Religion and politics in societies divided by classes of Teotihuacan. The buildings housed the religious leaders and royalty. Farmers lived in nearby villages. With the introduction of improved agricultural techniques such as irrigation and chinampas are producing enough food for the urban population grew dramatically.
From Teotihuacan, the dynamic center of religion, commerce and art, the Aztec culture was expanded to many regions of Mesoamerica. The terms of a military nature is rarely found in the multitude of frescoes of the city, which means that trade, not war, had a dominant role in the minds of the Aztecs.
Many elements of the culture of Teotihuacan spread among other peoples: the hieroglyphic writing, calendar systems, architectural styles, agricultural techniques and the worship of specific deities such as Quetzalcoatl (the Plumed Serpent) and Tlaloc (the Rain God), and the practice of human sacrifice.
The city also exported artifacts, utensils, tools, jewelry, clothing, sculptures, obsidian and pottery tall, thin and orange.
The decline of Teotihuacan was manifested in the eighth century. Drought, a crisis in agriculture, fires, rebellions, invasions, all of which played their part in this decline. The ruins of the city were called back to the Aztecs "the abode of the gods". The South-West stretching from southern Utah and Colorado, through Arizona,
A corner of New Mexico and Texas to northern Mexico. In the arid and rugged terrain of mountains, canyons and desert (before contact with the white man), reached its highest development in the north of advanced agricultural civilization of Central America. This fact is explained by two factors: first, the region's proximity to Central America, the cradle of Indian agriculture, and second, the harsh environment of the South-West, with its game and its not very edible wild plants, they ensure that agriculture should become a necessary alternative.
Under the influence of the South, born from Central America, three specific dominant cultures on the basis of previous archaic tradition Cochse-Desert: the Mogollon, the Hohokam and Anasazi. For each of them the adoption of agriculture led to the sedentary life in villages with development tools, arts and crafts, especially that of the ceramic.
Although each of them had specific characteristics, were connected to each other and each was influenced other.
In the Eastern and Midwestern regions of North America, advanced cultures with large populations could exist without agriculture practiced on a large scale, thanks to plentiful wild game and edible plants. Among these cultures there was that of "Mound Builders" also called the Adena and Hopewell, who had their settlements in Ohio. The Adena culture lasted from 1,000 BC to 200 AD, that of Hopewell from 300 BC to 700 AD Although the two cultures to share some of their features and coexisted for five centuries, their exact relationship is unknown. It is not known, in fact, if the Adena were, and to what extent, the ancestors of Hopewell, or if between the two peoples there were conflicts. Nor is it known where the two peoples had arrived, some scholars believe that they originated in Central America, other regions of the Great Lakes, and no one knows what happened to them when they ended their own cultures. Until the nineteenth century it was believed, some mounds found around the whole of East, were the work of Europeans then lost, but science has proven, with finds from excavations and artifacts, which were the work of indigenous peoples, and therefore the expression of ancient Indian cultures .
The Adena culture spread from the Ohio River valley to the territories of Kentucky, Indiana, Pennsylvania and New York. Some tribes settled Hopewell later near the Chesapeake Bay and Alabama. The name derives from a field of Adena near Chillicothe, Ohio, where there is a large mound, which proves that the area was the center of their culture.
There is evidence that among the Adena there were rudimentary agriculture: the cultivation of sunflowers, pumpkins and other fruits of cucurbits and chenopodiacee were resources that were used to their power. It 's well known that cultivated tobacco, and that perhaps it was used for ceremonies. However, they were mainly hunters and gatherers, who exploited, like other peoples who inhabited the forests, the rich flora and fauna in their area who was so abundant as to allow a rather nomadic life rather sedentary.
As mentioned when we talked about the uncertainties of the settlement sites of the two cultures, that of Hopewell had many traits characteristic of the Adena, but increased: earthworks larger and more numerous, richer funerals, ceremonies and more intense, more refinement in the art objects , a more hierarchical system more rigid, a growing division of labor and a more intensive agriculture. In addition, the Hopewell culture of covering a larger area, extending from its center to the valleys of the rivers Ohio and Illinois to the Midwest and East. The people of Hopewell, whoever and whatever its origin, established a very extensive sales network: at their sites have been found materials to all parts of the continent, obsidian of the Black Hills and Rocky Mountains, the Great Lakes copper, shells of the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, Appalachian mica, silver and Canada's skulls and teeth of alligators in Florida. All these tests demonstrate that the sphere of influence of Hopewell was expanded through trade and religion (the term Hopewell refers to either a cult or a culture) and not through conquest. The priest-rulers were perhaps the highest position, while the merchants and the warriors were their inferiors.
