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 The Americas are out there on an island. The “Global Tapestry” has a gap in it that disconnects the Americas from all of the other places. By 1200, a big chunk of Afro-Eurasia is connected in some way. The Americas prior to 1492 (and before that some minor contact with the Polynesians) are on there own. The addition of the Americas to the Global Trade Network is arguably THE theme of the next period. For now, get to know the Americas before the Spanish arrive and along with them, Smallpox; destroying much of these civilizations.

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Below are the specific KEY CONCEPTS that apply to this sub-unit:

State formation and development demonstrated continuity, innovation, and diversity in various regions.

State formation and development demonstrated continuity, innovation, and diversity in various regions.

  • Empires and states in Afro-Eurasia and the Americas demonstrated continuity, innovation, and diversity in the 13th century.

  • In the Americas and in Africa, as in Eurasia, state systems demonstrated continuity, innovation, and diversity, and expanded in scope and reach.

Changes in trade networks resulted from and stimulated increasing productive capacity, with important implications for social and gender structures and environmental processes.

Changes in trade networks resulted from and stimulated increasing productive capacity, with important implications for social and gender structures and environmental processes.

  • The fate of cities varied greatly, with periods of significant decline and periods of increased urbanization buoyed by rising productivity and expanding trade networks


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CLIP #1: TENOCHTITLAN

CLIP # 2: TZOMPANTLI (Aztec Skull Rack!!! from Science)

CLIP #3: AZTEC SACRIFICE

CLIP #4: CHINAMPAS TODAY

CLIP #5: MESO-AMERICAN BALL GAME (from ROAD TO EL DORADO)

CLIP #6: REVIVING THE MESO-AMERICAN BALL GAME

CLIP #7 RISE OF THE INCA (from TEDed)

CLIP #8: MACHU PICCHU 101 (from NatGeo)

CLIP #9: INCAN TERRACE FARMING

CLIP #10: INCAN ROADS

CLIP #11: CAHOKIA

CLIP #12: MESA VERDE PUEBLOS

CLIP #13: POLYNESIAN MIGRATIONS (from TEDEd)

CLIP #14: DISNEY & LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA’s take on the POLYNESIAN MIGRATIONS from MOANA


(This is difficult as there are very few sources to pull from. So, some of these are from the next period describing the first contacts with Native Americans.)

(This is difficult as there are very few sources to pull from. So, some of these are from the next period describing the first contacts with Native Americans.)

1. Examples of Quipu (“Talking Knots”) Record Keeping of the Incan Empire, c. 1000-1532 CE (INCAN EMPIRE)
2. Mayan Script (Only deciphered form of writing from Meso-America), c. 300BCE-1500CE (YUCATAN, MEXICO)
3. The Dresden Codices, (Oldest surviving book from the Americas) c. 1345 (YUCATAN, MEXICO)
4. True History of the Conquest of New Spain, Bernal Diaz del Castillo (excerpt of his description of Tenochtitlan), 1576 CE (TENOCHTITLAN, MEXICO)
5. A Short Account of the Destruction of the West Indies, Bartolome de Las Casas, c. 1542 (SPANISH EMPIRE)


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1. MESA VERDE CLIFF PALACE, (Largest Cliff Dwelling in North America), c. 1250 CE (MESA VERDE, COLORADO)

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2. TEMPLE OF KUKULCAN or EL CASTILLE, c. 950-1150 CE, CHICHEN ITZA, MEXICO

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3. MACHU PICCHU, c. 1450, (CUSCO, PERU)

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4. TEMPLO MAYOR, c. 1325 (TENOCHTITLAN, MEXICO CITY)

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5. AZTEC SUN STONE, c. 1500 CE, (TENOCHTITLAN, AZTEC EMPIRE)


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1. The Native Americans in this period (GLOBAL TAPESTRY 1200-1450) exist to themselves. Disregard any Spanish or Colonial stuff here (until next period).
2. There are a TON of different societies in the Americas before the Spanish Arrive. There are a few to focus on due to their size/impact/etc. : MAYANS, AZTECS, & INCAS. (But the AP wants you to also know the Pueblo builders and Cahokia as well).
3. The (arguably) most impressive city in the Americas is Tenochtitlan (today it’s underneath Mexico City) with it’s “floating gardens” (chinampas).
4. Writing is hard to come by but the Incas have the “Talking Knots” (Quipu) and the Mayans have their own script (there are others but they are undeciphered).
5. The largest migrations of all time were done in this area (South Pacific) by the Polynesians. Their maritime expeditions made it all the way to the Americas from Polynesia (and Hawaii).