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Americas and Oceania

by: Omar Barriga

Americas and Oceania 27551

Omar Barriga
GPA 3.0

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notes week 4. this will cover the olmec, mayan and chavin empires as well as the Austronesian cultures.
World History to 1500
Joshua Fan
Class Notes
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Omar Barriga on Tuesday February 23, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 27551 at University of Texas at El Paso taught by Joshua Fan in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 29 views. For similar materials see World History to 1500 in History at University of Texas at El Paso.


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Date Created: 02/23/16
02/16/16 Americas and Oceania  The agricultural revolution developed independently in the new continent. For several  hundreds of years (until 1492) there was no interaction between the old and new  continents.    The American continent was reached about 15,000BCE during the last ice age. The early  humans were able to walk into the continent from Asia, thanks to the Bering strait. EX.  See below.  o  the yellow line is the possible land pass used between modern day Russia  and Alaska. After the ice age, the great glaciers melt covering the passage.  Columbus wasn’t the first foreigner to reached America. As a matter of fact; the Vikings  reached the continent way before Columbus did, however, he is remembered for the  colonization of the Americas.  o Before the arriving of Europeans, the wheel was non­existent in America. (at least for a useful purpose)  THE OLMEC The Olmec was the first Mesoamerican complex society (1200BCE­400BCE).  Unfortunately, there isn’t enough information regarding their culture, way of life or  traditions. But we do know that the Olmec’s created the famous “Ball Game”. A game  that consisted of throwing a rubber ball through a ring that highly influence latter  Mesoamerican societies. The Olmec’s are also known for the construction of enormous  stone heads. Scholars don’t know exactly who are the people portrayed but its open for  interpretation.  It is believed that they could be kings, warriors or simply ball game  winners. The name Olmec comes from the Aztecs; it means “rubber people” the Aztecs  named them like that because of all the rubber threes found in their abandon sites. To this day, the Olmec’s are a mystery lost in history.  THE MAYANS  The rise of the Mayan civilization did not occur over night after the decline of the  Olmec’s, (2000BCE­250CE) but they are the direct successors of the Olmec empire. The  Mayans are regarded as highly educated. They developed a writing system, a calendar  (the calendar was so exact that the difference between our modern calendar and theirs is  only 17 sec) they created the concept of ZERO, they build great cities and pyramids;  most famous are TIKAL, TEOTIHUACAN AND THE PYRAMID OF THE SUN AND  THE MOON. The fall of the Mayan society is a mystery as well. The conquistadores  burn most ceremonial books and inscriptions in Mayan in hopes of turning natives into  Catholicism. Only 4 Mayan codices (books) are left. Most of the information we have  about them comes from rock relief inscriptions or texts from other civilizations.  CHAVIN THE HUANTAR The early American societies seem to be all a mystery until the Aztecs, and the Chavin  civilization isn’t the exception. (1200BCE) We know even less about the chavins than of the  olmecs, however, what we do know and it’s important to keep in mind is that they left several  pottery jars, cups and figurines left. From their figurines we know that they appreciated corn,  music and family traditions. Their decline started around 400­500BCE.  OCEANIA   Oceania is composed of; Micronesia, Polynesia and Melanesia.   Rapa­nui was the early name of “Easter island” before the “discovery” of  Europeans. Rapa nui is known for their hundreds of human­shaped monumental  statues.  AUSTRONESIA Austronesia (Austronesians) is the term given to the people/area occupied by inhabitants that  speak an Austronesian language. The area is composed of countries as; Madagascar, New  Zealand, Indonesia, Philippines and Hawaii.  THE HOKULEA Hokulea was the name of the ship used by scholars to investigate the migratory  movements of the ancient Austronesians. For several years (probably hundreds) it was  believed by Europeans that people from Oceania populated remote islands by luck. The  people from the hokulea challenged that belief and they demonstrated that the peoples of  ancient Austronesia had their own methods to guide themselves in the sea.  This  discovery proved that the natives were smarter than thought before and, it also show how  early peoples were able to navigate in the sea. 


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