The Aztecs



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

long ago.







Work Cited



1) ?Aztec Indians?. Young Students Learning Library.

1993



2) Encarta ?96. CD-ROM. U.S.

Microsoft, 1996 .