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Once Upon A Time in Latin America: The Aztecs, the Mayans and the Incas

Have you ever had a conversation with family or friends on mankind’s first appearance or on the beginning of the world? In Mexico, Central America and South america, there are plenty of myths describing how the three big latin american civilizations were founded. Just to refresh everyone’s memories, the three main civilizations are the Aztecs, the Mayans and the Incas. For all of you travellers that already visited the Machu Pichu, Cuzco, Chitchen Itza, Tulum, etc., you all know how breath-taking these sites can be.

Before explaining the myths of the three civilizations, it is very important to know that the city of Teotihuacan is, in all three civilizations, the place where everything was created. The legend says that in the dark underground of the city, the Gods were reunited to decide who would take care of what and had to sacrifice themselves by jumping in the deep cenotes so that they could die and fulfill their mission. The myth explain that the poorest and smaller god of all jumped in the hole and sacrificed himself with no hesitation and became the Sun, because of his braveness and determination and the stronger God, who was afraid, became the moon. I have never been to Teotihucan, Mexico, but I’ve heard amazing stories and feedback from it. I know that Hernan Cortez was amazed by the city when he came to conquer the Aztecs. So please, if any of you have been, I would appreciate it if you could share some information on it.
Ok, let’s start with the Aztecs, they were the most powerful and feared people in Meso-America and were considered as a civilization of warriors. The Myth explains that the Aztecs, at first, were hated by all and were chased from wherever they went. But, fortunately, the Coluacs, decided to accept them in their civilization because they were very impressed by them. After living in Aztlan for a very long time, they began their search for their promised land guided by Huitzilopochtli, the left hummingbird, or the main God, who tells them to walk till they would see an eagle eating a snake. So after years of walking, they finally found an eagle eating a snake in the city of Tenochtitlan and based their civilization at that very location. As you noticed, the logo on the mexican flag is an eagle eating a snake. Also, the Aztecs believed they were the descent population of the sun, and believed that they often had to sacrifice blood and enemies to feed them, because if they would stop feeding the gods, it would mean the end of life.

The Mayas are probably the most intelligent civilization that has existed in meso-america because of their progress in astronomy, mathematics and architecture. Also, unlike the other civilizations, they don’t have any strong capital or main city, they have little city with concentrated powers in all of them, wich we could compare to a very early stage of federalism :) . Again, if any readers ever visited cities such as Tikal, Palenque, Copan or Chitchen Itza please leave comments to share the memories.

The third most important civilization is the Incas. This huge civilization was the last one before the second spanish wave of conquistadors, led by Francisco Pizzaro, eliminated them. The myth explains that Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo, who were bother and sister, and husband and wife, and children of the Sun. After emerging from the Titicaca Lake that borders Peru and Bolivia, the Sun told them to go on a mission and to install themselves at the exact place where Manco Capac’s symbolic stick would sink to the ground. As many of you know, that symbolic place was Cuzco. I hope you’ve all enjoyed this brief History article on the three main civilizations of latin america, and even if it sound a bit “essay-ish” I really hope it picked your curiosity to an eventual trip in the cities mentioned in the article. For those who have already been, please share some memories with us :) .


About The Author

Tanya is an adventurous person who most enjoys the cultural aspect of traveling. She traveled to North, Central and South America, Europe, Africa and Europe. When she's not hiking mountains, she spends her time visiting local schools or families. It's a nice break from the 9-5 corporate life.

Number of Entries : 243

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