TOLTECS> The Toltecs were an Indian tribe who existed from 900 A.D. to 1200. Theyhad a capital city of Tollan, and their influences reached south to the Yucatanand Guatemala. They were a composite tribe of Nahua, Otomi, and Nonoalca. TheTolt ecs made huge stone columns decorated like totem poles. AZTECS> Aztecs were an American Indian people who rule an empire in Mexico during the1400’s and early 1500’s. They practiced a religion that affected every part oftheir lives. To worship the Aztecs built towering temples, created hugesculptures, and had human sacrifices. The center of Aztec civilization was ariver valley in Mexico. The emperor of the Aztecs was called the “hueytlatoani” (great speaker). A council of high-ranking no bles chose him fromthe members of a royal family. The Aztec society had four main classes nobles,commoners, serfs, and slaves. The typical Aztec household consisted of ahusband and wife, their unmarried children, and a number of the husbandsrelative s. Boys were educated by their father until aboutn 10 years of age.The Aztecs married at an early age, women at about 16, men at about 20.Warfare was considered a religious duty by the Aztecs. They fought not only toenlarge their empire but also to take prisoners to sacrifice to the gods. Themarket place was a major center of Aztec life, more than 60,000 people visitedit daily. They had no system of money, they traded goods and services forother goods and services. They had no pack-animals, a nd as a result, theythemselves had to carry all their goods over land. The end of the Aztec empirecame when the Spaniards came. The first time the Spaniards were mistaken forreturning gods. When they returned to Spain, they told of all the gold that
the Aztecs had. The Spaniards returned one year later with canons and they hadthe help of the other indian tribes of the area, in destroying the Aztecempire. MAYANS> The Mayan civilization flourished from the 3rd to the 16th centuries in an area the included the peninsula of Yucatan and the eastern part of Chiapas inMexico, most of Guatemala, the western region of the Republic of Honduras. Inthe Spanish conquest only a few Mayans resisted the conversion to Christianity.The Mayans believe d that 13 heavens were arranged in layers above the earth,and under the earth were nine underworlds also arranged in layers. Theconcepts are closely related to those of the Aztecs. The religion has partlysurvived to this day among the Christianized M ayans. Mayan mathematicsincluded the discovery of zero, the duration of the solar year, and a method ofpredicting solar eclipses. Mayan cities were primarily ceremonial, government,and market centers. Sacrifices were numerous of animals, birds, inse cts,fish, plants, blood from tongues, ears, arms, and legs. For rain victims werehurled into deep wells. Drawing blood from bodies often preceded ceremoniesand sacrifices. These practices had become so deeply rooted that, even afterthe Spanish conq uest, Christian–pagan ceremonies took place with sacrificesfeaturing heart removal or crucifixion. The custom of human sacrifice ended in1868. Ritual activities were complex, and consisted of bloodletting from earsand tongues, sacrifices, and dances . Every social group celebrated its ownreligious feast. Sorcerers and medicine men were both prophets and inflictersor healers of disease. They used magic formulas, chants, and prayers forhealing methods.