I. Prehistoric Times > N. Chiefdoms and States in the Americas (c. 1500 B.C.E.–1532 C.E.) > 3. Andean Civilizations
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
 
3. Andean Civilizations
 
Andean states developed in every kind of environment imaginable, everything from mountain valleys high in the Andes to arid coastal plains. In this region, different ecological zones were “stacked” one above the other from sea level high into the mountains, and the inhabitants of each zone depended on others for vital resources. Thus, Andean civilization pursued many evolutionary paths, which came together in a remarkable mosaic of states that depended on one another for survival.  1
 
a. Beginnings
 
The introduction of maize and cotton to the coast in about 2000 B.C.E. was a catalyst for civilization. So was the existence of dense populations and sedentary settlements. The formation of states both on the coast and in the highlands was also fostered by continuous interchange between coast and interior. Highland farmers needed dried fish, salt, and seaweed, the latter to combat endemic goiter. Carbohydrate foods like oca, ullucu, and white potatoes could not be grown in the lowlands. The two regions became closely interdependent.  2
Andean Civilization began in about 1900 B.C.E., a time when large ceremonial centers first appeared on the coast. The oldest is El Paraíso, a U-shaped complex of square buildings surrounded by tiers of platforms. These centers reflected new religious beliefs that used smoke and water to bridge the layers of the cosmos, to establish communication with the spiritual world.  3
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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