The Impact of the First Europeans to the Native Cultures of America

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The first Europeans arrived in North America in the fifteenth century CE. Native cultures included the Olmec, the Maya, the Aztecs, the Incas, the Mound Builders of the Mississippi region, and the Anasazi of the American Southwest. The first metropolis in Mesoamerica, was the city of Teotihuacan, capital of an early state about thirty miles northeast of Mexico City that arose around the third century B.C.E. and flourished for nearly a millennium until it collapsed under mysterious circumstances. Among the groups moving into the Valley of Mexico after the fall of Teotihuacan were the Mexica. Folk legend held that their original homeland was the island in the lake called Aztlan, from that is why today they are known as the Aztecs. The Aztecs were excellent warriors. They set out to bring the entire region under their domination. For the remainder of the fifteenth century, the Aztecs took control over much of which is known as modern Mexico, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean and as far south as the Guatemalan border. The Chimor kingdom was eventually succeeded in the late fifteenth century by an invading force from the mountains far to the south. The Inka were a small community in the area of Cuzco, a city located at an altitude of ten thousand feet in the mountains of southern Peru. In the 1440s, under the leadership of their powerful ruler Pachakuti, the Inka launched a campaign of conquest that eventually brought the entire region under their authority. Under his
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