History of the Aztec Empire

History of the Aztec Empire

Length: 1263 words (3.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
History of the Aztec Empire

The center of the Aztec civilization was the Valley of Mexico, a
huge, oval basin about 7,500 feet above sea level. The Aztecs were formed
after the Toltec civilization occurred when hundreds of civilians came
towards Lake Texcoco. In the swamplands there was only one piece of land
to farm on and it was totally surrounded by more marshes. The Aztec
families somehow converted these disadvantages to a mighty empire known as
the Aztec Empire. People say the empire was partially formed by a deeply
believed legend. As the legend went, it said that Aztec people would
create an empire in a swampy place where they would see an eagle eating a
snake, while perched on a cactus, which was growing out of a rock in the
swamplands. This is what priests claimed they saw when entering the new

By the year 1325 their capital city was finished. They called it
Tenochtitlan. In the capital city, aqueducts were constructed, bridges
were built, and chinapas were made. Chinapas were little islands formed by
pilled up mud. On these chinapas Aztecs grew their food. The Aztec Empire
included many cities and towns, especially in the Valley of Mexico. The
early settlers built log rafts, then covered them with mud and planted
seeds to create roots and develop more solid land for building homes in
this marshy land. Canals were also cut out through the marsh so that a
typical Aztec home had its back to a canal with a canoe tied at the door.
In the early 1400s, Tenochtitlan joined with Texcoco and Tlacopan, two
other major cities in the Valley of Mexico. Tenochtitlan became the most
powerful member of the alliance. Montezuma I ruled from 1440 to 1469 and
conquered large areas to the east and to the south. Montezuma's successors
expanded the empire until it extended between what is now Guatemala and
the Mexican State of San Luis Potosi. Montezuma II became emperor in 1502
when the Aztec Empire was at the height of its power. In 1519, the Spanish
explorer Hernando Cortes landed on the East Coast of Mexico and marched
inland to Tenochtitlan. The Spaniards were joined by many of the Indians
who were conquered and forced to pay high taxes to the emperor. Montezuma
did not oppose Cortes because he thought that he was the God Quetzalcoatl.
An Aztec legend said that Quetzalcoatl was driven away by another rival
god and had sailed across the sea and would return some day. His return
was predicted to come in the year Ce Acatl on the Aztec Calendar.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"History of the Aztec Empire." 123HelpMe.com. 18 Aug 2018

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

History of the Aztec Empire Essay

- History of the Aztec Empire The center of the Aztec civilization was the Valley of Mexico, a huge, oval basin about 7,500 feet above sea level. The Aztecs were formed after the Toltec civilization occurred when hundreds of civilians came towards Lake Texcoco. In the swamplands there was only one piece of land to farm on and it was totally surrounded by more marshes. The Aztec families somehow converted these disadvantages to a mighty empire known as the Aztec Empire. People say the empire was partially formed by a deeply believed legend....   [tags: Pre-Columbian History Culture]

Free Essays
1263 words (3.6 pages)

The Aztec Empire Essay

- Who were the Aztecs. Why were they considered to be an empire even greater than the Romans. And how was Hernan Cortes able to defeat them. These are some of the questions that people ask about these indigenous people. These people are known as the Aztecs but originally called themselves Mexica. They came to Mexico in the early thirteenth century and from there they started to develop a social structure and government consisting of priests, kings, peasants, and soldiers. Besides having a very organized society the Aztecs had a very large and intimidating army consisting of full time soldiers and peasants....   [tags: Aztec History]

Research Papers
1168 words (3.3 pages)

Essay The Rise of the Aztec Empire

- The Aztec Empire of the 14th and 15th centuries was one of the most successful and powerful Mesoamerican kingdoms at that time. The community of people began in the middle of a lake and eventually became the capital of an empire. The Aztecs were comprised of multi ethnic and multi lingual individuals that lived in a large area that stretched from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf coast and housed over fifteen million people (Schmal). Their ability to be successful and have a powerful dominance in their quest was centered on their religious beliefs that were innate within everyone (Meyer 54)....   [tags: Civilizations, Astecs, History]

Research Papers
2421 words (6.9 pages)

