What might a person have seen in society and life in the Americas before 1500 AD?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The answer to this would depend, of course, upon just where and when a person was living.  A person living long before 1500 AD would have seen very different things than one living in 1498.  A person living in what is now South Dakota would have seen very different things than one living in what is now Mexico City.

A person living in the late 1400s in Mexico City, for example, would have seen a highly urbanized and complex civilization.  They would have seen a civilization that was very hierarchical.  The ruling class and the priests would have been much richer than the common people.  The person would have seen many religious rituals involving human sacrifice.  They would also have seen an amazingly clean and prosperous city.

By contrast, a person living in South Dakota, even at the same time, would have seen very different things.  This person would have seen nomadic tribes moving around on foot.  The tribes would have had no horses yet and people and dogs would have had to carry or pull everything.  There would have been very little inequality in the society.  Some people would have had more status, but no one would have been much richer than anyone else.

These very different types of society both existed in the Americas soon before 1500 AD.

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