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ANCIENT LATIN AMERICAN CIVILIZATIONS Throughout history great civilizations have existed in different areas in the world In Latin America there were the Mayans Incas and Aztecs These three civilizations were each great and special in their own ways They were empires and as you shall soon learn each of them had the similarity of greatness and yet were one unto themselves The Mayans The Mayans were located on the Yucatan Peninsula between 2400 BC and 900 AD Most of them were farmers or traders They had many great achievements including being advanced in science they were able to predict eclipses and had a very accurate yearly calendar being advanced in mathematics they developed the concept of the zero writing they had ideographs which are similar to the Egyptians hieroglyphics elaborate architecture they built pyramids that had flat stairs leading up to a temple on a flat top and a centralized government The specific cause of the decline of the Mayan empire around 900 AD is unknown The Incas The Incas were located in Peru The height of the empire was in the 15th century Legend has it that the Incas are people who are descendants from the sun They built a system of roads that helped maintain the large empire and invented ingenious ways of irrigating and terracing to aid them in their farming The Incas called their empire The Land of the Four Quarters Every year on June 24th the Incas celebrate the Festival of the Sun to remember the old empire and to give thanks to the gods The Aztecs The Aztecs like the Mayans were also located on the Yucatan Peninsula but unlike the Mayans occupied the area from 1200 to 1521 AD They had unique architecture and farming techniques including pyramid-style plaster buildings and floating farms on rafts called Chinampas The Aztecs were extremely pessimistic in their religious beliefs and in order to keep the gods happy
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