The Aztec Indians, who are known for their
domination of southern and central Mexico, ruled between the
14th and 16th centuries. Their name is derived from
Azatlan, the homeland of the north. The Aztecs also call
themselves Mexica and there language came from the Nahuatlan
branch of the Uto-Aztecan family.
The Aztecs were formed after the Toltec civilization
occurred when hundreds of civilians came towards Lake
texcoco. Late families were unfortunate and were forced to
go to the swamp lands. In the swamp lands there was only
one piece of land to farm on and it was totally surrounded
by more marshes . The Aztec families some how converted
these disadvantages to a might empire known as they Aztec
Empire. People say the empire was partially formed by a
deeply believed legend. As the the legend went it said that
Aztec people would create a empire on in a swampy place
where they would see an eagle eating a snake while perched
on a cactus which is growing out of a rock in the
swamplands. This is what priests claimed they saw while
entering the new land.
By the year 1325 Their capital city was finished.
They called it Tenochtitlan. In the the capital city
aqueducts (piping) were constructed, bridges were built, and
chinapas were made. Chinapas were little islands formed by
pilled up mud. On these chinapas Aztecs grew corn, beans,
chili peppers, squash, tomatoes, and tobacco. Tenochtitlan
(the capital city) was covered in giant religious statues in
order to pay their respects to the gods. In the Aztec
religion numerous gods controlled an Aztec's daily life.
Some of these gods include: Uitzilpochtli (the sun god),
Coyolxauhqui (the moon goddess), Tlaloc (the rain god), and
Quetzalcoatl (the inventor of the calendar and writing).
Another part of the Aztec religion was human sacrifices.
For their sacrifices the priest would lay the man or woman
over a convex (rounded) stone, then he would take a sharp
knife and cut the victims heart out. They did this because
they believed that good gods could prevent bad gods from
doing evil things and they also believed that good gods got
their strength from human blood and hearts so they had
sacrifices in order to keep their gods strong. For major
rituals warriors were sacrificed, for the warrior this was
one of the greatest honors and for minor rituals prisoners
were used. In an Aztec marriage the grooms shirt is tied
to the brides dress in order to express there bonding and
after the wedding incents were burned for 4 days before
proceeding with the marriage.
In 1519 Hernando Cortes, a Spanish explorer, led
over 500 men into Aztec territory to search for gold.
Aztecs thought he was a representative for a certain white
skinned god so they respected him. It all changed when the
Aztecs saw that Hernando was melting down their golden
statues and shipping them back to Spain. The Aztecs decided
to attack Hernando and his men. The Aztecs were successful
and drove the Spanish away. In 1520 the Spanish attacked
the Aztec's capital city and destroyed their civilization.
That was the end of the Aztec's mighty empire had built so
1) "Aztec Indians". Young Students Learning Library.
2) Encarta '96. CD-ROM. U.S.
Microsoft, 1996 .