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Anahuac: The Aztec word for the civilized world they knew before the arrival of the Spanish. To them civilization meant urban life, writing, and the high culture of the nobility.
Andean America: A culture area located in South America where urban life developed and flourished for thousands of years before the arrival of the Spanish. It encompassed the modern nations of Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and Bolivia (the Andes mountain chain and adjacent areas).
Archaeology: The study of the material remains of past cultures.
Beringia: A vast landmass composed of eastern Siberia, western Alaska and the low-lying, ocean-covered zone between them, today the Bering Strait. During glacial periods the center of Beringia was periodically exposed as dry land by lowered sea-levels.
Culture Area: A region of diverse peoples which is united by certain cultural practices, a language, or religion. The peoples may not recognize the culture area themselves. It is a tool developed by anthropologists to try to understand cultural differences and similarities. Latin America can be considered a culture area today, Europe another, and the Islamic world yet another.
Mayan Hieroglyphs: The system of writing developed by the Maya of southern Mexico and Guatemala, which recorded historical, astronomical and ritual information in books made of fig bark paper and on buildings and monuments.
Mesoamerica: A pre-Columbian culture area which encompasses parts of Mexico, all of Guatemala and Belize, and the western portions of El Salvador and Honduras. This culture area saw the emergence of cities and states, literacy and sophisticated astronomy before the arrival of Europeans.
Quipu:One of the world's most unique ways of re cording information. Quipu are groups of multicolored strings hanging from a main string on which knots representing numerical values are tied. Accounting information was "written" in this fashion, with the color of the string indicating what was being counted. Spanish colonial documents suggest that quipu masters could store other information as well, even historical data. Quipus were used throughout the Inca Empire and related strings are still in use in some areas of the Andean Highlands.
Tawantinsuyu:The Inca word for their empire. It meant the Land of the Four Quarters. The four portions of the empire were something like giant provinces.
Templo Mayor:The principal pyramid in the center of Tenochtitlan, the capital city of the Aztecs. The Templo Mayor was the site of the temples of Tlaloc, the rain god, and Huitzilopochtli, the most important Aztec god.
A COMPREHENSIVE MULTI-MEDIA SOCIAL STUDIES COURSE ON LATIN AMERICA