Confrontation of Cultures

The Americas are home to many native tribes; the world’s largest river - the Amazon flows here. There were communities of the natives such as the Arawakian Lucayos and the Caribs. The Arawaks sailed in dugout canoes in sea. They collaborated with the Spanish in the latter’s search for gold. The Tupinamba Indians lived in the eastern coast of South America, rich in brazilwood, from which the name ‘Brazil’ comes. The Aztecs had migrated from the north to the central valley of Mexico, which they named so after their God, Mexitli. Aztecs made chinampas i.e. artificial islands, in Lake Mexico. Tenochtitlan was the capital city of the Aztecs. The Incas were also known as the Quechuas. The capital city – Cuzco was established by the first Inca emperor, Manco Capac. They spoke Quechan language. The Aztecs and the Incas shared some common features, e.g., hierarchical societies with no private ownership of resources. The voyages of discovery were pioneered by explorers from Spain and Portugal. The magnetic compass was used by Europeans for the voyages. The printed version of Ptolemy’s Geography was available in 1477. The Vikings of Norway had reached North America in the 11th century. Portugal gained independence from Spain in 1139. Christopher Columbus had reached South America. He also reached the Guanahani Island in the Bahamas in 1492. Amerigo Vespucci- after him the term ‘America’ was used. Francisco Pizarro captured the Inca emperor from the ruler, Atahualpa in 1532. Brazil was occupied by the Portuguese under command of Pedro Alvares Cabral. They exploited Brazilwood. In 1601, King Philip II of Spain publicly banned forced labour.

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