Good morning, we will conclude our Lost Kingdoms of South America series with Kingdom of the Desert. Dr. Jago Cooper explores the deserts of Peru and discovers the Chimor people. The Chimor faced extremes in their climate but they made it work. They created a desert oasis. How did they build the great cities? What motivated them to invade other lands? Why did they disappear? Dr. Cooper explores that and more in the Kingdom of the Desert.
In the 15th Century, the Chimor was at the height of their empire. They settled between the coast of modern-day Peru and the Andes Mountains. The Chimor Kingdom lasted for 450 years before vanishing into the desert. Which empire came first the Inca or the Chimor; Dr. Cooper makes the case that it was the Chimor.
When the Europeans arrived, they did not know what they were in for when they approached the Chimor capital city: Chan Chan. It was the largest adobe complex in the world. Chan Chan was established in the 10th Century and the Chimor people continued to expand the city for 500 years. It housed 10 palaces within its high walls. However, it was not the culture that interested the Spanish explorers, it was gold.
A hierarchy was ingrained in the people. In their creation story, Royal men came from a gold egg, royal women came from a silver egg, and the common people came from a bronze egg. The Chimor people shared the story that their ancestors came down from the coast and settled around Chan Chan. The sea provided food for the people. They would sacrifice to the sea gods to help with the harvest. However, the early Chimor people could not just rely on the sea for their food. They also looked to the land to survive.
So how does a civilization make a desert bloom? The desert is known for being harsh and unforgiving. However, the Chimor had an advantage: the melt from the Andes in the river valleys. Dr. Cooper explores this theory. He discovers and earlier people who lived in the same area as the Chimor. These people used their location to their advantage too. However, a catastrophic event led to their collapse. It was two centuries before another civilization could survive in the deserts of Peru.
Archeologists discover that the Chimor used many of the same ideas this previous civilization had. The Chimor cleaned out and took over the canals from the previous civilization. They just made things bigger and better. Cooper is surprised at how irrigation can change a desert into a green, vibrant, and fertile area. Over many centuries, men and women dug canals and imported soil to make a desert bloom. To continue to learn more about the Chimor people, continue to watch this documentary on YouTube.
The People of the Desert would be a good episode to show in geography, clips for a STEM class, and earth science class too. Cooper goes fishing with the local fishermen and talks about how the currents impacted the fishing. He also talks about the geography of Peru and how people adapted to it to build a civilization. Teachers, you are limited by your imagination in determining how to use these documentaries in your class.
In the end, Lost Kingdoms of South America is an excellent series to show in a classroom for teachers who want to go beyond talking about the Inca people and the Spanish. Dr. Cooper helps these lost kingdoms take their place in South American history. The deserts and rainforests hide fascinating stories. Teachers, take a look at these documentaries and share them with your history, geography, or earth science classes.
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