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Download as PDF Printable version. Wikimedia Commons. Human sacrifice. Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire. Acamapichtli The Aztecs believed in many gods.
Two of the most important gods they worshipped were Huitzilopochtli , the god of war and the sun , and Tlaloc , the rain god. The Aztecs did many things to keep the gods happy.
These things included human sacrifices. The Aztecs also believed that the gods were in an almost never-ending struggle. The hearts and blood from the sacrifice fed the good gods to give them strength to fight the evil gods.
The human sacrifices often took place on the Templo Mayor , the Aztecs' great pyramid temple. Huitzilopochtli, as depicted in the Codex Telleriano-Remensis.
Quetzalcoatl in the Codex Telleriano-Remensis. Tezcatlipoca in the Codex Borgia. The Aztecs ate plants and vegetables that could grow easily in Mesoamerica.
The main foods in the Aztec diet were maize , beans, and squash. They often used tomatoes and chili as spices. They also created chocolate. However, they did not have sugar , so their chocolate was a strong liquid with chili in it.
In Aztec society , there were different social classes with different social statuses. The most important people were the rulers.
Next were nobles. These were the Empire's powerful members of the government; great warriors ; judges ; and priests.
The next social class was the commoners common people. These were the Empire's everyday workers. Most of them farmed , ran stores, or traded.
Other workers included artisans , regular soldiers , and fishers. Commoners were allowed to own land as a group or a family. However, a single person was not allowed to own land.
The lowest social classes in Aztec society were serfs and then slaves. Slaves had no rights at all. They were bought and sold at Aztec markets.
For most of the Aztec Empire's existence, it was very difficult to move between social classes. Usually, if a person was born in a social class, they would stay in that class for the rest of their life.
Aztecs had harsh punishments for crimes that seem simple to us now. For example, a person could get the death penalty for adultery ; cutting down a living tree ; moving the boundary of a field to make their land bigger and someone else's smaller; major theft ; treason ; disorderly conduct causing trouble in public , drunkenness ; and promiscuity.
Under Aztec sumptuary law, a commoner could also get the death penalty for wearing cotton. Aztec 'high lords', who were in the top social class.
Merchants , members of "the commoners," carry things they want to sell a long way away. The Aztecs studied astrology and used the movements of the planets and the stars to create different calendars.
They also had a religious calendar which was made up of days. The Aztecs also studied and taught many complex subjects, including geometry , mathematics , debate , law , music , poetry , architecture , and agriculture.
The most popular Aztec sport was Tlachtili. They played this game using rubber balls and vertical hoops on opposite walls in the middle of the court.
The game's goal was to shoot the ball into the hoop using their knees. The first team to score won the game. The conquistadors defeated the Aztecs, took their empire, and made it into a Spanish colony.
Today many Mexicans have Aztec and other Native American forefathers. Shortly after the formation of the Triple Alliance, Itzcoatl and Tlacopan instigated sweeping reforms on the Aztec state and religion.
It has been alleged that Tlacaelel ordered the burning of some or most of the extant Aztec books, claiming that they contained lies and that it was "not wise that all the people should know the paintings".
After Moctezuma I succeeded Itzcoatl as the Mexica emperor, more reforms were instigated to maintain control over conquered cities.
A new imperial tribute system established Mexica tribute collectors that taxed the population directly, bypassing the authority of local dynasties.
Nezahualcoyotl also instituted a policy in the Acolhua lands of granting subject kings tributary holdings in lands far from their capitals. Some rebellious kings were replaced by calpixqueh , or appointed governors rather than dynastic rulers.
Moctezuma issued new laws that further separated nobles from commoners and instituted the death penalty for adultery and other offenses.
Moctezuma also created a new title called "quauhpilli" that could be conferred on commoners. In some rare cases, commoners that received this title married into royal families and became kings.
One component of this reform was the creation of an institution of regulated warfare called the Flower Wars. Mesoamerican warfare overall is characterized by a strong preference for capturing live prisoners as opposed to slaughtering the enemy on the battlefield, which was considered sloppy and gratuitous.
The Flower Wars are a potent manifestation of this approach to warfare. These highly ritualized wars ensured a steady, healthy supply of experienced Aztec warriors as well as a steady, healthy supply of captured enemy warriors for sacrifice to the gods.
Flower wars were pre-arranged by officials on both sides and conducted specifically for the purpose of each polity collecting prisoners for sacrifice.
