The aztecs summary



The aztecs summary


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The aztecs summary


The Aztecs

The Aztec nation was one of the largest and most advanced civilizations ever to exist on earth.  Aztec life was extremely advanced and probably more so than European nations.  The Aztec nation is unique in its history, economy, environment, and way of life making it a widely studied culture. 

Around three or four thousand years ago, small bands of hunting-gathering peoples made their way across the land bridge that was known as the Bering Strait.  These groups eventually migrated into what is now the United State, Central America and even South America.  The Aztecs arrived in the Central Valley around the year 1248.(Defrates)  The first Aztecs battled other tribes and through its first several hundred years of existence fought often.  By the fourteenth century the Aztecs had founded two settlements on islands in lakes: Tlaltetalco and Tenochtitlán. The traditional founding date of Tenochtitlán is believed to be 1325 and we know much about this settlement from Aztec myth and legend. (Raymond)  These settlements provided protection from outsiders and gave the early Aztecs a chance to build a powerful empire.  As the centuries passed the Aztecs were able to construct a civilization that was both complex and prosperous.

The center of the Aztec Empire was located near the Lerma River, which is near the southern part of the Mexican plateau. The plateau is the largest of Mexico’s land regions and it is the most varied region consisting of several distinct areas. The Volcanic Axis is located across the southern part of the plateau. This area receives a lot of rain and the soil is fertile. This area is the main area where corn and beans were grown for the Aztec Empire. The Bajio lies north of the volcanic axis and has an average elevation of 7,000 feet. This region houses the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán. Here there is very little rain and thus the region is very dry. The Mesa del Norte area makes up for more then half of the plateau and has an average elevation of 9,000 feet. Since it is so high crops are always in danger of freezing. The Sierra Madre Occidental is a long mountain range that forms the western ridge of the plateau. It remained a barrier for the Aztecs and their enemies.  The Sierra Madre Oriental is the plateau’s eastern rim.  The average January temperatures of the plateau is from 10 to 15 degrees Centigrade while in July the average temperature is around 20 to 25 degrees centigrade.

The most important part of life for any Aztec citizen, man or woman, was religion.  The religion of the Aztecs was a complex one, generally characterized as polytheistic, based on the worship of a multitude of personal gods.  It is interesting that the Aztecs attempted to incorporate the gods of conquered people into their religion; this was accomplished by considering the conquered peoples' gods simply as manifestations of the gods they already worshipped  (Raymond).  

Aztec mythology states that the world has been created several times, and eventually each creation is followed by a cataclysm that has destroyed mankind. This was necessary, they believed, because rarely is anything perfected on the first opportunity. Thus, they could not have a perfect creation after the first try. There are two Aztec myths that clearly illustrate two main aspects of Aztec culture. The first myth centers on Quetzlcoatl. The myth says that if man was to live, he must reciprocate by offering his own blood in sacrifice. This is because man came about from Quetzcoatl making a sacrifice. Sacrifice was essential in Aztec religion, for if no man could exist except through the creative force of the gods, the gods in turn need man to sustain them with human sacrifice. The second myth helps explain the warlike tendencies of the Aztecs. Through a complex chain of events the Aztecs believe that they have to keep their sun god happy by sacrificing people to him.  Thus, they would conquer other peoples so they had plenty of people to sacrifice.  The Aztecs conducted other ceremonies as well to celebrate and worship their gods.  Their complex religion is still studied today and is looked upon as one of the most sophisticated during this time.

To the Aztecs family was also a very important part of everyday life.  The man was a house builder and a farmer or craftsman while the woman prepared food, cared for the children, made clothes, and looked after the livestock. Aztecs thought that marriage without children was incomplete and thus women who were unmarried were looked down upon and scorned. The aims of an average Aztec was to have a respected position in the community, a happy family life, and a marriage with children. The birth of a child was also looked upon as an important event.  Speeches and prayers would be made to the Gods thanking them for the child.  Boys and girls were each instructed as to their mission in life and would aim for that goal throughout their lives.  Young boys would be instructed that to keep the Gods happy he must continue to feed them the blood of their enemies.  While the girls were told that their mission was to fulfill the needs of their husbands, have children, and be good housewives.  Education was considered extremely important.  From a very early age Aztec children were educated by elders about Aztec gods, myth, and other events that were regarded as important to the Aztecs.  Children were also taught words that would eventually give them a better understanding of their language.  Girls were trained for marriage and at the age of fourteen she would learn basic chores like weaving and cooking.  Discipline was often conducted in a swift and harsh manner.  Unwarranted behavior was not tolerated and children were beaten, stuck with spines, and or tied to a wet, cold area of land. 

