The Aztec built a powerful empire that became a dominant and formidable force. The empire supported an enormous population, encompassed a vast territory and yielded an abundance of precious metals and other natural resources. Several factors contributed to the overall success of the empire, including an ideal geographical location and a social hierarchy that imposed law and order. To maintain such a vast domain the Aztec had to employ tactics that included domination and subjugation of enemy forces and an enormous slave population, as well as the organization of resources necessary to support an empire. The collapse of the Aztec Empire came relatively swiftly at the hands of a small, but menacing, force of Spanish conquistadors, who had set their sights on invading the territory, displace the indigenous leaders, and seize their immense reserve of gold. The downfall of the Aztec centered on ineffective leadership, internal conflicts, susceptibility to germ warfare and a history of brutality against their enemies. The Spanish were able to use the Aztec’s shortcomings to their advantage and employ their own superior armaments to vanquish their opponents and claim new lands in the name of the Spanish monarchy.
The successful rise of the mighty Aztec Empire largely depended to their geographic location. Located in the Valley of Mexico, the terrain allowed them to dominate neighboring tribes via access points that led in and out of the valley in every direction. High mountains surrounded the valley and provided a natural defense structure, as well as a fresh water source from snowmelt routed via masonry aqueducts. The Aztec built their capital city of Tenochtitlán on an island located on Lake Texcoco. The layout...
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...lpox, on the indigenous population was the watershed in the collapse of the empire. The highly contagious disease resulted in a massive death toll that demoralized the population and weakened their resistance to Spanish subjugation.
The Spanish conquest in the Valley of Mexico soon spread to the far reaches of the realm. The collapse of the Aztec Empire resulted due to a superior military force invading a less technically advanced civilization. The indigenous people fought the conquistadors under terms and preconceptions of warfare with which they had become accustomed and it proved detrimental to the empire. The indecisive behavior of the Aztec king, Moctezuma, essentially allowed the Spaniards to vanquish the empire from inside the city walls and set in motion the sequence of events that resulted in the Valley of Mexico becoming part of Spain’s New World Empire.
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