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Complex of aboriginal cultures that evolved in the Andean region (seeAndes Mountains) of western South America before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores in the 16th century. Unlike the peoples of the Mesoamerican civilization to the north, none of the aboriginal Andean peoples developed a system of writing, though the Inca devised a sophisticated system of recording numbers. In its level of cultural development and technical expertise in the arts and crafts, however, this civilization constitutes a New World counterpart to those of ancient Egypt, China, and Mesopotamia. See alsoChibcha; Chimú; Moche; Tiahuanaco.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Andean civilization, visit Britannica.com.
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