Marriage in the Aztec culture was a serious ceremony.  Two families would often arrange the marriages of their children after the male had chosen a female that he felt was suitable.  The marriage ceremony was a lengthy process that contained days of celebrations.  The male would receive many gifts and he would move into his own house.  After several days the Aztecs would be sufficiently drunk and they would continue their normal lives.  Polygamy was very common among the Aztecs. This was very important in the survival of the nation because so many males were killed in wars and in sacrifices. Also alliances were made in this way for diplomatic reasons. If you committed adultery the punishment was death by stoning or strangulation. However, in a strange twist, the person who committed the crime had his choice of either type of punishment.

The political structure of the Aztecs is very interesting. A person called the Great Speaker was the supreme ruler. The son of the Great Speaker not always was the heir. It was a Council of Wise Men that decided in a democratic way who would be the next ruler of Tenochtitlán.  This ruler was in charge of the entire Aztec nation and he was given full control of everything.

The Aztecs' main food was corn. The corn was generally ground into flour and then made into dough, which they made into tortillas, drinks, and tamales, among other foods. Other foods in the Aztecs' diet were the seeds from the sage plant which were used as cereal; spicy peppers, eggs, turkey, rabbit, dog, lizards, locusts, snails, and fish eggs.  The Aztecs usually drank water and on special occasions they drank beer and nobles drank chocolate sweetened with honey. Foods today in Mexico have some basic components of the Aztec fare such as corn, which is still at the heart of the meal. That is, today corn products are still widely eaten. This can be seen in the tortilla, a round flat sheet of corn that you find in almost every meal in a present day Mexican table; or the tamale, a lump of corn masa containing meat, wrapped in corn husks, and steamed. Both are Aztec foods. Hence, the blend of the Aztec and Spanish cultures can be seen very clearly in food. 

Cultivating the soil was the main way of life. In the Aztec society farmers were generally field workers who prepared the earth, breaking up clumps, hoeing with digging sticks, leveling, planting, weeding, and irrigating. They understood the rotations and had to read almanacs so they could determine when it was time for planting. They made the construction of canals to bring water from mountain springs to the towns and fields of the piedmont and foothills.

The amount of decoration on a garment indicated wealth and social rank of the wearer. Rich people had clothes made of cotton while poorer people had clothes made from maguey fibers. Aztec men wore a cloth around their hips and a cloak that was knotted around one shoulder. The women wore a sleeveless blouse and a wraparound skirt. The amount of decoration around the garment indicated the wealth and social rank of the wearer.

 Aztec homes were simple and designed for usefulness rather than for looks. In the upper mountain regions the houses were adobe while in the lowlands they had thatched roofs and walls made of branches and leaves. Usually in the same yard around the house a family had other buildings suck as a place to put their tools and a place for their animals.

The art of speaking was combined with teaching, as the learning of technical skills. Historical accounts, the reciting of stories and poetry, the conduct of lawsuits, and matters of trade were conducted orally. To be educated was to be a master of oral expression, for people were expected to present artful speeches on all sorts of occasions, both public and private. With all the etiquette required by the highest formalized pattern of Aztec life. Aztec hieroglyphic writing served to communicate names, places, dates, and tallies in association by a system of dots. The language spoken by the Aztecs was called Nahuatl.

The Aztec nation was revered for its warriors.  The purpose of their warfare was to capture prisoners for sacrifice, gain new lands and to simply punish other tribes.  Each warrior would gain a certain status after he captured so many people.  The Aztecs were able to continue on as a nation because of their fierce ability to fight.  And, although there wasn’t an organized army, the entire nation was taught from a very young age that it was their purpose in life to serve the gods. Failure in battle was a disgrace for those who could not accomplish their task and usually led to their sacrifice.

It is believed that although the Aztecs had a powerful army their belief that the Spanish were gods, thus overshadowing their desire to fight and they gave in to Cortez and his army.  This led to the demise of a civilization that was one of the most popular in the world.   

