Difference Between Maya vs Aztec vs Inca
Southeastern Mexico, all of Guatemala and Belize, and the western portions of Honduras and El Salvador comprised of Maya. A Mesoamerican civilization commenced in around 2600 B.C., by the Maya peoples, and known for its hierological script (the only familiar fully developed writing system of the pre-Columbian American) is known as Maya. Maya people survived in farming villages on the Yucatan Peninsula and the highlands to the south. Maya was ruled by prince and priests and was not abolished like other cultures, but moderately disappeared.
The Valley of Mexico, a big high-elevation basin in the Sierra Madre Mountains was the center of Aztec from the period of 1300 to 1521. The valley was appropriate for agriculture since it had a moderate climate and was also an abundance of natural resources. Tenochtitlan was the largest and the capital city of Aztecs which was built on an island in Lake Texcoco. Aztec became well-known farmers, warriors, and temple builders. Finally, the Spanish conquistadors led by Hernan Cortes conquered Tenochtitlan and overpower the Aztec in 1521.
Around the year 1200, Inca started settling in the Valley of Cuzco in the Andes Mountains of central Peru. It was the largest empire that developed and extended approximately 2500 miles from north to south and included around 16 million people. The Incan united its empire by building a huge road network through mountains and across rivers. The Inca was famous for stonework and build stone temples without using mortars.
Head To Head Comparison Between Maya vs Aztec vs Inca (Infographics)
Below is the top 5 difference between Maya vs Aztec vs Inca
Key differences between Maya vs Aztec vs Inca
These are popular choices in the market; let us discuss some of the major differences:
- The Maya were native people of Mexico and Central America, while Aztec covered most of northern Mesoamerica between c.1345 and 1521 CE, whereas Inca flourished in ancient Peru between c.1400 and 1533 CE and extended across western South America.
- The Maya were polytheistic but they did not have any particular God, while Aztec worship Huitzilopochtli as their main god and Inca worshiped Inti as their primary God.
- The Maya created a writing system of hieroglyphics, the Aztec created the famous mask of Xuihetecuhtli that employed turquoise mosaic, and the Inca created a massive road network through mountains and rivers.
- Maya builds towering temples and elaborate palaces, Aztec build their capital city Tenochtitlan on an island, while Inca constructed stone temples without using mortars yet the stone fit together so well that a knife would not fit between the stones.
- The Maya used two calendars. One which was based on the solar year, while the other was a kind of sacred almanac. Maya also used a three-symbol numerical system that allowed them to record numbers into millions. While Aztec used a sacred calendar and a 365-day agricultural calendar, the Aztec writing system was based on glyphs, symbols that stand for sound or words. The Inca didn’t develop a writing system; their records were kept on bundles of knotted cords called quipus.
- The Maya architects used local materials, like limestone, which they used at Palenque and Tikal, while metalwork was the most primary skill of the Aztec. Turquoise was mostly used with Aztec artists, the most common example is the decorated human skull which represents the God Tezcatlipoca. The Inca were affected by the art and techniques of Chimu civilization.
Maya vs Aztec vs Inca Comparison Table
Let’s look at the top comparison:
|The basis of comparison||Maya||Aztec||Inca|
|Existence||They were mainly settled on and around Yucatan Peninsula in Central America||They lived in the Valley of Mexico in Central Mexico||They Comprised an empire in the Andes Mountain of South America|
|Political Condition||Maya comprised up of city-states and was not united politically. There was an independent ruler for each city-state.||Aztec was ruled by an Emperor whose main purpose was to lead in the wars. The local rulers and conquered people had to pay tax to the Aztec.||Inca was ruled by Sapa Inca, the emperor who had absolute power. This emperor was also the empire’s religious leader.|
|Religion||Maya practiced Human Sacrifice and was polytheistic||Aztecs were polytheistic. They build huge temples and pyramids in dedication to their god Huitzilopochtli.||Inca was polytheistic. They worshiped their primary God Inti, who they called the sun God.|
|Art & Architecture||The Maya built huge arrays of structures, and have left a considerable architectural heritage. A classic period city called “Tikal” was reconstructed by Maya which was spread over 20 sq. Kilometers.||Monumental sculptures were mainly favorite. They build statues like that of colossal Coatlicue or very alive and famous sculpture of a seated Xochipilli.
Aztec art portrayed all varieties of a subject but especially famous were animals, plants and gods, specifically those related to fertility and agriculture.
|The Inca buildings were in uniformity with huge imperial structures. The Inca architecture incorporated natures beauty, yet creating an amazing mixture of geometrical and natural forms.|
|Decline||The fact that Maya declined is still not known to Archeologists, but presently more than 2 million Maya people live in Guatemala and southern Mexico.||Aztec were ultimately defeated by Spanish conquistadors led by Hernan Cortes||Inca was defeated by Spanish conquistadors led by Francisco Pizarro. Also, Smallpox spread which killed most of the Inca.|
Maya vs Aztec vs Inca are like each other in many of the ways, like they all build pyramids, Maya, Aztec, and Inca were all polytheistic, practiced human sacrifice but still, they are three different cultures that rose and fell at different times for different reasons.
Finally, Maya was the first, who created a writing system as well as used calendars. The Aztec followed about 400 years after the Maya began to shrink. The Inca were from a completely different area, they could not invent their own writing system rather they kept bundles of knotted cords called quipus as their records and lasted less than 300 years. Before being abolished, they managed to become the most advanced in their short life.
This has been a guide to the top difference between Maya vs Aztec vs Inca. Here we also discuss the key differences with infographics and comparison table. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –