Compare and contrast Aztecs and Incas
Comparing the perspectives, issues and concerns of Aztec of Inca peoples and their contact with Europe.
The Incans and Aztecs were the two most powerful civilizations in pre-colonial Mesoamerica. Like the Europeans who would come after them, the Incans and Aztecs were a warlike people, who conquered and controlled the general Mesoamerican populace. Also like the Europeans, the Incans and Aztecs were innovators in commerce, governmental administration, and military strategy. To truly understand the Incans and Aztecs as they existed at the time of early European conquest, one must compare and contrast five important aspects of both empires. The Incans' and Aztecs' interactions with the Europeans are strongly linked to the politics, social structure, religion, warfare methods of both societies and culture. By looking at these five aspects, we can understand not only the way in which these societies interacted with the Europeans, but also the ways in which the Incans and Aztecs were uniquely distinct from each other, playing similar but not identical roles in the European colonization of Mesoamerica.
Eurocentrism is the belief that Europeans of the western world are superior in culture and social structure in comparison to the rest of the world. It was believed that everything has stemmed as a result of their superior civilized culture. Europeans believed that they were the first to modernize; subsequently inhabited colonies would follow their lead. They were able to harness natural features to increase production of the agrarian environment by introducing innovative techniques in agriculture such as plows and cultivation equipment. The colonist’s perception of civilization differed greatly from the colonized.
Hernan Cortes, the leader of an expedition in the year 1519, landed in Veracruz in the Gulf of Mexico and began traveling towards the Aztec city, Tenochtitlan. The Aztecs were oppressive rulers and this wore on smaller city–states. The Aztecs had developed a social structure comparable to the Spanish settlers in Spain. They had a system that was largely in control of surrounding areas as well as their own. However, due to overruling politics, Hernan was able to take advantage of this opposition to Aztech rule. He made alliances with these smaller city-states. This very fact is in opposition to history that stated these city-states were mere villages, backwards and incapable of civilization.