We still know very little about the Aztecs. Research is always uncovering new ideas and data giving us new insights into the Aztec culture and way of life. The complexity of their the Aztec civilization is still marveled today as it is studied.  We see that their fierce desire to serve the gods prompted them to fight and conquer other groups of people, which enabled the nation to continue it’s dominance.  Thus, we can see that the Aztecs were one of the most magnificent cultures in the history of human beings. 


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The aztecs summary

The Aztecs were a nomadic people from northern Mexico

who migrated from our present day southwest.  Thier spiritual leaders had a prediction, that they were to settle where they would find an eagle devouring a serpent.  It came to pass an eagle was found devouring a serpent on a cactus on a small island

on a lake where present day Mexico City lies.  They settled the small island and enlarged the island by filling canoas(canoe like boats) with soil and planted them with vegetation mostly crops to feed them. The canoas took root to the lake bottom. The Aztec nation grew.  To fulfill thier gods, they became a warring people.  Invading peaceful surrounding tribes around the lake.  They took prisoners for slaves and many for human sacrifice.  That's why when Hernan Cortes came along in 1519.  Many tribes offered to help fight the Aztecs, whom they feared and hated. - Deltoro


Relatively speaking, the conquest of the once mighty Aztec Empire in Mexico by the Spanish did not take very long. It began in early 1519 and ended in late 1521. It was not easy, however, mostly because the Spanish did not present a unified front to the Aztecs. The Spanish fought each other almost as much as they did with the Aztecs. This infighting jeopardized the expedition and almost led to its ruin.


Spanish involvement in Mexico began in February of 1519 when the Spanish governor of Cuba, Diego Velasquez, authorized Hernan Cortez to led a reconnaissance force into Mexico to investigate rumors of a wealthy civilization in central Mexico. Although Velasquez changed his mind about Cortez and later ordered him to remain in Cuba, Cortez ignored these orders and departed with a small army of 400 soldiers and 100 sailors. He landed at Vera Cruz, gained control of the city, and sent a letter to the King of Spain, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, in which Cortez solicited the support of the king.


At this point, Cortez burned his ships to prevent the possibility of a mutiny. Without ships, the soldiers had to conquer Mexico if they ever wanted to return home. Soon afterwards, Cortez and his army discovered the Tlaxcalan people. After two weeks of fighting, the Tlaxcalans surrendered and joined Cortez in his campaign against the Aztecs. After defeating the Aztecs at Choula, the Spanish and their Tlaxcalan allies came to Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital.


They were initially greeted by the Aztec Emperor, Moctezuma II, who thought that Cortez was the Aztec god Quetzacoatl. Quetzacoatl was prophesied to arrive the same year Cortez did, and Moctezuma II thought Cortez's pale skin, armor, and advanced technology were signs of his deity. Hoping to appease Cortez, Moctezuma gave the Spaniards lavish gifts of gold and jewels. Nevertheless, Cortez and his men captured the Aztec Emperor and held him for ransom. They had believed that this would prevent any attempt at revolt among the Aztecs. Those beliefs proved unfounded, however, because the Aztecs came to view Moctezuma as a traitor. When the Spanish brought him out to talk to the people, they threw stones at him. He died of those injuries a few days later.


Before the death of Moctezuma, however, Cortez had to deal with a Spanish army sent by Velasquez to arrest Cortez for his disobedience. He left 200 men in Tenochtitlan and went to meet the other Spanish army. Cortez and his men entered the other army's camp at night and captured their leader. Most of the rest of the men were more than willing to join Cortez because of the immense wealth he promised them. When Cortez returned to the Aztec capital, however, he found the city in revolt. When an attempt to get Moctezuma to appease the people failed, Cortez was forced to flee from the city.


The Spanish left Tenochtitlan on the night of June 30, 1520. By the time they arrived at Tlaxcala, they had lost half of their men. Soon, however, the Spanish were able to regroup and they conquered the Aztec cities one by one until they finally regained control of Tenochtitlan on August 13, 1521. 40,000 Aztecs died during the siege of Tenochtitlan alone and many more died of disease and famine all over the country afterwards. The fall of Tenochtitlan marks the collapse of the Aztec Empire and the beginning of Spanish control in Mexico.


The Aztecs were a group of people who legends say come from the northern part of Mexico in a place called "Aztlan" their homeland. In 1168 they started to migrate south on the instructions of their god Huitzilopochtli (war god), they were to look for an eagle perching on a snake on a cactus, there is where they will settle and build their city but this didn't happen til 1325.


