In short, the Maya came first, and settled in modern-day Mexico. Next came the Olmecs , who also settled Mexico. They didn’t build any major cities, but they were widespread and prosperous. They were followed by the Inca in modern-day Peru, and finally the Aztecs, also in modern-day 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.
The people who are known as the ‘ Aztecs’ and ‘Maya ‘ live in Mexico and Central America today, and lived in the same areas in the past. The Aztec political centre was present-day Mexico City and the land around it. This is where the Aztec Empire was based. Unlike the Aztecs , the Maya were never an empire.
Though the Aztecs in Mexico and the Incas in Peru built empires at much the same time, it seems they never knew of each other’s existence.
There were Aztec garrisons on the Maya frontier, and very likely plans to attack. But then the Aztecs themselves were attacked – by the Spaniards. However, if by “the Aztecs ” we can include surviving warriors from the regions of Mexico that were part of the Aztec Empire, then the answer is yes.
Although Nicaragua was far south of the large Mayan and Aztec civilizations, they did not completely miss out on their influence. The Spanish also found tribes speaking dialects of the Mayan and Aztec languages.
The Mayan culture supported religion and the Mayan tribes worshiped nature gods such as God of Rain, God of Sun and God of Corn. The Mayans gave importance to astronomy and astrology. Human sacrifice was a part of the ancient Mayan religion . The Mayan temples followed the architectural style of step pyramids.
Qhapaq hucha was the Inca practice of human sacrifice , mainly using children. The Incas performed child sacrifices during or after important events, such as the death of the Sapa Inca (emperor) or during a famine. Children were selected as sacrificial victims as they were considered to be the purest of beings.
The Aztecs were Nahuatl-speaking people who lived in central Mexico in the 14th to 16th centuries. The Maya people lived in southern Mexico and northern Central America — a wide territory that includes the entire Yucatán Peninsula — from as early as 2600 BC. The civilization’s height was between 250 and 900 AD.
Scholars have suggested a number of potential reasons for the downfall of Maya civilization in the southern lowlands, including overpopulation, environmental degradation, warfare, shifting trade routes and extended drought. It’s likely that a complex combination of factors was behind the collapse.
The Aztec Empire flourished between c. 1345 and 1521 CE and, at its greatest extent, covered most of northern Mesoamerica. Aztec warriors were able to dominate their neighbouring states and permit rulers such as Motecuhzoma II to impose Aztec ideals and religion across Mexico.
Blood was viewed as a potent source of nourishment for the Maya deities, and the sacrifice of a living creature was a powerful blood offering. By extension, the sacrifice of a human life was the ultimate offering of blood to the gods, and the most important Maya rituals culminated in human sacrifice .
Invaders led by the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés overthrew the Aztec Empire by force and captured Tenochtitlan in 1521, bringing an end to Mesoamerica’s last great native civilization .