As the population grew Hopewell, also their dependence on agriculture was also increased, and cultivated varieties of edible plants. It is possible that they also trade with neighboring peoples edible kinds. Their villages were
located near water and consisted of circular buildings (wigwam) or oval with domed roofs, covered with animal skins, layers of bark, plant fiber mats, etc.. The Hopewell, as the Adena built a variety of textures of the earth. The laoro culture boasted excellent craftsmen, specialists in their society very well structured. They were masters in making objects and functional art and worked in a style of abstract and figurative.
But what happened to those fabulous artists, those ambitious builders, merchants at that energetic? How did their culture declined? The theories are many, as for other cultures disappear: climate change, poor harvests, epidemics, civil wars, invasions, or simply progressive fatigue. Whatever the cause, another culture will be ready to dominate on the same territory. Other mounds are built close to rivers and temples on top.
The Indians belonging to the later culture had a wide social structure and a rigid system of classes. They were obsessed with death. They built mounds not only as those of the Adena and Hopewell, but they added the huge temples and took the name "Temple Mound Builders" (builders of mounds with temples). They were influenced by the Adena and Hopewell and the peoples of Central America. Although this is not yet proven, there are similar characters: agricultural techniques, artistic styles, use of mounds with temples and open squares in the villages, all similar to those in the region mentioned above. The contacts were definitely established by Indian merchants who traveled by boat to the north, crossing the Gulf of Mexico, or by land.
As in Central America, even in Mississippi was possible the development of culture thanks to improved farming techniques. Having enough food, a large population could live in the same place for a long period. Beginning in 700 AD in the Mississippi were born several ceremonial centers and malls, until later times the first contact with white men, coming and developed along the lower Mississippi valley, through most of South-East, by current Florida and Oklahoma to Wisconsin.
The largest and most famous site is located in Cahokia, Illinois, near St. Louis. The area of the village, which extended up to 7 km along the Illinois River, contained 85 mounds with temples and tombs, and had a maximum of 75,000 inhabitants. Among the important centers of culture in today's Mississippi Moundvill include Alabama, Etowah and Ocmulgee in Georgia, Oklahoma, and Spiro Hiwasee Island in Tennessee. In the early seventeenth century the great centers of the Mississippi were abandoned. Excessive population was perhaps one of the causes, along with famine and varied climatic conditions, diseases, or the political struggles that preceded and those brought by the white man. However, the evidence of this culture, the arrival of the white man, were now all underground and were discovered centuries later by archaeologists.
One similar culture survived until the eighteenth century with several contacts with the white man, that of the Natchez. The French who lived among them and then destroy them, they adopted some of their ways of living. Like the first settlers of the Mississippi, the Natchez had a mound with a central temple and around an open square, satellites and other mounds which were used as dwellings or tombs. The supreme ruler of the Natchez was the Great Sun, who lived on one of these mounds. On the other living parent, call Donna White who was his counselor, with his brothers called Suns, including the leaders were chosen for the wars and the high priest, the sisters were called Women's sun There were many classes in the royal family were the noble and honorable men, and ordinary citizens. All the nobility could marry the common, and when one died, the partner or the partner followed him in the afterlife. With the end of the culture of Natchez, ended the culture of the Mississippi.
Some traits survived among the other Indians of the Southeast as the Creek, but now without the construction of mounds. The exploration of North America by the white man's lasted more than four centuries, from the fifteenth to the twentieth. During the colonial period, until the American Revolution, five European nations sent expeditions under their flag and took possession of the land discovered: Spain, France, England, Netherlands and Russia. Portugal also had an active part in the first exploration, then settled in South America and Sweden occupied the territory in the Bay of Delaware from 1638 to 1654. Individuals, from Europe, made journeys of exploration on behalf of the five largest Member beneficiaries. Then, later, Canadian and American explorers, crossed the continent, discovering the wild lands left for the settlement of the white man.
The many factors why the Europeans and their descendants explored the so-called New World, are included in the concept of the Renaissance, a period that led to the emergence of Europe from the Middle Ages: from the political point of view there was a trend toward a unified nation-state and centralized, starting from the feudal system. The exploration thus became a national goal. From the economic point of view there was a growing need for new markets and imports specific to a rapid population expansion (the Far East could provide for example the spices necessary for food preservation). In addition, the economic system of mercantilism or bullionismo, in which power and wealth of a nation were determined by the amount of gold and silver possessed had become dominant and stimulating the search for new resources of precious metals. The skins were another source of wealth and power.
Let's say, for purposes of brevity, the whites brought not only the traditions that were not part of Indian culture, but also diseases, weapons, hypocrisy, ignorance of new type, and many other negative concepts of which the American Indians would have preferred to unless, not less than the Catholic religion or derivative (Jesuits, Protestants, etc.).
For centuries these people of great spirituality and wisdom, but also of immense practical warrior, found themselves having to do with the white man and suffer the negative effects of failing to respond in the most appropriate way, risking to disappear from the history of mankind.
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