200s AD) After the warming trend of 1000 AD came a colder period around 1300 AD called the Little Ice Age. Again, people felt the effects around the world. In Central Asia, the Mongols rose to power in the late 1200s AD. They conquered China, Russia, northern India, and most of the Islamic Empire and united them into one huge [...]

Central and South American religion

By | 2017-09-10T10:53:07+00:00 September 10th, 2017|Central America, Religion, South America|

Maya Corn King on a plate The people who lived in South and Central America before 1500 were polytheistic - they believed in many different gods. Because they lived pretty near one another, and ate many of the same foods, some of their gods were pretty much the same. The Mayan Corn God, for example, [...]

Aztec gods and rituals – Central American religion

By | 2017-09-09T23:48:53+00:00 September 9th, 2017|Central America, Religion|

The Aztec god of seeds, Xipe Totec (ca 1500 AD) Aztec people, like the people of China, India, or Africa at this time, were polytheistic - they had many gods. Many of these gods were parts of nature. Coatlicue was the god of creation. Xipe Totec was the seeds to be planted, that would grow into food (like Persephone for the Greeks). Tlaloc [...]

Maya writing – Ancient Central America

By | 2017-09-09T23:45:08+00:00 September 9th, 2017|Central America, Literature|

A page from the Madrid Codex It's possible that the Maya learned how to write from the Olmec, but there aren't any definite examples of early Olmec writing, so it might also have been the Maya who invented writing in the Americas. Like most other writing systems, Maya writing is a syllabary, not an [...]

Aztec language, writing, and literature

By | 2017-09-09T23:39:39+00:00 September 9th, 2017|Central America, Literature|

An Aztec book, or codex (ca 1500 AD) The Aztec system of writing was very much like the Maya system. Probably the Aztec people learned how to write from the Maya. Aztec writers wrote their literature in books, which folded like a fan. We call these books codices (one codex, two or more codices). Aztec writers [...]

Who were the Zapotec? Central American history

By | 2017-09-09T18:05:48+00:00 September 9th, 2017|Central America, History|

A Zapotec head The Zapotec civilization, like the Maya, grew up in the region that had been ruled by the Olmec, after the collapse of Olmec power about 500 BC. The main city of the Zapotec kings was Monte Alban (in modern Mexico). The Zapotec developed their own hieroglyphic writing system, possibly building on earlier Olmec [...]

Who were the Aztec? Central American history

By | 2017-10-14T14:53:29+00:00 September 8th, 2017|Central America, Where|

Aztec brazier (about 1300 AD) Beginning in the 1100s AD, the Medieval Warming Period seems to have made it too hard to live where the Mexica were in North America. So the Mexica people moved south to what is now Mexico. The Mexica were relatives of the Shoshone and Ute people who lived in the Rocky Mountains. After some moving around [...]

Where does chewing gum come from? Central America

By | 2017-09-08T16:16:48+00:00 September 8th, 2017|Central America, Food|

Sapodilla tree - where chewing gum comes from Nobody knows when the first person began to chew gobs of sap from trees, but it was probably before they were really even people. Certainly somebody was chewing gobs of tree sap as early as 3000 BC in Finland. People also chewed gum in ancient Greece, early North America, [...]

South American and Central American architecture

By | 2017-09-08T15:22:56+00:00 September 8th, 2017|Architecture, Central America, South America|

Olmec Pyramid, La Venta, Mexico (500 BC) The earliest big buildings from South America are in Ecuador and Peru, along the Pacific coast. The Norte Chico people and the Valdivia people built stone temples there as early as 3500 BC. Later on, people also built stone buildings in Central America (modern Mexico). Olmec people built them about 1150 [...]

Mexico and colonization – Central American history

By | 2017-09-08T14:50:54+00:00 September 8th, 2017|Central America, History|

Tenochtitlan under attack (painted in the 1600s) In 1500 AD, the Aztec  controlled most of what is now Mexico. People also called them the Mexica. In 1519, the Aztec ruler, Moctezuma the Younger, was surprised to hear that white men on ships had shown up out of nowhere. Moctezuma invited the strangers to his capital city, [...]