WEFOUNDAncient Civilizations of Mexico and Central America (Classic Reprint)


Please note: this legacy course does not offer a certificate and may contain broken links and outdated information. Although archived, it is open for learning without registration or enrollment. Please consider contributing updates to this course on GitHub (you can also adopt, adapt, and distribute this course under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license ). To find fully-supported, current courses, visit our Learn site .

Primary Resources: This course is composed of a wide range of free online materials. However, the following course content is most heavily relied on:

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all its assigned materials.  This includes assessments within each unit as well as at the end of this course.

The switch to agriculture created a much more reliable and abundant food source which allowed populations to soar. This lead to diversification of labor which meant that food requirements could be on the backs of certain people and new classes like artisans or warriors could develop. These people developed technologies like pottery, metallurgy or plows.

About 5,000 years ago the first urban societies developed laying the foundations for the first civilizations. Nearly all civilizations share the same few features- they have abundant food surpluses, contained cities, political bureaucracies, armies, defined religious and social hierarchies and long distance trading.

Neolithic means "new stone", even though agriculture was the crowning achievement of the period. Civilizations started out small. Agriculture at first tended to tie only small groups together. These groups also all settled along rivers, important as a reliable and predictable source of water. As time passed, families usually worked the same plot of land over successive generations, leading to the concept of ownership.

Please note: this legacy course does not offer a certificate and may contain broken links and outdated information. Although archived, it is open for learning without registration or enrollment. Please consider contributing updates to this course on GitHub (you can also adopt, adapt, and distribute this course under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license ). To find fully-supported, current courses, visit our Learn site .

Primary Resources: This course is composed of a wide range of free online materials. However, the following course content is most heavily relied on:

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all its assigned materials.  This includes assessments within each unit as well as at the end of this course.

Please note: this legacy course does not offer a certificate and may contain broken links and outdated information. Although archived, it is open for learning without registration or enrollment. Please consider contributing updates to this course on GitHub (you can also adopt, adapt, and distribute this course under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license ). To find fully-supported, current courses, visit our Learn site .

Primary Resources: This course is composed of a wide range of free online materials. However, the following course content is most heavily relied on:

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all its assigned materials.  This includes assessments within each unit as well as at the end of this course.

The switch to agriculture created a much more reliable and abundant food source which allowed populations to soar. This lead to diversification of labor which meant that food requirements could be on the backs of certain people and new classes like artisans or warriors could develop. These people developed technologies like pottery, metallurgy or plows.

About 5,000 years ago the first urban societies developed laying the foundations for the first civilizations. Nearly all civilizations share the same few features- they have abundant food surpluses, contained cities, political bureaucracies, armies, defined religious and social hierarchies and long distance trading.

Neolithic means "new stone", even though agriculture was the crowning achievement of the period. Civilizations started out small. Agriculture at first tended to tie only small groups together. These groups also all settled along rivers, important as a reliable and predictable source of water. As time passed, families usually worked the same plot of land over successive generations, leading to the concept of ownership.

Here's a coming attraction of the people, places, ideas, and things coming at you: Your 3.2 million-year-old human ancestor Lucy, mummies, pyramids, Cleopatra, "an eye for an eye", the birth of major religions Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, the birth of democracy, the first Olympics, Julius Caesar, gladiators, the invention of writing, paper, and the wheel, kingdoms built of stone in Africa, the Great Wall of China, the introduction of such concepts as zero, time, and monotheism (the belief in one god), Samurai, martial arts, palaces of gold, and even the Sphinx. Whew!

The study of ancient civilizations and people raises some profound questions. Who are humans? Where did we come from? Where are we going?

As you explore these civilizations, see if you can make sense of this Sphinxlike statement from author William Faulkner: "The past is never dead. It's not even past." It may help you see where you are going.


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