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Comparison of the Aztec and Inca Empires

By jmena83 Oct 10, 2014 1193 Words
Difference: Incans had a totalitarian complex government whether as Aztecs had a decentralized government that focused on expansion. 
Significance: Since Aztecs never really had a lot of control over the conquered people, many of them were eager to fight for Cortez against the Aztecs which helped lead to their decline. Incas on the other hand had a very complex empire with a lot of control over their people. So, since they had such an established rule, it made it MUCH harder and took a lot longer for Pizzaro to defeat them. RELIGION

Similarity: Both Incan and Aztec religions were polytheistic and had many rituals performed by preists. 
Significance: Both used religion to unite civilizations, and gain control over people since both kings were considered divine. Page 1 of 3
Difference: Aztecs had more craftspeople (artisans, merchants) and therefore more diverse social classes, leading to specialization. Aztecs had individual advancement based on military ability. Incas had little social mobility. Similarity: Families in both empires lived in groups(calpullis or ayllus). 

Reason for difference: because the Incans had a totalitarian government, in order to keep control over people, the leader had to limit their mobility. Also, since the government required 2/3 of the crop, most people were stuck being farmers and had little time/resources to learn and use a new skill/craft. Significance of difference: Since Aztecs had more artisans, craftsmen, and merchants, it may have led to more specialization and more trade. Page 2 of 3

Difference: Currency for Aztecs was cacao beans, cloth, or salt. Currency for Incas was mined gold. When Incans farm, 2/3 is given to tax and redistributed. Aztecs bartered for other goods Similarity: Agriculture was the basis of both economies. Both Incas and Aztecs had tributes, but Aztecs had it more. 

Reason for difference: Since the Incas didn't have as many merchants or artisans, there economy was more heavily focused on agriculture. Since their food wasn't sold, but was rather 'redistributed' by the government, this led to much less trade than in the Aztec civilization, since the Aztecs actually traded and bartered for other things. Significance of similarity: Since both economies were based on agriculture, agriculture became a very important part of their lives. So important in fact, that they made their religion based off of agriculture and had many nature-related gods that effected their harvest.

Aztec Empire
Incan Empire
--Aztec had Tenochititlan, Texcoco, and Tlecopan that formed the Triple Alliance. --Aztec had a 'loose coalition of city-states under Tenochititlan.' --Aztecs never consolidated complete leadership/administration over their empire. --Main goal of expansion was to get tribute from conquered people. -- Conquered were forced to give soldiers which led to more expansion. --In the Incan empire, government was very strict.

--TIGHT control like random house searches
--Incas split their empire up into 4 parts that were all known as suyus. Each quarter was governed by a blood relative. --There is was about 1 official for every 10 peasants.
--had harsh punishment for lazyness
--examples of Incan punishment: they were thrown off a cliff, hands cut off or eyes cut out, or hung up to starve to death. Prisons were of no use because punishment usually consisted of death Aztec Empire

Incan Empire
--Most important to the Aztecs was the sun god, Huitzilopochtli.(meaning=blue hummingbird on the left) --Another very important god was Quetzalcoatl.
--Priests also had bloodlettings.
--Calmecacs were religious schools that provided instruction on priesthood. --They had a calendar of religious events.
--had MANY nature-related gods like Tlaloc(god of rain)
--priests had a 'new fire ceremony'
-- Very important to the Inca was the sun and war god, Inti
--Their most important god was Viracocha
--Priests had live ANIMAL SACRIFICES. Only in disaster did they sacrifice a child or woman. --priests held funeral ceremonies
--religion was very formal and they had many priests
--had tombs called chullpas or huacas
--had MANY nature-related gods that were very important to getting a good harvest -- Priests prophecized future, healed people(used successful surgery) Aztec Empire
Incan Empire
--Calpulli were nuclear families organized into working groups. They claimed descent from a common ancestor. Each calpulli had a temple, armory to hold weapons, and land was divided among the heads of families according to their needs. Each calpulli regulated affairs, elected a council and officers, lead in war, dispence justice, maintained records. --Women didn't have much of a public role, but were honored by having sons that fought --under the ruler there was a noble class with priests, administration, etc. After that there was a class of commoners like artisans and merchants. Merchants were in a group known as pochteca. They had guilds and many rights. Finally there were the workers that farmed with their calpullis. --Ayllu were family groups which worked on government land. If an Incan man wasn’t married by age 20, then the head of ayllu chose a mate for him. The size varied. People lived and died inside the ayllu. --Women didn't have much of a public role, but were honored by having sons that fought --Besides a small minority of nobility, most Incas were farmers that worked the land all day. --Specially gifted boys were taught how to keep records or do a craft. Specially gifted girls became 'chosen women' who were put in the household of the emperor or nobles. Other than that, there was not much movement inside the social structure Aztec Empire

Incan Empire
--Cacao beans were used as currency to buy tools, clothes, jewelry at market places. This currency was also used in longer distances of trade, in which merchants traveled to modern Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, mainly to buy rare items like rubber, cotton, exotic tropical feathers, jaguar skins and sell their jewelry. --Also, sometimes cotton cloth and salt were used as mediums of exchange. Otherwise, people bartered. (Barter economy). --During long distance trade to the south, Aztecs transported goods by canoe or by slaves (carrying things on their backs). Sometimes, warriors traveled with the caravans to protect the merchants, and merchants helped spy on enemies. --The merchant class was called pochteca. It was a hereditary class. They lived in separate places in the city and in guilds. They were below nobles, priests, and warriors. --Many tributary towns provided goods (feathers, beads, cloth, firewood, food), and was usually paid 2-4 times a year. --Trade increased during the Aztec empire, because of better roads and communications. --every ayllu had its own farm from which everyone in the ayllu ate from. So, not much trade was necessary or existed. --used terraces so that they could grow crop in mountains

--llamas and alpacas were used to carry heavy loads. They also gave the incas wool( to keep warm) and dung(an energy provider) --had a lot of different kinds of food like potato, corn, cassava, peppers, squash, beans, quinoa, peanuts.... --had to built irrigation system due to drought/heavy rain

--mountains hindered agricultural development
--mined a LOT of gold and silver, which helped lead to decline since that's what the explorers were after --trade was hard for Incas due to mountainous region

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