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The Aztecs: The American Indian people known as the Aztec ruled a large empire in what is now Mexico. When the Spaniard Hernan Cortes reached the Valley of Mexico in 1519 he found a splendid city standing on an island in a lake. At this time the Aztec civilisation was the most advanced in North America.

The Incas: The Spanish conquistadors reached Peru in 153. They found a vast empire of Quechua-speaking people called the Incas. Their vast territory, that extended along the Pacific Coast, was ruled through a highly organised government. Many remains of the Inca civilisation can still be found scattered over the central highlands of the Andes.

Aztec & Inca articles from Britannica Online