When we think of ancient civilizations, we often think of those in Europe, Asia, and Africa. However, there were also thriving civilizations in the Americas long before Christopher Columbus arrived. Let’s take a look at the three major ancient civilizations in the Americas.
The Olmec Civilization
The Olmec civilization is considered to be the oldest civilization in the Americas. They lived in what is now Mexico from around 1400 BCE to 400 BCE.
The Olmecs were known for their impressive stone sculptures, which depicted human figures with large heads and complex hairstyles. They also constructed monumental architecture, such as pyramids and plazas.
One of the most fascinating things about the Olmecs is that they developed a writing system using hieroglyphics. While much of their writing has been lost over time, some examples remain on pottery and stone monuments.
Key Facts about the Olmec Civilization:
- Location: What is now Mexico
- Time Period: Around 1400 BCE – 400 BCE
- Known For: Stone sculptures, monumental architecture, hieroglyphic writing system
The Maya Civilization
The Maya civilization is perhaps one of the most well-known ancient civilizations in the Americas. They lived in what is now Mexico and Central America from around 2000 BCE to 1500 CE. The Mayans were known for their impressive knowledge of astronomy and mathematics, which they used to create a complex calendar system.
In addition to their scientific achievements, the Mayans were also skilled artists and architects. They created beautiful pottery, intricate carvings, and impressive buildings such as pyramids and temples.
Key Facts about the Maya Civilization:
- Location: What is now Mexico and Central America
- Time Period: Around 2000 BCE – 1500 CE
- Known For: Astronomy and mathematics, calendar system, art and architecture
The Inca Civilization
The Inca civilization is perhaps the most well-known ancient civilization in South America. They lived in what is now Peru from around 1438 CE to 1532 CE. The Incas were known for their impressive road system, which spanned thousands of miles and allowed for easy communication and trade throughout their empire.
The Incas were also skilled engineers, constructing impressive buildings such as Machu Picchu, which still stands today as a testament to their architectural prowess.
Key Facts about the Inca Civilization:
- Location: What is now Peru
- Time Period: Around 1438 CE – 1532 CE
- Known For: Road system, engineering feats, architecture
In conclusion, the Olmec, Maya, and Inca civilizations were all remarkable in their own ways. From impressive sculptures to complex calendars to engineering feats, these civilizations left a lasting impact on the Americas that can still be felt today.