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Topic 8 Asia and the Americas


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Mesoamerica
an area extending from central Mexico to Honduras, home to several ancient cultures in the Americas
Indian
Misnomer created by Columbus when referring to indigenous American peoples
Maya
Early American civilization located in central Mesoamerica
Aztec
one of the nomadic tribes that penetrated into central Mexico; established empire around Lake Texcoco after 1325
Inca
Group of clans (ayllu) centered at Cuzco; created an empire in the Andes during the 15th century
Mita
Labor extracted for lands assigned to the Incan state and the religion
Quipu
System of knotted strings used by the Incas in place of a writing system
Calpulli
Clans in Aztec society that provided labor and warriors
Tenochtitlan
Founded around 1325 on a marshy island in Lake Texcoco; became center of Aztec power
Chinampas
Beds of aquatic weeds, mud, and earth placed in frames made of cane and rooted in lakes to create "floating islands" for agriculture
Tang Taizong
Emperor responsible for restoring China to its glory; reforming the government and law code
Wu Zhao
Wife of Tang Taizong who ruled China after he fell ill and was a strong ruler until the age of 80
Neo-Confucians
revived ancient confucian teachings in Song era of China; made China hostile to outside ideas and influences
Footbinding
Male-imposed practice to mutilate women's feet in order to reduce size; confined women to the household; painful
Gentry
class of powerful, scholar-officials in China
Pastorialist
Herders of domesticated animals
Steppes
a large area of flat unforested grassland in southeastern Europe or Siberia
Genghis Khan
Elected supreme Mongol ruler in 1206; began the Mongols' rise to world power
Pax Mongolica
Period of safe passage for travelers, trade caravans and missionaries primarily on the Silk Roads
Kublai Khan
Mongol conqueror of China; established the Yuan Empire
Marco Polo
Venetian trader who visited China and told stories about Kublai Khan's empire