1253- Mexica arrive in the valley of Mexico only to find all desirable land inhabited. The Mexica were forced to be warrior slaves to other tribes.


So between 1168 when they started to migrate to 1325 when they found the signal of their god Huitzilopochtli, they were nothing but raggery people that were rejected from any where they settle they only survived from stolen food they were given land were it was inpossible for them to survive it was surrounded by snakes and there was no food available, but the Aztecs manage to survive out of them.


1322- Mexica brake away from dominance of Culhuacan, flee to lake area wetlands.

There is were they saw the signal they were looking for from their god Huitzilopochtilin in Lake Texcoco.


1325-They founded the city called Tenochtitlan city of Tenoch.

They build cities as large as any in Europe at that time. Tenochtitlan the city founded by the Aztecs is now Mexico city. The Aztecs also referred themselves as Colhua-Mexica,Mexica, and Tenocha.


1337-Mexica faction group splits and establishes Tlatelolco next to Tenochtitlan.

Aztec built towering temples, create huge sculptures, and held impressive ceremonies. The center of Aztec civilization was the valley of Mexico, a huge, oval basin about 7,500 feet (2,300 meters) above sea level. The Aztec empire included many citiesand towns, especially in the valley of Mexico. The largest city was the capital Tenochtitlan, wich occupied an island in Lake Texcoco. Both tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco lay within what is now Mexico City. The present day city covers much of the bed of Lake Texcoco,wich was drained in the 1600's.



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The aztecs summary

The Fall of the Aztec Empire

The Spanish arrived on November 8, 1519 at Tenochtitlán (Barghusen 57). The Aztecs stayed peaceful to their new visitors because they were accustomed to receiving ambassadors, which Cortés claimed to be (Barghusen 37). As soon as the Spanish arrived, the Aztec’s Empire started to fall because of them. They brought unheard of diseases, which killed many natives and they went to war with the Aztecs. The Aztecs were a powerful empire but fell because of the spreading of disease, the Aztec’s disadvantages, and the Spanish’s advantages.

Diseases like smallpox, plague, measles, and mumps spread and killed many native people (Barghusen 91).  Because diseases like smallpox were unknown in Mexico, there was no immunity to the disease; therefore many of the people who were affected died (Barghusen 71).  Even Emperor Cuitlahuac came down with smallpox.  His case occurred around the time war season began (Barghusen 71). Because of the lack of knowledge about foreign illnesses, no one was safe from the smallpox killer.

One of the major diseases that spread and killed off the Aztecs was smallpox. It was the cause of many of  the deaths and sickness that came to the Aztecs (Barghusen 71).  Smallpox is an often fatal, highly contagious viral disease (“Smallpox” 1).  It can be spread rapidly by speaking, coughing, or breathing (“Smallpox” 2). Smallpox can infect anyone who breathes in the airborne droplets that are distributed into the air that are why it killed so many people (“Smallpox” 2). It also kills up to about 20 to 40 percent of those infected by the virus (“Smallpox” 3). Smallpox was the main disease that wiped out the Aztecs.

Diseases killed many Aztecs and were one of the major causes of the fall of the Aztecs. One of Cortés’s men had smallpox and infected the Aztecs, killing an estimated amount of 3 million native (“Smallpox” 2). This disease wiped out about one third of the population (“Smallpox” 2). The city of Tenochtitlan was infected with diseases and the diseases killed about half the city (“Aztec Empire” 2). Also when Cortés set foot on Mexican soil, 25 million people lived there and by the 1600s, the population shrunk to 1 million (“Blood & Glory” 3). Countless people died from diseases, which shrunk their population massively.

The Aztec men held back in war because of their beliefs. The Aztecs would stop fighting and give up when their leader was killed or capture (Barghusen 61). Because of religious beliefs, the Aztecs intended on taking live captives for sacrifice instead of killing them right there and there (Barghusen 61). Those who were captures were sacrificed on huge alters in front of large crowds (“Aztec Empire” 1). The Aztec men also fought to achieve their own personal goals as individuals by capturing more men (Barghusen 61). The beliefs of the Aztecs were a major setback in fight against the Spanish to defend their empire.

