Considered one of the great civilizations of the Americas, the Aztec Empire flourished in a vast area of now center and southern Mexico from approximately A.D. 1325 to 1521. Known for their amazing feats of accomplishment in agriculture and trade, the last of the great Mesoamerican civilizations before the arrival of the Spanish in the sixteenth century was also famous for its art and architecture.
Mesoamerica refers to the diverse civilizations in modern-day Central America, consisting of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.
Aztec as People of Aztlan
According to Aztec History, the name Aztec was known to have derived from the term Aztecah, which means "People of Aztlan." Aztlán (variously translated as "White Land," "Land of White Herons," or "Place of Herons") is a place, probably in north-western Mexico, where the semi-nomadic tribe originated. The name "Aztec," however, became the historically accepted designation of their tribe.
Despite the historically accepted designation of the tribe, the people were called Mexica or Mexicas, according to Aztec History. They were indigenous individuals in the Valley of Mexico, known today as the rulers in the Aztec empire. Before becoming rulers in the Aztec empire, the Mexica were a small and obscure tribe searching for a new homeland.
Migrating from the desert north and arriving in Mesoamerica during 1300s, the Mexica were not welcomed by local inhabitants. People viewed them as inferior and undeveloped. Legend tells that their god Huitzilopochtli, came to a priest named Quauhcoatl, commanding him to look for a sign as to where they will build their new home. In 1325 C.E., this sign, an eagle and serpent fighting on a tenochtli cactus, was seen at Lake Texcoco, prompting the Mexica to establish their capital city, Tenochtitlan.
Founding of The Capital
In Aztec History, Their capital Tenochtitlan was founded on a small piece of land in the western part of Lake Texcoco. High mountains, a lake, and marshes surrounded the city. To create living and farming space, people said in Aztec History that they sank piles into the swamps and formed small land masses called chinampas, or floating gardens.
The city is highly developed, with causeways between islands for transport, aqueducts to carry fresh water, and sewers to dispose of waste. It developed into a metropolis led by a ruling leader and supported by noble classes, priests, warriors, and merchants.
Tenochtitlan expanded from a tiny community on an island in the western swamps of Lake Texcoco to a powerful economic, political, and religious center in around 200 years at the Spanish Conquest in 1521. By the early 1500s, it had many towering pyramids painted bright red and blue, temples, palaces gleaming white, and marketplaces brimming with a dizzying array of
foods and luxuries. It was one of the world's largest cities.
Tenochtitlan was laid out on a grid inspired by the still visible ruins of the ancient city of Teotihuacan a thousand years earlier. Tenochtitlan had a network of streets and canals teeming with canoes that transported people and goods within the city and across the lake to towns on the shore, and Three raised causeways connected it. Two aqueducts supplied fresh water.
Historians also mentioned in Aztec History that The Sacred Precinct, the Aztec Empire's religious and ceremonial center, was located in the center of Tenochtitlan. A serpent-themed masonry wall surrounded it, and the 380-by-330-yard reservation could accommodate more than 8,000 people. The Aztec gods' temples were located here.
Aztec history also mentioned that the luxurious palaces of the kings and nobles, including beautiful gardens, aviaries, and zoos, are adjacent to the Sacred Precinct. There were also administration buildings there. Commoners lived at a distance and were organized into calpulli, or neighborhoods. They even had their temples and markets. Commoners included laborers, farmers, and artisans such as potters, weavers, sculptors, feather workers, and soldiers.
The Triple Alliance
According to Aztec history, in 1428, the Aztecs formed a three-way alliance with the Texans and the Tacubans, forming the Aztec Triple Alliance. They grew to be the dominant force in center Mexico. Tenochtitlan later ruled a place of 400 to 500 tiny states through commerce and conquest. By 1519, 5,000,000 to 6,000,000 individuals were spread across 207,200 square km.
Tenochtitlán, the ancient Aztec capital city, covered more than 13 square km and has around 200,000 inhabitants at its highest, creating it as the most densely populated area ever attained by a Mesoamerican civilization. Through conquest and alliance, the once-unwelcome Mexica gradually forced many of their neighboring tribes to adopt the Aztec culture.
The Aztec state wielded unrestricted power over its people, which it frequently used unfairly and cruelly. It also advocates for a more aggressive military policy. According to Aztec history, citizens are also sharply divided into classes that inherit exclusive privileges or are perceived as socially distinct, much to the chagrin of the people.
City-states were ruled by kings and quasi-kings who interacted with one another. The city-states sometimes cooperate through trade and military alliances but often fight with one another to establish dominance. That's why their relationships are unpredictable.
The Fall in The Aztec Empire
Before the Aztec history ended, the Aztec empire was still growing, and its people was still evolving when its advancement was stop in 1519 by the arrival of Spanish travelers. Hernán Cortés, a Spanish conquistador, led some 500 European soldiers into center of Mexico. They creat a prisoner of Montezuma II, the ninth Aztec emperor who passed away in Spanish guardianship and was buried in an Aztec burial.
Several reasons were attributed to the untimely end in the Aztec Empire. Among these reasons was Montezuma's impression that Cortés was a rebounding God. Although Cortés was an excellent leader, he also advanced from the superior arms that his forces wielded, as well as the dogs and dogs that individuals trained for war.
The Aztecs also had no resistant to the deadly European diseases such as smallpox, mumps, and measles the Spanish explorers brought with them. It took a toll on the Mexicas. Finally, the Spaniards also took excellent benefit of the hatred of the tribes that the Aztecs had conquered. Thousands of Native American fighters connect to the Spanish invaders.
Enemies may not have defeated the Aztec kingdom without the creation of a coalition of the Spanish invaders and the Aztecs' indigenous enemies and rivals. The combined forces defeated the Mexica of Tenochtitlan over two years.