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  • Andean civilizations

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    The Andean civilizations were a patchwork of different cultures and peoples that developed from the Andes of Colombia southward down the Andes to northern Argentina and Chile, plus the coastal deserts of Peru and northern Chile. Archaeologists believe that Andean civilizations first developed on the narrow coastal plain of the Pacific Ocean. The Norte Chico civilization of Peru is the oldest known dating back to 3200 BCE. Despite severe environmental challenges, the Andean civilizations domesticated a wide variety of crops, some of which became of worldwide importance. The Andean civilizations were also noteworthy for monumental architecture, textile weaving, and many unique characteristics of the societies they created. Less than a century prior to the arrival of the Spanish conquerors, the Incas united most of the Andean cultures into the Inca Empire which encompasses all of what is usually called Andean civilization. The Muisca of Colombia and the Timoto Cuica of Venezuela remained outside the Inca orbit. The Inca Empire was a patchwork of languages, cultures and peoples.

  • Pre-Columbian Belize

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    Mayan temple at the Altun Ha site. The Pre-Columbian Belize history is the period from initial indigenous presence, across millennia, to the first contacts with Europeans - the Pre-Columbian or before Columbus period - that occurred on the region of the Yucatán Peninsula that is present day Belize. Belize's history begins with the Paleo-Indians. They were nomadic people that arrived in the Asia to the Americas migration across the frozen Bering Strait, perhaps as early as 35,000 years ago. In the course of many millennia, their descendants settled in and adapted to different environments in the Americas, creating many cultures in North America, Central America, and South America. The Mayan culture emerged in the lowland area of the Yucatán Peninsula and the highlands to the south, in what is now southeastern Mexico, Guatemala, western Honduras, and Belize. Many aspects of this culture persist in the area despite nearly half a millennium of European domination. All evidence, whether from archaeology, history, ethnography, or linguistic studies, points to a cultural continuity in this region.

  • Antiquities of Mexico

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    Antiquities of Mexico is a compilation of facsimile reproductions of Mesoamerican literature such as Maya codices, Mixtec codices, and Aztec codices as well as historical accounts and explorers' descriptions of archaeological ruins. It was assembled and published by Edward King, Lord Kingsborough, in the early decades of the 19th century. While much of the material pertains to pre-Columbian cultures, there are also documents relevant to studies of the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire. Antiquities of Mexico was produced to make copies of rare manuscripts in European collections available for study by scholars. The work consists of nine volumes, each published in a large elephant folio format. It was originally planned as ten, but Lord Kingsborough died before the full work could be completed. Kingsborough commissioned the Italian landscape painter Agostino Aglio to furnish the reproduction drawings and lithographs of the Mesoamerican artworks and codices used to illustrate the volumes. Born in Cremona and resident in London since 1803, Aglio had previously illustrated antiquities of Ancient Egypt and Magna Græcia on behalf of the English architect William Wilkins.

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