Mayan, Aztec, and Incan Geography     Jake B. 1/2 core

The locations landforms and climates of South and Central America all had similarities and impacted the Mayan, Incan, and Aztec trade and tax. The Aztecs were based from the middle of the Mexico valley. Incans were stretched along the west coast of South America bordered by the Andes Mountains on the eastern side. The last group, the Mayans was spread through present-day Belize, most of Guatemala, and El Salvador. There was taxing and trading going on in all of the empires keeping the large empires strong.
The Aztec empire

    The Aztecs were located in the middle of the Mexico Valley in the middle of Lake Texco. The valley was very marshy and scattered with islands. The islands were unwanted and solid ground was needed so the Aztecs began sinking large trees and then covering them with mud and boulders creating a solid surface. Streams and mountains surrounded the city. The mountains surrounding the capital city created great natural barrier. The empire was spread along the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. The empires land would reach as far south as the boarder of Guatemala. At the height of the empire, it was around 5 million people, making it a very large and strong empire at the time. “The Aztec Empire of 519 was the most powerful Mesoamerican kingdom of all time” (
The Incan empire

    The next empire I am going to start talking about is the Incas. The Incan empire was centered in Cuzco, Peru. The empire was stretched along the west coast of Southern America. It stretched along almost the whole range of the Andes Mountains. The Andes were one of the tallest mountain ranges in the whole world. So it serves as a great natural barrier on the eastern side warding off other empires. It passed through present-day Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, and Bolivia.The territory was 2,500 miles long. It reached from Columbia to Chile and from the Atacama Desert to the Amazonian rainforest. It was called the land of four quarters because the climate and geography was so different, from the high mountains to the rainforests and deserts.
The Mayan empire

    The last empire is the Mayans. The Mayan was usually divided into 3 zones, the southern Mayan highlands, the central lowlands, and the northern lowlands. The Mayan culture spread through present-day Mexico, Belize, most of Guatemala, and parts of El Salvador and Honduras. The furthest region it reached was the Petén Jungle in Guatemala. “In the south, pine forests covered the mountain highlands. In the northern and central regions rainforests, grasslands, and swamps covered those areas. These areas are known as the lowlands”(Frey 260). The topography varied in the regions of the Mayan empire. The south and the lowlands were covered by thick dense rainforest.
    Mayan resources were very scarce. It was hard to find surface water and good soil. The different regions had different techniques at farming. In the south they would slash and burn. Then in the northern mountains they would terrace farm the hills.
Tax and Tribute in all of the empires

    One big way of strengthening and keeping the empire together was trading and tax or tribute. The Aztec empire was made of many city-states under the Aztec rule. They kept it strong by creating taxes or tribute from all of the city-states. The states would pay in various valuable objects. All of the money and objects would flow into Tenochtitlan, the capital city. With all the resources going into the city Tenochtitlan became a very powerful and wealthy city.
    In the Incan empire there were roads linked throughout the empire. “…A 14,000 mile-long road system criss-crossing high Andean mountain passes and linking the rulers with the ruled” ( They would have messengers travel by feet for very far distances. They would stop every 30 miles for breaks. Trade and messaging would flow through the empire.
The Inca traded many different things because the different zones would provide different materials. The hills provided potatoes, cocoa, animal skin and much more. The lower valleys produced sweet potatoes, maize, squash, peanuts and various other objects. But the Incas favorite thing to trade was gold.
    For Mayan trade they would have to do long distance trading because of the little resources. One example of a city, Tikal, had a large population so they would have to trade from up to 100 km away. When the trade increased it made it a stronger and wealthier city. Some objects needed in the city were some pottery, stone tools, salt and then other food including potatoes, corn, beans, and squash. All the empires needed trade and tax to keep them strong and successful.
    Now that you have learned about the locations, landforms, and climates of South and Central America you can see how it impacted the three large empires, And there trade and tax. To keep a strong empire successful, everything has to work out and trade and tax must increase as the empire grows. As you can see all of the empires were very strong and large.

Work cited
Frey, Wendy. History Alive the Medieval World. Palo Alto, CA: Teachers Curriculum Institute. 2005, Print.

John P. Schmal. History of Mexico –The Aztec Empire. Huston Institute for Culture. 2004. Web.

Liesl Clark. The Lost Inca Empire. WBCH Educational Foundation. November 1, 2000. Web.

Authors page

Hi, my name is Jake Bagnall and I live in Santa Cruz, CA. And go to Mission Hill Middle School. I live with one of my two sisters; the other is in college at LMU down in Los Angeles. I also live with my Mom and Dad. I can always rely on them to take me places and support me at my sports events. I play many sports but my favorites are baseball and basketball. I play baseball for the Central Coast Whitecaps, a travel baseball team from all around the area. I play pitcher and outfield. In my spare time I am always hanging out with friends and going either body boarding, skateboarding or just hanging around. Since I live by the ocean I am always either checking the waves, on the cliffs or biking on West cliff, and in the summer I’m usually at the beach.

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