39 Facts About Aztec


The Aztec people included different ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica from the 14th to the 16th centuries.

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Aztec culture was organized into city-states, some of which joined to form alliances, political confederations, or empires.

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The Aztec Empire was a confederation of three city-states established in 1427: Tenochtitlan, city-state of the Mexica or Tenochca; Texcoco; and Tlacopan, previously part of the Tepanec empire, whose dominant power was Azcapotzalco.

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At its height, Aztec culture had rich and complex philosophical, mythological, and religious traditions, as well as achieving remarkable architectural and artistic accomplishments.

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In today's usage, the term "Aztec" often refers exclusively to the Mexica people of Tenochtitlan, situated on an island in Lake Texcoco, who referred to themselves as Mexihcah, Tenochcah or Colhuah .

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When used to describe ethnic groups, the term "Aztec" refers to several Nahuatl-speaking peoples of central Mexico in the postclassic period of Mesoamerican chronology, especially the Mexica, the ethnic group that had a leading role in establishing the hegemonic empire based at Tenochtitlan.

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Knowledge of Aztec society rests on several different sources: The many archeological remains of everything from temple pyramids to thatched huts, can be used to understand many of the aspects of what the Aztec world was like.

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An invaluable source of information about many aspects of Aztec religious thought, political and social structure, as well as history of the Spanish conquest from the Mexica viewpoint is the Florentine Codex.

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Scholarly study of Aztec civilization is most often based on scientific and multidisciplinary methodologies, combining archeological knowledge with ethnohistorical and ethnographic information.

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The ethnonym Aztec means "people from Aztlan", Aztlan being a mythical place of origin toward the north.

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Aztec undertook a successful coronation campaign far south of Tenochtitlan against the Zapotecs in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

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Aztec began an enlargement of the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan, inaugurating the new temple in 1487.

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Aztec constructed a fortified garrison at Oztuma defending the border against the Tarascan state.

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Aztec succeeded to the rulership after the death of Ahuitzotl.

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Aztec began his rule in standard fashion, conducting a coronation campaign to demonstrate his skills as a leader.

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Aztec attacked the fortified city of Nopallan in Oaxaca and subjected the adjacent region to the empire.

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Aztec consolidated the class structure of Aztec society, by making it harder for commoners to accede to the privileged class of the pipiltin through merit in combat.

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Aztec instituted a strict sumptuary code limiting the types of luxury goods that could be consumed by commoners.

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Aztec was succeeded by Cuauhtemoc, the last independent Mexica tlatoani, who continued the fierce defense of Tenochtitlan.

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Aztec's death marked the end of a tumultuous era in Aztec political history.

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Nevertheless, Aztec society was highly gendered with separate gender roles for men and women.

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Aztec makes this distinction because in some areas minor settlements with different altepetl allegiances were interspersed.

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Ethnohistorian Ross Hassig has argued that Aztec empire is best understood as an informal or hegemonic empire because it did not exert supreme authority over the conquered lands; it merely expected taxes to be paid and exerted force only to the degree it was necessary to ensure the payment of taxes.

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The Early Aztec period was a time of growth and competition among altepetl.

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Archaeological excavations in the Aztec-ruled provinces show that incorporation into the empire had both costs and benefits for provincial peoples.

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Aztec society combined a relatively simple agrarian rural tradition with the development of a truly urbanized society with a complex system of institutions, specializations, and hierarchies.

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Capital city of the Aztec empire was Tenochtitlan, now the site of modern-day Mexico City.

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The temple was enlarged in several stages, and most of the Aztec rulers made a point of adding a further stage, each with a new dedication and inauguration.

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Apart from the major deities there were dozens of minor deities each associated with an element or concept, and as the Aztec empire grew so did their pantheon because they adopted and incorporated the local deities of conquered people into their own.

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Aztec mythology is known from a number of sources written down in the colonial period.

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Whether, and how, the Aztec calendar corrected for leap year is a matter of discussion among specialists.

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Aztec greatly appreciated the toltecayotl of the Toltec, who predated the Aztec in central Mexico.

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The Aztec considered Toltec productions to represent the finest state of culture.

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Key aspect of Aztec poetics was the use of parallelism, using a structure of embedded couplets to express different perspectives on the same element.

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Aztec ruling dynasty continued to govern the indigenous polity of San Juan Tenochtitlan, a division of the Spanish capital of Mexico City, but the subsequent indigenous rulers were mostly puppets installed by the Spanish.

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Aztec wrote it expressly to defend Mexico's indigenous past against the slanders of contemporary writers, such as Pauw, Buffon, Raynal, and William Robertson.

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Mexican Revolution and significant participation of indigenous people in the struggle in many regions, ignited a broad government-sponsored political and cultural movement of indigenismo, with symbols of Mexico's Aztec past becoming ubiquitous, most especially in Mexican muralism of Diego Rivera.

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Aztec's resulting work was a mixture of pro- and anti-Aztec attitudes.

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In Mexico City there are commemorations of Aztec rulers, including on the Mexico City Metro, line 1, with stations named for Moctezuma II and Cuauhtemoc.

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