During war, the Aztecs took a major leadership crisis and their leaders had made some bad choices. Montezuma, the Aztec emperor, believed Cortés was the god Quetsalcoatl returning to claim Aztec lands and that’s why he didn’t attack (Barghusen 40). About a week after the Spanish arrived, they kidnapped Montezuma, putting the Aztecs into a major crisis (Barghusen 48). Montezuma died in the winter of 1519, from being stoned by his own people (Vaillant 86). After losing their leader the Aztecs had to choose a new emperor, which took long procedures to do (Barghusen 67).  Then Cuitláhuac was the new emperor after Montezuma but only reigned a few months because he died of smallpox shortly after (Barghusen 71). This put The Aztecs into another leadership problem. As you can see, leaders play a major role in an empire and their decisions and deaths affect the people. 

The Aztecs were not ready to go to war. Their military was not prepared for battle at all (Barghusen 38). Because the Aztec’s army was weak and unprepared, Montezuma decided not to attack the Spanish (Barghusen 38). Montezuma had many doubts that they could resist the Spanish so he gave them whatever they wanted so hopefully they would stay away (Barghusen 43). “Montezuma did have corps of elite soldiers- perhaps a few thousand- but these were too few for an assault against the Spaniards and their allies in distant Tlaxallan.” quoted by Hassig (Barghusen 38). Even though the Aztecs were had a powerful army, they were, however, not ready and couldn’t match up to the Spanish’s power.

The Spanish had a major advantage of having a great leader. The Spanish were under the control of Hernán Cortés (“Aztecs” 13). Cortés was a very brilliant and determined leader (Barghusen 63). “The word which best expresses Cortés actions is ‘audacity’; it contains a hint to perform the unexpected which differentiates it from mere valour”, as stated by Hugh Thomas (Barghusen 69). Cortés could understand situations the Spanish were in and manipulate those situations into his own advantage (Barghusen 63). Using his great leadership skills, Cortés led the Spanish to victory over the Aztec empire.

During war, the Spanish’s weapons were more advanced, giving them a huge advantage (Barghusen 55). The Spanish’s steel swords remained sharper longer then the Aztec’s stoned swords and didn’t shatter like them (Barghusen 55). The crossbows shot father and had more force than that of the Aztecs (Barghusen 35). Other weapons like harquebuses, hand-held firearms, had greater range (Barghusen 55). The Spanish could disrupt the Aztec’s Formation by firing their bows into them. Another type of weapon would be horses. Horses gave the Spanish their biggest advantage because they could strike as many enemies without being struck themselves (Barghusen 57). Also the conquistadors and horses were armored which made tem even harder to take down.  The Spanish‘s advanced weapons helped the Spanish defeat the Aztecs.

Fighting strategies assisted the Spanish in winning battles. The Spanish had disciplined methods of fighting (Barghusen 67). An example would be that they fought in tightly organized formations, which protected their fellow soldiers (Barghusen 67). The Aztecs had a reputation for lies and treachery, which made them, have many enemies that would join the Spanish (Barghusen 64). Because of this, Cortés could convince many little neighboring city-states to join him in his quest to defeat the Aztecs (Berdan 6). The Spanish also worked on keeping themselves united and staying loyal to each other and their leader (Barghusen 65). The Spanish’s different strategies helped in their goal of defeating the Aztecs.

The Aztecs surrendered to the Spanish on August 13, 1521 after 10 weeks of battle (“Aztecs” 13). The Aztecs could not resist the powerful Spanish because they were weak from battle and diseases. Their once dominant empire came to an abrupt end. Spreading of diseases, Aztec’s disadvantages, and the Spanish’s advantages contributed to the fall of the Aztec Empire.


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The aztecs summary


MI: As the Aztecs continues to expand, trade and agriculture has developed and brought new ideas.

