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Pre-colonial America

Mayan, Olmec, Toltec, and other cultural groups of Middle America prior to the arrival of Columbus.

Popol Vuh
Popol Vuh is a book that contains valuable information about the Maya.

The Ancient Maya
The Maya were one of the peoples of the Mesoamerican cradle of civilization who were conquered by the Spanish but still exist.

Maya
The Maya lived in Mesoamerica before the conquest of the New World.

Chronology of Mesoamerica
An overview of standard Mesoamerican chronology.

La Venta
La Venta is an Olmec city that was inhabited from about 800 to 400 B.C. and subsequently abandoned. The center of the city was built on a high mound. There were two large pyramids.

Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is a city in the Andes at an altitude of about 8000 feet that was built by a ruler of the Inca as a sacred or aristocratic city. It is now a major archaeological site and tourist attraction in Peru.

Inca
The Inca from South America ruled an empire in the Andes and Pacific coast with a capital in Cuzco (Peru) in the 12th century.

Columbus' First Voyage
Peter Martyr of Angleria was a northern Italian who lived from 1457-1526. An expert in geography, he moved to Spain to serve as diplomat at the Castilian court. He regularly sent his patron, Cardinal Ascanio Sforza, reports on the exploration of the New World. Columbus' First Voyage is based on these reports which were written in the style of Latin favored by Cicero and Caesar.

Maya Calendar Round
While the Maya are known for their phenomenally accurate, complex, calculations of the orbits of stars, planets and moon, and precise reckoning of the solstices and eclipses, there is also an effective, but much more ordinary, almost easy to understand calendar. It wasn't too easy, though: Only shamans could calculate it.

Writing System of the Inca
The Inka kept their accounts, their genealogy, their astronomical calculations, and (probably) their stories on a complicated system of cords and knots, called quipu (also spelled khipu).

How to Read Maya Hieroglyphs
How to Read Maya Hieroglyphs teaches students of the Ancient Maya how the pictorial language was deciphered, how it was used, and how to analyze hieroglyphic monuments.

Confessions of a Deathmaiden
Ruth Francisco combines the ancient traditions of human sacrifice and ritualized cannibalism in a mystery about the descendants of the ancient Maya. Smuggled archaeological artifacts posing as containers for marijuana put the police off the scent of an organ harvesting organization.

Ancestral Art
From a general site on primitive American art, this page explains the meaning of primitive art, locator symbols, instructions, petroglyphs, and more.

Túpac Amaru
From Christopher Minster, About.com Guide to Latin American History. Túpac Amaru was the last member of the royal Inca family to ever rule over his people. The nephew of the last great Inca Emperor, Atahuallpa, he ruled over a handful of followers in the Peruvian jungle before becoming involved in an insurrection against the Spanish. He was captured and executed in 1572.

The Colonization of Guatemala
From the About.com Guide to Latin American history. The region of present-day Guatemala posed many challenges for would-be conquistadors and colonizers.

The Aztec Calendar
Find out what day today is according to three Aztec calendars: Xihuitl (agricultural year), Trecena (13-day period), & Tonal (day count & sacred).

Inca Mummies
National Geographic's online article about the Inca mummies featured in its May 2002 paper edition.

Collapse: Why Do Civilizations Fall?
Use archaeological clues and a notebook to determine why Copán collapsed.

Cross Cultural Timeline
From The History Channel, this graphic timeline shows what was happening in America, Europe, Middle East, Egypt, India, China, Japan, and Africa for 500 years starting in 500 BC.

Life and Death in Ancient Mexico
Slide show story of the rebirth cycle and the creation of man by Quetzalcoatl out of bones taken from the Lord of Mictlan.

Lost Worlds -- Nova
1996 report by Liesl Clark on the Incas and their largest city, Cuzco. 14,000 miles of highway provided efficient means of communication.

Mayan Ruins
Click on the archaeological site you wish to explore. Photographs from the Yucatan peninsula. Ample bibliography.

Olmec
A Thinkquest page introducing the Olmec, their pyramids and jaguars.

Maya Codex
A codex is a manuscript and there are three or four handwritten by the Maya from before colonization by Spain.

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