The Aztec Empire (Power & Collapse (located in present-day Mexico,…
The Aztec Empire
Aztec warriors used rulers such as Motecuhzoma II to impose Aztec ideals and religious beliefs
founding of Tenochtitlán was based on the belief that peoples from the mythical land of Aztlán in the northwest had first settled in the Valley of Mexico
2 main gods worshiped were Huitzilopochtli & Tlaloc and each had a temple on top of the Templo Mayor pyramid in Tenochtitlán
polytheistic religion, worshiped many gods; Quetzalcoatl, Tezcatlipoca, Xipe Totec, Xiuhtecuhtli, Xochipilli, Ometeotl, Mictlantecuhtli, & Coatlicue
ritual burial of precious goods, penances such as blood-letting, & animal sacrifices, humans were frequently sacrificed to metaphorically 'feed' the gods
Subsistence & Economy
chinampas - raised and flooded fields - allowed for farming and increased the agricultural capacity of the Aztecs; anti-flood dikes, artificial reservoirs for fresh water
cotton, beans, squashes, potatoes, tomatoes, avocadoes, corn, cocoa beans; hunters hunted small animals as well
Tenochtitlán: main trading center, traded among local communities as well as other civilizations, ie: Mayans
agriculture allowed for stationary lifestyle, conscription of all adult males into military
Tenochtitlán was central trading city, Aztec Empire was made up of seperate city-states
Leadership & Government
Tenochtitlán was political and religious capital, 200K inhabitants by early 16th century C.E.
appointment of officials from the Aztec heartland
Tenochtitlán was divided into several social classes: local rulers (teteuhctin), nobles (pipiltin), commoners (macehualtin), serfs (mayeque), slaves (tlacohtin)
social pyramid relatively fixed, some evidence of movement between them, especially in the lower classes
Power & Collapse
located in present-day Mexico, 1341 - 1521 C.E.
controlled 11,000,000 people, dealt with minor rebellions when new rulers took power in Tenochtitlán
lost territory when heavily defeated by the Tlaxcala and Huexotzingo in 1515 C.E.
rebel states seized the opportunity to gain independence with the arrival of the Spanish
conquistadors led by Hernán Cortés, initial relations with the leader of the Aztecs, Motecuhzoma II were friendly
Spanish soldiers were killed at Tenochtitlán while Cortés was away at Veracruz, Aztec warriors unhappy at Motecuhzoma's passivity overthrew him and set Cuitlahuac as the new tlatoani.
Cortés returned to the city to relieve the remaining Spanish, was forced to withdraw in June of 1520 C.E., in 1521 C.E. Cortés laid siege to Tenochtitlán, Aztec Empire collapsed on 13th of August 1521 C.E.