Chapter 21 -  Worlds Apart: The Americas and Oceania


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This chapter presents the evolution of complex societies in the Americas and the Pacific Islands up through the sixteenth century. Isolation and varied resources led to a wide range of social structures from simple hunting and gathering to settled agricultural villages to the highly complex urban societies like those of the Aztecs and the Incas.

Study of these societies is limited by the lack of written sources. The earliest accounts of the Aztec and Inca come from the Spanish conquerors and missionaries and are distorted by their prejudices. Nevertheless, those accounts plus oral traditions and archaeological evidence make it possible to describe those societies in some detail.


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