The Aztec, Inca and Maya Empires charts the rise and fall pre-Columbian civilizations in Mesoamerica and South America, from the Maya to the Aztec and Inca empires, as well as the Zapotec, Olmec, Teotihuacan and Toltec civilizations.
From government structures to marriage rites, from pyramids to human sacrifice, from agriculture to textiles, astronomy to hieroglyphics to ball games, the book explores the history of what today we call Latin America from its early kingdoms up to the crippling of the societies with the arrival of conquistadores and smallpox.
The biggest Mesoamerican cities, such as Teotihuacan, Tenochtitlan and Cholula, were among the largest in the world. Mesoamerican civilisations are credited with many inventions: building pyramid-temples, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, writing, highly accurate calendars, fine arts, intensive agriculture, engineering, an abacus calculator, and complex theology. In South America, the Inca Empire, the largest empire in pre-Columbian America, was, at its height, possibly the largest in the world. And yet it achieved this without wheeled vehicles, animals to ride or draft animals, without using iron or steel, or developing a written script.
Easily accessible and illustrated with 180 colour and black-and-white photographs, maps and artworks, the Aztec, Inca and Maya Empires is a fascinating account of Mesoamerican and South American civilisations from the 2nd century BCE to the 16th century CE.
Martin J. Dougherty is a freelance writer specializing in military and defence topics. He is the author of Medieval Warrior, SAS and Elite Forces Guide Extreme Unarmed Combat, and SAS and Elite Forces Guide Sniper, Small Arms: From the Civil War to the Present Day, and books on personal self-defence. He lives in northern England.