05 June 2015

An 800-Year History of Mesoamerica

Although during 600-1400 CE, trade between the North and South American continents mostly never occurred, divided by present-day Panama, Americans traded across most of North America and a significant portion of South America both luxury goods and religious items. Furthermore, although mostly, Americans utilized free markets, as the Incas developed (1200 CE), they transitioned into a government-operated trade network.
First of all, while North Americans traded across across the continent via rivers, stemming trade routes from modern-day Panama to areas near modern-day Buffalo, NY, trade between the American continents seemed to halt at their border. As Panama was densely populated with rainforests, could rarely traverse the land, as, historically, few items have passed through that seemingly impermeable boundary. This continuative environmental segregation between North and South America was most likely caused by the absence of wheeled vehicles, horses, camels, and donkeys, entities integral to Afro-Eurasian trade which couldn’t aid Americans in crossing environmental boundaries.

However, while Panama halted trade between the two American continents, numerous religious and luxury items disseminated throughout America by trade. For example, mesoamerican birds’ feathers supposedly used in religious services popularized throughout North America. Furthermore, evidence shows that a rubber ball game propagated throughout America, as well. Nevertheless, much intercivilizational commerce worked exclusively for communities’ elite classes, as most American trade was dedicated to transfer expensive cotton clothing and jewels. Overall, with the emergence of new innovations came their diffusion by trade, as, when communities found revolutionary ideas and technologies, they adapted in Darwinist strives to stay superior to their neighbors.

The economic systems, however, in South America, transformed, as, with the Incas’ development, came new, nearly Marxist economic platforms, centered at Cuzco, starkly contrasting initial American economics. Unlike previous centuries, still manifested in the Aztec Pochteca class, the Aztec privatized traders, Incan trade and transportation was nearly entirely government-controlled. In fact, the Inca government financed new roads and bridges incomparable to any contemporaneous American infrastructure and controlled all regional trade. Governmental agents meticulously planned commerce in agriculture, textiles, pottery, jewelry, and craft goods, giving merchants zero control. This may be attributed to the unique mountainous and forested geography of South America; perhaps, independent traders, without governmental intervention in infrastructure, couldn’t successfully traverse the treacherous paths connecting Inca villages, and needed government assistance to experience the benefits of trade seen elsewhere.

Overall, within the American trade network, many innovations passed throughout America, despite each continent’s environmental segregation throughout most of 600-1400 CE. Still, the South American economic system dramatically shifted past 1000 CE towards total government-control.

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