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World History--Pre-Columbian Civilizations: Home

Assignment Topic

The pre-Columbian civilizations in the Americas had many accomplishments. The European explorers and missionaries were often impressed what they found in the Americas.

“The center was surrounded with a very broad wall of dry stone eighth of a league in extent, with two narrow doorways; the wall itself was low. In the middle of the enclosure they built their temples, calling the largest Chichen Itza. These has many levels of stone. They built another circular temple, different from the others in the country, and with four entrances in line with directions. The temples were connected one with the other by stone paths and boulevards. Within the enclosure they also built houses for the lords.”

Fray Diego de Landa describing the Maya in A Relation of the Things of the Yucatan

“This city has many public squares, in which are situated the markets and other places for buying and selling. There is one square twice as large as that of the city of Salamanca, surrounded by porticoes, where are daily assembled more than sixty thousand souls, engaged in buying, and selling; and where are found all kinds of merchandise that the world affords.”

Hernan Cortes describing the Aztec in Second Letter to His Majesty King Charles V of Spain

“In all these capitals of the provinces, the Incas had temples of the Sun, mints, and many silversmiths who did nothing but work rich pieces of gold or fair vessels of silver; large garrisons were stationed there, and a steward who was in command of them all, to whom an accounting of everything that was brought in was made, and who, in turn, had to give one of all that was issued. At the beginning of the new year the rulers of each province came to Cuzco, to pay their tribute, bringing their quipus, which told how many births there had been during the year, and how many deaths.”

Pedro de Cieza de Leon describing the Inka in Chronicles of the Incas

Assignment in brief


Which of the civilizations of the Americas had the most significant achievement?

You will write a Five Paragraph essay. You must include the following

  •  An introductory paragraph that includes your thesis statement.
  • Three body paragraphs where you support your thesis.
  • One direct quote in each paragraph that supports your thesis and is correctly footnoted.
  • A concluding paragraph.
  • A properly formatted bibliography
  • All technical requirements – Heading, Title, 12 point TNR, etc.

Students are required to use at least 3 resources, including their textbook and at least two sources from the library LibGuide (reference books or databases). Students may not use resources outside of the libguide.

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Search terms

Incas                       Mayans   

Aztecs                     Mesoamerica        

Cuzco                     Tenochtitlan        

Chichen Itza           Machu Pichu        



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