Das Erbe der Maya, Inka und Azteken - Mexikos faszinierende Geschichte - Pacific & Lime

The Legacy of the Maya, Inca and Aztec - Mexico's Fascinating History

Mexico's history is many 1,000 years old. Historical excavations show that advanced cultures settled in the region long before our era. The influences of different peoples, but also those of the Spanish conquerors, can still be felt and seen today. Maya, Inca and Aztec are the cause of Mexico's diverse composition of people, have shaped their behaviors, customs and culture.

the legacy of the aztecs

The significant pre-Columbian cultures and their capitals:

    Aztecs: Tenochtitlán - The capital of the Aztec Empire, located in the area of today's Mexico City. Tenochtitlán was an impressive city built on an island in the Texcoco Lake. It was the political, religious, and economic center of the Aztec Empire.
    Maya: They did not have a unified capital but were organized into independent city-states. Some of the most famous and influential cities include Tikal, Copán, and Chichén Itzá. Each of these cities can be considered an important center within the Maya civilization, with political, ceremonial, and commercial functions.
    Incas: Cusco - The capital of the Inca Empire, located in today's Peru. Cusco was considered the navel of the world in the Inca worldview. It was the political, administrative, and religious center of the empire, from where a vast area was managed, extending from the south of Colombia to the north of Argentina and Chile.

      Maya Inca and Aztecs: advanced cultures that were unjustly forgotten

      Excavations show that Mexico was already 20,000 BC. was populated. Archaeologists date remains of human skeletons to around 9,000 BC. The period from 2,000 BC to 2,000 BC is probably the most exciting era in terms of cultural history. BC to 1519, because in this period, called Postclassic, the advanced civilizations developed - the most famous are the Maya, Inca and Aztecs. They are called advanced cultures because they were very familiar with astronomy and accomplished architectural masterpieces - and they did so without the technical equipment that we take for granted today. For the purpose of religious worship, the Maya Incas and Aztecs built vast religious temple complexes and gigantic pyramids. They cultivated corn, chillies and beans and developed highly efficient cultivation methods. At that time, Mexico, but also Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras experienced a heyday of art, religion and architecture. There were also other advanced cultures such as the Olmec, Zapotec and Totonak. To date, however, these have hardly been explored.

      The Maya of Mexico: a mysterious people with great knowledge

      The Maya lived according to a solar calendar, which was also a ritual calendar. Their ancient centers of power were Teotihuacán, Tikal and the pyramid city of Chichén Itzá. The last great Mayan city Chichén Itzá is now only a ruin, but still worth seeing. In Chichén Itzá stands the Pyramid of Kukulcán, which is now one of the seven new wonders of the world. This pyramid is as important as the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal or Macchu Pichu. It is also an expression of the former greatness of the Maya culture and a tourist highlight on a Mexico tour. By the year 1,400 at the latest, however, people had settled elsewhere. It is still not clear why the Maya and other advanced civilizations ultimately died out. It is believed that the cities were abandoned by wars, overpopulation, soil depletion and periods of drought.

      Chichen Itza

      The Mayan Calendar: a marvel of mathematics and astronomy

      The astronomical Maya calendar shaped the life of the Maya on all levels. He condenses astronomy, mathematics, knowledge of the gods and mythology into something great that shows how highly developed this culture was. The calendar consists of characters and numbers with different meanings. It spans 260 days and is the most complex timekeeping system ever created by humans. In addition to the 260-day cycle, there is a solar year of 365 days. This was divided into 18 months of 20 days each. The combination of the cycles resulted in a large calendar cycle of 52 years. The Maya used the calendar to determine their most important festivals and ceremonies, but also to predict their fate. Their calendar also gave them the ability to look back over entire centuries.

      The writing of the Maya: enigmatic like other archaeological finds

      Maya writing has long been one of the great mysteries of human history. No matter how you tried to encode them, you couldn't even begin to figure out what the characters could mean. Only in the 1950s did the mystery begin to unravel. Today, about half of the Maya characters are considered deciphered. The reason why little was known about Mayan writing for so long is mainly due to the Spanish conquerors who invaded the country in the 16th century. The conquerors wanted to convert the local population to Christianity by force and destroyed scrolls, altars, pictures and other cultural goods in a large-scale operation. This explains why we have only minimal insight into the culture of the Maya today. In contrast, the rule structures in individual dynasties have been very well researched.

      Maya tablet

      The Incas: they too were devoted to the sun

      The great Inca Empire flourished between the 13th and 16th centuries and was also destroyed by the Spanish conquerors. The capital, Cusco, was in present-day Peru. From here, the Incas divided their land into four parts. They spoke Quechua, a language still spoken in some parts of the Andes today. They kept important information on ropes with knots and loops. Like other peoples of their time, the Incas believed in multiple gods. The sun god Inti was their main god. Although they did not yet know the wheel, they were able to accomplish amazing architectural feats, such as very long suspension bridges. The most important cultural legacy of the Incas, Machu Picchu is located high in the Andes and was rediscovered in 1911. It is probably the most famous Inca city, whose ruins we can still visit today.

      Legacy of the Aztecs: Clever agriculture was their trademark

      While the Maya and Inca built settlements and great temples and pyramids early on, the Aztecs were a rural people who never really settled down. But they too have left their mark in Central and South America. Xocoatl, for example, is one of those exciting legacies. The cacao tree comes from South America and was already being cultivated extensively in Mexico around 600 AD. However, the plant has been known in Central and South America for a good 3,000 years. From around the 14th century, the Aztecs cultivated cocoa in plantations. For them, the plant was a gift from the god Quetzalcoatl. They initially used the cocoa beans extracted from the fruit as a means of payment because they were sacred to them. But they also used it to prepare a tart drink (Xocoatl) that had little to do with today's sweetened cocoa drinks. They mixed their xocoatl cold from water, corn, cocoa, vanilla, some salt and cayenne pepper and only drank it on exceptional occasions. The drink was very popular because of its stimulating effect. The Spanish conquerors also quickly appreciated this drink. It soon became a fashionable drink at the Spanish court, but was not able to catch on among the bourgeoisie because it was synonymous with lazing around - a behavior that was mainly attributed to the nobility. Over the years, the drink was only prepared with milk and the cocoa we know became popular.

      Another historical drink from Mexico is now known worldwide: tequila. Tequila can certainly be described as identity-forming for the Mexican people. Its production is inextricably linked to the blue agave . Many centuries ago, tequila distillers settled in the small town of Tequila. They initially called their drink Mezcal wine made from tequila, because Mezcal means "cooked agave" in the Aztec language. The agave fields here were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006. There are over 1700 registered brands of Mexico's national drink , not to mention unregistered liquor. A high-quality tequila is made exclusively from the blue agave.

      The Aztec death whistle: uncanny grave good with effect

      The Aztec death whistles are clay whistles which in all likelihood were not used as musical instruments, although they can be used to produce sounds. When archaeologists found these ornate skulls, they initially thought that these burial objects were jewelry or even toys. Today it is assumed that the whistles, which produce very scary, shrill sounds, were used as a weapon of war. They should terrify enemies because they sound like piercing human screams.

      The fascinating stories and archeological finds from the times of the Maya Inca and Aztecs have something mysterious that attracts people from all over the world. Despite being destroyed by the Spaniards, the ancient civilizations left us a rich legacy that is more than worth discovering.

      aztec death whistle
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