Question from Harvey Hopkins
The Maya, Aztecs and Inca were three great empires of the Central and South American continents prior to the invasion of the Conquistadors in the 16th century. The Maya were the most ancient by a wide margin. The culture was well established by 1000 BCE – over 2,000 years before the Incas and Aztecs. Both the Maya and Aztecs controlled regions of what is now Mexico. The Aztecs led a more brutal, warlike lifestyle, with frequent human sacrifices, whereas the Maya favoured scientific endeavours such as mapping the stars. The Inca were based much further south in the Andean region (home to modern-day Peru and Chile) and were accomplished builders. They successfully connected their vast empire with roughly 40,000 kilometres of roads, tunnels and bridges.
Answered by James Horton for Brain Dump in How It Works issue 115
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