We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Most Common Indigenous People of Central and South America?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
PublicPeople is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At PublicPeople, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The Aztec, Inca, and Maya are the most common indigenous people of Central and South America. The Incas are the original people of Peru. The Mayans and the Aztecs are the first people of Mexico.

The Aztec group of indigenous people lived a hunter-gatherer life beginning in 1325 in Mexico. The Aztecs settled the capital Tenochtitlan, which is now Mexico City. Many indigenous people of Mexico have some Aztec heritage.

The Aztecs domesticated such plants as cocoa, vanilla, tomatoes, maize, tobacco, onions, bananas, squash, and beans, as well as many others. Cocoa beans were prized for making chocolate and were used as early currency. The indigenous Aztecs traded cocoa beans for clothing and tools. Sculpture was important to the Aztecs and most of their sculptures were carved from limestone. Parts of Mexico remain rich in limestone deposits today.

The Incan empire started in 1438 BC. The Incas were also called the Tiwantinsuya. Quechua is the Incan language. The Incan people predicted seasons through the careful observation of the planets and stars. They were a highly skilled indigenous tribe who designed complex roads and buildings with their skilled use of mathematics.

Peru's indigenous Incan people were polytheists as they believed in multiple gods. Viracocha is the god that the Incas believe created the Inca and the Incan people are known as the "Children of the Sun." The Incas created adobe dwellings using rocks and mixtures of mud and grass. They farmed corn, potatoes, coffee, and grains such as quinoa.

The Mayan civilization began in 2600 BC in the Yucatan. The Mayan people spread throughout Mexico, Guatemala, western Honduras, and northern Belize. The Mayans were talented potters and weavers who were also skilled at clearing land for trade networks. The Mayans created innovative underground rainwater storage reservoirs.

The Maya are one of the most innovative and inventive of all indigenous people. They built impressive stone structures with sculptured decorative architectural details using very limited tools. The Mayans also created advanced mathematics and writing systems.

Modern Mayans number more than six million people, making the Maya one of the world's largest indigenous populations. Many Mayan indigenous groups live in Mexico such as the Yucatecs, the Tzotzil, and the Tzeltal. More than thirty Mayan indigenous groups currently inhabit Central America and each group has a separate dialect of the Mayan language.

PublicPeople is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
PublicPeople, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

PublicPeople, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.