Aztec Warrior Essay

- According to the legend, the Aztecs, who referred to themselves as the Mexica, spent years wandering through central Mexico in search of a homeland. In AD 1325, the Aztecs founded their new capital Tenochtitlan (Moctezuma, 9). Years later, the Aztecs started to build their renowned empire. The Aztec Empire was made up of the Triple Alliance: Tenochtitlan, Texcoco, and Tlacopan (Moctezuma, 55). Agriculture was the basis of the Aztec’s economy, but conquest and warfare lead to economic expansion and the accumulation of tributes from conquered towns (Moctezuma, 21)....   [tags: History, Aztec Military Training]

Research Papers
1935 words (5.5 pages)

Essay about Empires in the New World: Aztec and Inca

- 1) Explain and compare the conquest of the Inca and the Aztec empires. The Aztec were the most powerful political force in Mesoamerica . The Aztec were forceful, strategic and powerful. They had many Native Americans that made up the Aztecs. The main two groups of people that comprised the Aztecs were the Mexica and the Nahuatl-speakers. Politically, socially and economically, the Aztecs were strong and prominent. This is what helped them stay in power for so long, but also eventually led to their ultimate demise....   [tags: Native Americans, Empires, History]

Research Papers
1867 words (5.3 pages)

Essay on The Incan Empire: The Largest Empire in Pre-Columbian America

- The Incan empire was the largest empire to ever exist in pre-Columbian America. It lasted for about a century during the times of 1438 to 1572 and its advanced architectural monuments in Machu Picchu are a great fascination and mystery to many people. Today, there are many arguments among historians, debating whether the Incan empire truly was like a modern welfare state or in what ways it could be compared to the Aztec empire’s government. Indeed, there are certain laws and policies within Incan history that would prove the argument of those who say that it was in fact like an early welfare state and that its government really could not be compared to that of the Aztec’s to be held true....   [tags: culture, Spanish conquest]

Research Papers
1642 words (4.7 pages)

The Aztec Nation Essay

- The Aztec Nation A distant sound is heard. It sounds like a deep drum being hit with a heavy instrument. You hear it again and strain your eyes in the direction of the sound. All around you is dense jungle. Snakes slither between your legs. You hear the sound once again. In front of you is a dense stand of ferns. You part them and look down into a wide open valley. The valley gets so wide and it is so green that it takes your breath away. But that is not what you are looking at. You are staring at a huge city with glittering buildings shining in the spring sunlight....   [tags: essays research papers]

Research Papers
5935 words (17 pages)

Essay on The European Invasion of the Aztec Civilization

- The European Invasion of the Aztec Civilization Thunder on their Ships They are landing with rulers, squares, compasses Sextants White skin fair eyes, naked word Thunder on their ships. Leopold Sedar Senghor, “Ethiopiques” (Adas) “Thunder on their ships” can be used to describe Herman Cortes when he landed at what is now Veracruz, Mexico in 1519 A.D. The light skinned and bearded Spaniard led his men into territory occupied by the Aztec civilization. Little did Cortes know, but that happened to be the same year in the Aztec culture when a white and bearded deity was expected to arrive....   [tags: American America History]

Research Papers
1277 words (3.6 pages)

Aztec and Inca Religious Zeal Essay

- Aztec and Inca Religious Zeal      The Aztec and Inca peoples lived in militaristic and expansionist societies whose ideals were fueled by their religious convictions. Expansionism was necessary for both societies to support their religious beliefs. The religious zeal of these two civilizations became something that the leaders of the empires could not control. These empires were built through ideologically driven conquests, which became the cornerstones of their societies and something beyond the control of the rulers....   [tags: Pre-Colombian History]

Research Papers
1738 words (5 pages)

Aztec Art and Culture Essay

- Aztec Art and Culture The Aztec nation is one of the largest and most advanced Indian nations to ever exist on earth. Just about every part of the Aztec life was advance to such a state that at that time of the world the people were living better than many European nations. The Aztec nation is unique in its history, economy, environment, and way of life then any other nation at that time. The Aztec Indians, who are known for their domination of southern and central Mexico, ruled between the 14th and 16th centuries....   [tags: essays papers]

Free Essays
881 words (2.5 pages)

