The Aztecs and the Incas were expanding empires with professional armies, however they differed in expansion ideals, the ownership of land, and the implementation of slavery.
The Aztecs used their military to expand for religious and political purposes. Conquering land also went hand in hand with dealing with the area’s population. The Aztecs would invade regions and then demand tribute in the form of heavy taxes and captives. These captives were either sacrificed for religious purposes or were forced into slavery. Sacrificial ceremonies took place frequently, and annually tens of thousands of men and women were killed in order to please the gods. Religion was influenced in military tactics because one of the main purposes was just to gain victims to sacrifice. Moreover, the military was conquering land but also human life. Politically structured, the Aztecs were a vast empire with a heavy population of around 12 million people. The empire was decentralized and did not have a bureaucracy but just a monarch ruler.
The Incas were a centralized empire with expansion methods that were based on maximizing economic gross. Military tactics were focused on invading regions in order to create economic opportunities such as acquiring tribute. The Inca Empire controlled more than 2,000 miles of South American coastline but none of it was considered private property. The idea of private property did not exist in Inca society leading to there no reason to have a slave system. Rather than having slaves, the Incas has a peasantry population, who worked the land or worked on construction projects.
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