  • In central Mexico nomadic people from north took advantage of political vacuum to move toward richer lands.
  • Shores of large chain lakes
  • Supported settlements, towns, and dense population
  • Became cultural heartland/population center
  • Post-Toltec Mesoamerica
  • Various people and cities wanted the control the lakes
  • Aztecs took over and called themselves the Mexica
  • Around lakes- adopted ingenious system of irrigated agriculture by building chinampas for agriculture
  • Allow water to reach all plants
  • Willow trees were planted at intervals to give shade and help fix roots
  • Agriculture was high
  • Rise of level of lakes made it impossible to continue
  • Production of Aztec peasantry provided basic foods
  • Aztec community
  • Local clan apportioned the lands
  • Some were set aside for support of temples and state
  • Individuals nobles have private estates  that were worked by servants and slaves from conquered people
  • Has periodic markets~ according to calendar, every 5-13 days goods were exchanged
  • Cacao beans and gold dust is used as currency in the trade, but most was done as barter
  • Markets of Tlateloco
  • Control by pochteca
  • Highly regulated with the control of inspectors and special judges
  • States control the use and distribution of commodities/redistributed amounts of the tributes received from the foreign people
  • Tribute levels were assign according to the acceptance of Aztec rule or fought against it and those surrender paid less
  • 120,000 mantles of cotton cloth were collected as tribute each year and sent toward Tenchtitlan-> state reward nobility richly and commoners poorly




MI: After the end of Toltec, Aztecs has taken over and developed its own civilization with clans, social structures, and military.

  • Toltec- established a capital at Tula in 968.
  • Toltec culture- adopted features from sedentary people and added a strong militaristic ethic.
  • Sacrifice and war portrayed in Toltec art.
  • View as givers of civilizations
  • Archeological record indicates accomplishments were confused with Teotihuacan
  • Topiltzin – Toltec leader / priest dedicated to god Quetzalcoatl 
  • Religious reformer that involve in struggle for priestly and political power
  • Topiltzin and his follower promise to take his throne on the same date according to the cyclical calendar system
  • Sail with his followers to Yucatan
  • Influence spread northward and Aztecs- response to the Europeans when they arrived.
  • Aztecs- group of ~ 10,000 people migrated to the shores of Lake Texcoco around 1325.
  • (Aztecs) Mexcia settled, Tenochtitlan was found about 1325.
  • Ruled by the authority of supreme ruler
  • Aztecs
  • Serve as mercenaries/ allies
  • Brought prosperity to ruler and warrior nobles
  • Emerge as independent power in 1428
  • People were forced to pay tribute, surrender lands, and military service for growing the empire.
  • Society changed with expansions and conquest
  • Aztecs were divided into seven calpulli
  • Kinship and residential groupings including neighbors, allies, dependants
  • Local life was based on calpulli, distributing land to heads of households, organize labor gangs, military units, and maintain temple/school.
  • Governed by councils of family heads
  • Families and calpulli status weren’t equal
  • Every person , noble, and commoner has to belong in a calpulli
  • Commoners can be promote to noble status and most are born in the class
  • Nobles control priesthood and military leadership
  • Military organized into various ranks based on experience and success in taking captives
  • As expanded the social classes were separated by restriction on clothing, hairstyles, uniforms, and other symbols of ranks
  • Nobility broke free from old calpulli/control private lands~ class of laborers was created to work on the lands
  • They don’t control lands/worked at the will of others
  • Status was low, but not consider to be slaves
  • Scribes, artisans, healers were part of intermediate group that is important in the large cities.
  • Merchants form something like capulli with their own patron gods, privileges, internal divisions~ consider to be spies or agents for Aztec military
  • Women in Aztec
  • Peasant women helped in fields and household such as child-rearing and cooking, weaving skill
  • Training of younger women was relied on older women
  • Marriages were arranged b/w lineages and virginity at marriage
  • Able to have property and pass it to their heirs
  • Not able to do what a men can do in the political and social society
  • Spend 6 hours a day grinding corn by hand on stone boards~ metates
  • Without the technology women weren’t able to gain more free time



MI: City-states begins to form in the Aztecs and military was control by political.

  • Population and political power shifted from central Mexico toward the valley of Mexico~ shores of the large chain lakes
  • Aztec rise in power and formation of imperial states.
  • After the fall of Toltec Empire
  • Chichimec and groups of sedentary farmers migrants from northwest
  • Lake was dominated by tribes/people that organized into city-states
  • Political maneuvers, state marriages, competing powers, and shifting alliances all existed
  • Political units authority claim basis of military powers/ connection of Toltec culture
  • Nahuatl was spoken as the language~ Aztecs also spoke this language, as a result they rise to power and be more accepted.
  • Mocetezuma II, Aztec state was dominated by a king that represents civil power and belief of gods on earth
  • Human sacrifice and conquest blend in with political power of ruler/nobility
  • City-state was ruled by a speaker chosen from nobility
  • Election of the ruler wasn’t fair at all
  • Most power was in the hands of Aztec ruler and his chief advisor
  • Local rulers was place to act as tribute collectors for Aztec overlords
  • Tribute payment serve economic and political function that concentrated on the power and wealth in Aztec capital


MI: Toltec has faced invaders, Aztecs and later led to a fall of the empire.