Related Searches

corresponded to the year 1519. Due to this prediction, Montezuma II
thought Quetzalcoatl had returned when Cortes and his troops invaded. He
did not resist and was taken prisoner by Cortes and his troops. In 1520,
the Aztecs rebelled and drove the Spaniards from Tenochtitlan, but
Montezuma II was killed in the battle. Cortes reorganized his troops and
resurged into the city. Montezuma's successor, Cuauhtemoc, surrendered in
August of 1520. The Spaniards, being strong Christians, felt it was their
duty to wipe out the temples and all other traces of the Aztec religion.
They destroyed Tenochtitlan and built Mexico City on the ruins. However,
archaeologists have excavated a few sites and have uncovered many remnants
of this society. Language: The Aztec spoke a language called Nahuatl
(pronounced NAH waht l). It belongs to a large group of Indian languages,
which also include the languages spoken by the Comanche, Pima, Shoshone
and other tribes of western North America. The Aztec used pictographs to
communicate through writing. Some of the pictures symbolized ideas and
others represented the sounds of the syllables.


The principal food
of the Aztec was a thin cornmeal pancake called a tlaxcalli. (In Spanish,
it is called a tortilla.) They used the tlaxcallis to scoop up foods while
they ate or they wrapped the foods in the tlaxcalli to form what is now
known as a taco. They hunted for most of the meat in their diet and the
chief game animals were deer, rabbits, ducks and geese. The only animals
they raised for meat were turkeys, rabbits, and dogs. Arts and Crafts: The
Aztec sculptures, which adorned their temples and other buildings, were
among the most elaborate in all of the Americas. Their purpose was to
please the gods and they attempted to do that in everything they did. Many
of the sculptures reflected their perception of their gods and how they
interacted in their lives. The most famous surviving Aztec sculpture is
the large circular Calendar Stone, which represents the Aztec universe.
Religion: Religion was extremely important in Aztec life. They worshipped
hundreds of gods and goddesses, each of whom ruled one or more human
activities or aspects of nature. The people had many agricultural gods
because their culture was based heavily on farming. The Aztecs made many
sacrifices to their gods. When victims reached the altar they were
stretched across a sacrificial stone. A priest with an obsidian knife cut
open the victim's chest and tore out his heart. The heart was placed in a
bowl called a chacmool. This heart was used as an offer to the gods. If
they were in dire need, a warrior would be sacrificed, but for any other
sacrifice a normal person would be deemed sufficient. It was a great honor
to be chosen for a sacrifice to the gods. The Aztec held many religious
ceremonies to ensure good crops by winning the favor of the gods and then
to thank them for the harvest. Every 52 years, the Aztec held a great
celebration called the Binding up of the Years. Prior to the celebration,
the people would let their hearth fires go out and then re-light them from
the new fire of the celebration and feast. A partial list of the Aztec
gods: CENTEOTL, The corn god. COATLICUE, She of the Serpent Skirt, EHECATL,
The god of wind. HUEHUETEOTL, The fire god. HUITZILOPOCHTLI, The war/sun
god and special guardian of Tenochtitlan. MICTLANTECUHTLE, The god of the
dead. OMETECUHLTI and his wife OMECIHUATL, They created all life in the
world. QUETZALCOATL, The god of civilization and learning. TEZCATLIPOCA,
The god of Night and Sorcery. TLALOC, The rain god. TONATIUH, The sun god.
TONANTZIN, The honored grandmother. XILONEN, "Young maize ear," Maize
represents a chief staple of the Aztecs. XIPE TOTEC, The god of springtime
and re-growth. Aztec dances: The Aztec Dance is known for its special way
of expressing reverence and prayer to the supernatural gods of the sun,
earth, sky, and water. Originally, the resources accessible to the native
Indians were limited, yet they were able to create lively music with the
howling of the sea conch, and with rhythms produced by drums and by dried
seeds which were usually tied to the feet of the dancers.


I feel that the Aztec civilization was very advanced. It had a very
complex structure in which there were lower class, middle class and upper
class peoples. They had a good system of transportation and irrigation
through the use of canals. They had a strong warfare system, which was
seen by their conquering of many lands. They also had their own language,
and their own mathematical system. Their scholars were also very
intelligent, they had developed their own system of time measurement and a
calendar system that was very accurate.

References: 1) Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia Version 7.0.5 CD-ROM
Grolier Inc.1995 2) Microsoft Encarta 96 CD-ROM Microsoft, 1996

3) Internet Addresses: http://www.mexicana.com/english/community/29nf-
http://udgftp.cencar.udg.mx/ingles/Precolombina/Azteca/mexintro.h tml
http://www.rmplc.co.uk/eduweb/sites/wickham/topics/aztecs/aztecs. html
Return to 123HelpMe.com