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UT - GEOG 101 - Class Notes - Week 3

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UT - GEOG 101 - Class Notes - Week 3

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background image Geography Lecture 5: Mexico and Middle America
Middle America  Physical geography  ­Coastal lowlands and interior highlands
­Fault lines 
­Panama Canal, tropical rain forests, vertical climate zones, coral reefs, lake  Nicaragua, volcanic axis, archipelago, Isthmus of Panama, central  highlands
Mesoamerican antiquity
Colonial legacy 
Early State­Level Civilization in Mesoamerica
­State­Level Civilizations (Olmec, Maya, and Aztec)
1. Urbanized society
2. Economic intensification and specialization
3. Monumental architecture and public buildings
4. Record keeping
5. State religion 
Olmec ­Core area located in southern Gulf Coast of Mexico
­Olmec culture considered earliest example of cultural complexity in Mesoamerica 
­“Mother culture” for all latter civilizations  Mayan
­Mayan civilizations found in three major environments 
­Highland Guatemala and adjacent countries
background image ­Lowland rainforests
­Dry scrub forests of northern Yucatan 
­Mayan dependent on maize agriculture ­Limited land due to soils, wetness, pop, so they devised techniques to maximize agricultural potential  ­Milpas: cleared plots of land; type of swidden agriculture (slash and burn) ­Chinampas: raised­field technique, “floating gardens” allowing planting in low, wet 
­Several major centers emerged in Lowland Maya area including Tikal
­Mayan kings ruled vast territories and commanded remarkable wealth and power
­Warfare was partly a ritual phenomenon between elites
­Writing, records, calendars, astronomy
­Mayan collapse: great ceremonial centers were abandoned, the Long Count calendar 
discontinued, and the structure of religious life and the state decayed
­Theories: ­Rapid population increase put pressure on the agricultural and economic system ­Exhaustion of soils, decreased agricultural productivity, warfare, and major  drought Aztec ­Aztecs were one of several semi­civilized Chichimeca groups who settled in the Valley 
of Mexico
­Tenochtitlan: capital, flourished as a trading center (now beneath Mexico City), 
population over 200,000
­Planned streets and at least 40 pyramids
­City became more formidable through diplomacy, military alliances, and strategic royal 

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School: University of Tennessee - Knoxville
Department: Geography
Course: World Geography
Professor: Neil Conner
Term: Winter 2016
Tags: geography
Name: geography lessons 5-6
Description: week 3 notes
Uploaded: 09/19/2016
9 Pages 55 Views 44 Unlocks
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