  • Toltec traded for turquoise in American Southwest
  • Toltec Empire fell/ trade in local turquoise ended
  • Anasazi (town) @ Chaco Canyon in New Mexico was abandoned.
  • Toltec Empire lasted until 1150~ destroyed by nomadic invaders from north.
  • Aztecs were distrusted/disliked by dominant powers in the area
  • Fighting skills could become useful- attractive as allies to others
  • Driven out by more powerful neighbors
  • Tenochtitlan in 1434, took alliance with other city-states that controls the central plateau.



MI: Beliefs of God play a major role in Aztecs society.

  • Aztecs consider being tough warriors/fanatical followers of gods by offering human sacrifices.
  • Wanderings would end if they see an eagle perched on cactus with serpent in its beak~ was seen on marshy island in Lake Texcoco
  • Mexica described as people chosen to serve gods
  • Human sacrifice
  • Military classes
  • Plays a central role as suppliers as the sacrificial victims
  • Couple territories left unconquered, so “flower wars” could be staged that both sides can obtain captives for sacrifice.
  • Belief of gods such as rain, fire, water, corn, sky, and sun
  • Has at least 128 major deities
  • Each deity has male and female form.
  • Gods were supported with ceremonies involving feasting, dancing, and sacrifice.
  • Deities are split into 3 major themes
  • Gods of fertility and agricultural cycle
  • Tlaloc god of rain, and the gods/goddesses of water, maize and fertility
  • Centered on creator of deities
  • Brought universe into being
  • Play role in Aztec cosmography
  • Warfare/sacrifice
  • Aztec state became the cult of the state
  • Huitzilopochtli became a central figure
  • Temple of Tenochtitlan dedicated to Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc
  • Sacrifice increase, cannibalism and symbolism developed as part of the cult
  • Nezahualcoyotl , king of Texcoco, wrote hymns, and conception of monotheism wasn’t popular




MI: The Aztecs art consider to be pretty bloody and violent.

  • Hopewell culture
  • Mississippian culture based on maize/bean agriculture
  • Towns located along rivers
  • Stepped temples
  • Large burial mounds (sites)
  • Accompanied by ritual executions/sacrifices of servants/wives
  • Well-produced pottery
  • Cahokia
  • Covers 5 square miles
  • Have more than 30,000 people
  • Largest earthen pyramid called “Monks’ Mound”
  • Covers 15 acres
  • Largest pyramid in Mexico
  • Warrior cults and militaristic images of jaguars/eagles devouring human hearts were in the Toltec art
  • Nezahualcoyotl poetry- written down in 16th century questioning on life after death
  • Religious art/poetry- filled with images of flowers, birds, songs, blood, human hearts, “precious water” need to sustain gods
  • Religion depend on complex mythology~ birth and history of gods/relationships with peoples/ religious symbolism of aspect of life
  • Word destroy 4 times before it could be destroy again


MI: The Aztecs invented the Chinampas and Calendar system.

  • Mesoamerican calendar system- many ceremonies were held by the calendar
  • Chinampas- increase agriculture




After the fall of the Toltec empire, the Aztecs begin to build their own empire that organized by war and motivated by religion/beliefs. The Aztecs consider themselves to be the Mexica. Many of the people have spoken Nahuatl, the language that the Toltecs have spoken. The Aztecs are able to speak the same language as them and as a result their power rise and was accepted by the people there. Later on they settle in Tenochtitlan. The Aztecs believes in gods. The gods were supported with ceremonies involving feasting, dancing, and sacrifice. Social structures in the Aztecs society were similar to the European by having commoners, nobles, lords, and laborers. As the Aztecs continues to expand, trade and agriculture has developed and brought new ideas, such as the Chinampas was created to water all the plants. Women were also similar to the European, they are able to own lands and not able to be part of political society like the men is. Arts in the Aztecs were considered to be well rounded; they have peaceful images and also bloody images. Revolts were later on developed due to the unfairness in the social structure of the commoners and contribute to the Aztec Empire’s collapse.


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