Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Mesoamerica, South America and Sub Saharan Africa

         In Mesoamerica, South America and Sub-Saharan Africa the degrees of communication and connection varied, but what is evident, is the fact that many of these societies shared common beliefs and practices. Universal religions did not develop, but integrated cultural systems did emerge around communities founded on local religious ideas. Competitive environments of warfare and battles led to an intellectual curiosity to who human beings were and an explanation of their behavior. Because most societies lacked beasts of burden, original inhabitants of Mesoamerica, South America and Sub-Saharan Africa did not develop substantial long distance communications or trade
         In Mesoamerica the Olmecs had seemingly little contact with other civilizations and therefore developed a very unique, tight knit, civilization that organized into a loose confederation of villages sharing a common language, trading with each other, and worshipping the same gods. Mayans however, did trade over long distances. They made genius scientific and mathematical innovations as well as having scribes, legal experts, military advisers and artisans that made up the pillars of their society. A seen in the primary source image of Mayan pyramids, they were able to create magnificent pyramids. While the Olmecs had little contact with other civilizations, it is evident that the Mayans did.
          In South America we see the Chavin people in the Andes mountains of Northern Peru. They organized trade up and down the mountains. The ecological diversities made it possible for the Chavin people to provide for most of their needs locally, so they had a limited need for long distance trade. However, they were influenced by the peoples as far as the Amazon and even the Pacific Coast to create devotional cults that focused on wild animals.
          In Sub-Saharan Africa the common cultural traits were partly due to the geography and climate. The Sudanic Savanna Region was where the largest population existed. They, unlike so many other societies, had domesticated beasts of burden and therefore could travel much easier. Sub-Saharan Africa was filled with diverse hunter gatherer societies as well as sophisticated farming societies that were able to coexist. Metal working advanced, which advanced agriculture, which in turn advanced and grew societies. In West Africa one such iron working society formed called Nok.
          Nubia was influenced by several different cultures. Some societies pushed away from this influence while some seemed to move closer to it. The Kush dwelt there between 1700 and 1500 BC. They adopted political and cultural practices from Egypt, but after the fall of the Kush, Nubian states moved South to avoid being influenced by Egypt. After this fall of the Kush, the Meroe, a thriving center of production and commerce, developed just South of the Egyptian Pharaonic state. Therefore., they were influenced by Egypt as well as being influenced by South Sub-Saharan Africa.
           There was great regional diversity throughout Mesoamerica, South America and Sub-Saharan Africa. We can see then that the political and intellectual leaders grappled with the same questions as Afro-Eurasia did. Some were able to develop long distance trade and some simple picked up traits from neighboring societies.