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Top 10 Pre-Columbian America: Sites to See

History occurs in the real world; not on a computer screen, nor amongst the weathered pages of expansive historical volumes. Academic prose is often dry, weighed down as it is by necessary, though, technical detail that for many stunts their will to press on. One can read about history all they like, and a vital task it is, for the words of participants themselves breathes life into long ago events, while the considerable work of later historians to provide coherency to often difficult accounts is of considerable value, but it is in the open among the remnants of field and city that one can truly appreciate the scope of long ago Empires.

Historical Conquest seeks to educate in a fun and exciting way. By engaging our readers with our ever expanding card game and curriculum, we seek to broaden knowledge of past centuries long overlooked. As part of this effort it is essential to gain an understanding of the history being taught, and the best way to do this is to walk in the footsteps of long ago. Pre-Columbian america was home to a plethora of mighty Empires and tribes as fractured and complex as Europe, Asia and Africa of the same period. But something unique among the Americas was their relative isolation to the other three. Indeed, before Columbus, horses and wheeled transport had not yet appeared. Steel and iron, so necessary for the advancement of the “old world” were not to be seen, and yet great powers soared without them. The great cities of the Inca high on broad Andean slopes were molded from the very bedrock of the mountains with Stone Age technology - marvels of humanity’s perseverance and bottomless creativity. As were those of the Aztec and the Maya to the north, many of which can still be visited today. Counted among them are several wonders of the world, natural doors through which the past may be glimpsed and more importantly, understood. For understanding over judgement must be the greater of the two in the study of the past.

Latin America was home to great powers whose remnants remain visible to the eye. Mexico herself is full of grand wonders lurking prominently within modern Mexican society. Mexico City, built upon the bloodied ruins of fallen Tenochtitlan, offers visitors a peak at the fabled Imperium of the Aztecs. The Templo Mayor, or Huēyi Teōcalli (We-i Teo-kali) was the principle temple at the very heart of Aztec society. The impressive ruins of the temple remain beautifully conserved by the Mexican government, who has built an accompanying museum complete with the largest collection of Aztec artefacts anywhere in the world. Surrounded as it is by modern Mexico City, past and present merge in an unforgettable experience.

To the south of the hustle and bustle of modern Mexico stood the realm of the Maya, whose cities were concentrated amidst the sprawling forests of the Yucatan Peninsula. Existing over the course of four thousand years, Maya cities survived centuries of war and pillage, yet remain resplendent echoes of a glorious age now forgotten. Here, the capitals of Chichen-Itza and Mayapan linger on centuries after their falls from power. Chichen-Itza’s Kulkan Temple stands to draw one million tourists annually, whilst Mayapan ruins boast some four thousand separate structures, and is the most complete Maya city still remaining to us. Uxmal’s “Pyramid of the Magician” stands as the last vestige of five different incarnations of construction, offering a towering look at the might of this stone aged civilization.

But Mexico alone does not hold claim to wonders. Nestled amongst the broad peaks of the Peruvian Andes stand the Imperial citadels of Cuzco and Macchu Picchu; architectural wonders hewn from the living rock by a workforce without wheeled transport, welding tools of stone and obsidian. These rivals to the Pyramids of the Nile are all the more remarkable as they stand several thousand feet above sea level. There exist no more potent symbols of Imperial Inca power, yet stand in deep contrast with the apparent ease by which Pizarro’s warriors were able to destroy them.

These sites are for the world’s people to appreciate, lest the memory of these Imperiums fade and wither. Understanding the Maya and Aztec means walking over the same ground, just as no appreciation for the ancient Egyptians or Romans would be complete without a stroll along the stones of the Pyramids, or among the columns of the Coliseum. Historical Conquest aims to educate in an engaging manner. Through our curriculum and card game we wish to rekindle a lost fire, for the pursuit of historical knowledge has dwindled, and it is our intention to change that.

Information is provided by the links to the websites below.

  • Variety of Maya sites, Mexico

  • Uxmal, Yucatan, Mexico - Mayapan Ruins, Yucatan, Mexico

  • Chichen-Itza Ruins, Yucatan, Mexico

  • Macchu Picchu, Peru

  • Taino, Puerto Rico: The Taino were the first people the Spanish encountered, and not much of them remains. Or does it? Check out this website to explore many Taino sites open to the public.

  • Chile: Chile is home to countless places to visit, including Easter Island and the Mapuche (that most successful of Indigenous peoples who fended off the Spanish for several hundred years until they were forcefully assimilated into the nation of Chile in the late nineteenth century. Yet, for all this, the people still remain, living as they always have in their ancestral lands of La Araucania in the south).

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