Life in America before Columbus

Life in America before Columbus

August 3, 1492 launched the first expedition of Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus. Traveler hoped to open the shortest sea route from Europe to India. After 70 days of sailing expedition discovered America.

What is known about the pre-Columbian America? And a lot and a little. Each new discovery adds to the mysteries of the life of the peoples who inhabited the continent long before the arrival of the first colonists.

Origin: Asians, Egyptians, or ...?

Life in America before Columbus

On the territory of the ancient continent lived from 6 to 60 million people - scientists still can not accurately determine the numbers. They said settlers in 550 languages.

There is no consensus among researchers on the question of origin of civilizations in Central and North America. Some believe that the ancestors of the Indians came from Egypt (hence the ability to build the pyramids, and hieroglyphic writing).

Others are convinced that they were from the East. Supporting this theory is the similarity of DNA Aboriginal and Northeast Asia. Indians themselves, primarily living in the foothills of the Andes, were convinced that their progenitors were two survivors of the flood-Unu Pachacuti, arranged by the supreme god Viracocha.

Writing Inca

It is now no doubt that writing the Incas existed. That's just how she looked - remains a mystery.

Even the first colonists arrived in Peru, noted that the information is transmitted using the "pile" - knot system used in the colored braid. Nimble messengers "Chaski" delivered in different parts of the Empire thread with knots, talking with them about the new decrees and orders. However, researchers are always tormented by the question: Is the Incas had no written codes and did not keep a chronicle of its history? It is unlikely that this is possible, because, for example, throughout the empire to the people who commit the same offense, to apply the same punishment, which means that judges were guided by the generally accepted rules.

Life in America before Columbus

Who destroyed Tikal?

In 1848, American archaeologist in the jungles of Guatemala, was found the largest Mayan city, which was called Tikal (translated from the Maya language - "the place where the voices"). This discovery allowed to learn more about the life of an ancient civilization.

Scientists estimate that in a population of one hundred thousand people. The buildings were connected by roads. As the bases used artificial embankments, which under the temples reached a maximum height of 40 meters.

On the wall was applied plaster and whitewash, and then painted them bright pictures.

A characteristic feature of all the Maya city were the stelae and altars. To determine the age of their construction is simple - they are all dated. They were built not only in honor of a significant event for the city - the military victory, the election of a new priest - but at the end of a time cycle - every 20 years. Many found in Tikal stelae were broken. whether it did the inhabitants of the city during the civil unrest? Or Tikal still won the Mexican Pipil tribe? Whatever the answer turned out to be, the largest Mayan city with 600 years of history turned out to be the end of the IX century abandoned.

"Bread" daily

Life in America before Columbus

One of the livelihoods of almost all Indian tribes, except North America, was agriculture. I Peruvian pre-Columbian America was the main crop beans. Even in the driest years harvest shot twice in the season, the main instrument was digging stick Koya. Beans was valued so much that her image was placed on the faces of the most revered gods.

The Indians of the Great Lakes water collected wild rice, crops that were so generous that, for example, the Menominee tribe even managed to "export" the excess.

Representatives of the ancient civilization of Teotihuacan, which existed before the VII century. n. E., Grew corn, tomatoes, squash in the "floating gardens" - chinampas - artificial islands, literally Indians cobbled together from a swampy mud. rocky Palace

Stereotype that Indians lived in teepees, only partly true. For example, five thousand tribe civilization Mesa Verde, which flourished in the years 1100 -1300, lived in Pueblo - huts in the rocks. They were making of bricks, masonry mortar using instead of wet clay.

Rocky Palace - one of the largest settlements of the ancient North America. One hundred and fifty dwellings in the rocks combined into one building. Rooms are connected courtyards, enclosed by stone walls.

It is in the courts of the women were making baskets, sewing quilts with bright ornaments, sculptured and painted dishes. Summer fire lit to cook dinner, but in the winter fires burning in all areas around the clock. The remnants of a dinner and all the unnecessary things Indians simply thrown out of the window, resulting in the bottom of the canyon has accumulated a rich "harvest" for researchers.

To get to your vegetable garden or corn field, you had to climb a long wooden stairs up to the plateau. Those who wish to go to the bottom of the canyon for water should demonstrate even greater miracles climbing, sliding off a cliff on the slotted grooves.

Divide and Conquer!

In 2011 Damla exhibited exhibition telling about the most autocratic form of government in the history of world civilizations in the Berlin Ethnographic Museum.

Supreme Inca had absolute power. All the men of the empire considered his sons, all the women - wives. Unquestioning obedience and unquestioned authority.

A similar form of government existed in tribal natchey. Every morning, the leader of great sun out of his luxury home and pointed to heaven Brother Sun, which way is it to do - from east to west. Most of the time honored "king" was lying on the bed and "supervised" michmichguli - "stinking" (as "gentlemen" were called ordinary tribesmen).

Life in America before Columbus

But the Indians Menominee board carried out on the basis of the tribal community. Each member of the society was part of one of the five brotherhoods, between which clearly regulates basic functions. Bears solve civil disputes, Eagles - military, wolves hunted for food, Cranes engaged in the construction, including canoes and were making traps. Finally, the Elks were grown, harvested and stored rice.


Effectively manage large territories helped the army and the mentality of the subjects, who maintains regular rituals.

Thus, affect the good crop the Incas were the most beautiful children sacrificed.

Arranged for them "gala dinner" with coca leaves and intoxicating potion. When the baby lost consciousness, it was converted into a cocoon, repeatedly wrapping cloth and "sandwiching" treats and tatemnymi figures. the victim then attributed to the mountains, where the body quickly turns into a mummy. On said Berlin exhibition, in particular, could be seen a few of these mummies: in masks with wide eyes, long hair adorned with feathers in his belt - all necessary things for a pleasant journey to the afterlife.