Theme 2: Asia & Americas

Chapter 10: The Americas

Shelley Rose


This chapter focuses on pre-contact Americas and three Mesoamerican societies in particular: the Olmecs, Maya, and Aztecs. As you read and listen to the sources below, think about the critical role geography plays in the development of ancient societies. How is the development of social hierarchy, language, and religion similar to other societies we have studied? How is it different?


After completing this chapter, you will be able to:

  • Identify and apply the key steps of historical thinking
  • Describe key societies of the Americas before 1492
  • Understand social and cultural developments in the Americas in the context of ancient world history

Section 1: Context

Black Wireless Headphone Near White Hp Laptop

Listen:  Steve Tulowiecki, “1491 meets 2001,” 15 Minute History, “PreColumbian Civilizations of Mesoamerica”,

Watch: Khan Academy. “Pre-Columbian Americas,” “Mayans and Teotihuacan,” “The Aztec Empire,” “Early Andean Societies,” “Inca Empire,”

Watch: National Geographic Nova.  “The Maya: The Lost Civilization

The History Channel.  “Engineering an Empire: The Maya

Read: Perdue and Green.  North American Indians: A Very Short Introduction Chapter One


Section 2: Early Historical Sources

Library of Congress, “Pre-Contact America,” Exploring Early Americas

Annenberg Learner, “Invitation to World Literature: Popol Vuh

Maya Arch 3D Project, “Maya Arch 3D

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