After the defeat of the Tepanecs, Itzcoatl and Nezahualcoyotl rapidly consolidated power in the Basin of Mexico and began to expand beyond its borders.
The first targets for imperial expansion were Coyoacan in the Basin of Mexico and Cuauhnahuac and Huaxtepec in the modern Mexican state of Morelos.
On the death of Itzcoatl, Moctezuma I was enthroned as the new Mexica emperor. The expansion of the empire was briefly halted by a major four-year drought that hit the Basin of Mexico in , and several cities in Morelos had to be re-conquered after the drought subsided.
In , Moctezuma I died and was succeeded by his son, Axayacatl. Most of Axayacatl's thirteen-year-reign was spent consolidating the territory acquired under his predecessor.
Motecuzoma and Nezahualcoyotl had expanded rapidly and many provinces rebelled. In , Nezahualcoyotl died and his son Nezahualpilli was enthroned as the new huetlatoani of Texcoco.
Tizoc's reign was notoriously brief. He proved to be ineffectual and did not significantly expand the empire. Apparently due to his incompetence, Tizoc was likely assassinated by his own nobles five years into his rule.
Tizoc was succeeded by his brother Ahuitzotl in Like his predecessors, the first part of Ahuitzotl's reign was spent suppressing rebellions that were commonplace due to the indirect nature of Aztec rule.
By the reign of Ahuitzotl, the Mexica were the largest and most powerful faction in the Aztec Triple Alliance. Ahuitzotl was succeeded by his nephew Moctezuzoma II in Moctezuma II spent most of his reign consolidating power in lands conquered by his predecessors.
Moctezuma II instituted more imperial reforms. Moctezuma II used his reign to attempt to consolidate power more closely with the Mexica Emperor.
His reform efforts were cut short by the Spanish Conquest in An important article, "Rethinking Malinche" by Frances Karttunen examines her role in the conquest and beyond.
Nearby, he founded the town of Veracruz where he met with ambassadors from the reigning Mexica emperor, Motecuzoma II. The Spanish-led Totonac army crossed into Tlaxcala to seek the latter's alliance against the Aztecs.
However, the Tlaxcalan general Xicotencatl the Younger believed them to be hostile, and attacked. He then took Motecuzoma up to the roof of the palace to ask his subjects to stand down.
However, by this point the ruling council of Tenochtitlan had voted to depose Motecuzoma and had elected his brother Cuitlahuac as the new emperor.
The Spaniards and their allies, realizing they were vulnerable to the hostile Mexica in Tenochtitlan following Moctezuma's death, attempted to retreat without detection in what is known as the "Sad Night" or La Noche Triste.
Spaniards and their Indian allies were discovered clandestinely retreating, and then were forced to fight their way out of the city, with heavy loss of life.
Some Spaniards lost their lives by drowning, loaded down with gold. After this incident, a smallpox outbreak hit Tenochtitlan.
Through numerous subsequent battles and skirmishes, he captured the various indigenous city-states or altepetl around the lake shore and surrounding mountains, including the other capitals of the Triple Alliance, Tlacopan and Texcoco.
Texcoco in fact had already become firm allies of the Spaniards and the city-state, and subsequently petitioned the Spanish crown for recognition of their services in the conquest, just as Tlaxcala had done.
Although the attackers took heavy casualties, the Aztecs were ultimately defeated. The city of Tenochtitlan was thoroughly destroyed in the process.
The Aztec Empire was an example of an empire that ruled by indirect means. Like most European empires, it was ethnically very diverse, but unlike most European empires, it was more a system of tributes than a single unitary form of government.
In the theoretical framework of imperial systems posited by American historian Alexander J. Motyl the Aztec empire was an informal type of empire in that the Alliance did not claim supreme authority over its tributary provinces; it merely expected tributes to be paid.
For example, the southern peripheral zones of Xoconochco were not in immediate contact with the central part of the empire. The hegemonic nature of the Aztec empire can be seen in the fact that generally local rulers were restored to their positions once their city-state was conquered and the Aztecs did not interfere in local affairs as long as the tribute payments were made.
Although the form of government is often referred to as an empire, in fact most areas within the empire were organized as city-states individually known as altepetl in Nahuatl , the language of the Aztecs.
These were small polities ruled by a king or tlatoani literally "speaker", plural tlatoque from an aristocratic dynasty. The Early Aztec period was a time of growth and competition among altepeme.
Even after the empire was formed in and began its program of expansion through conquest, the altepetl remained the dominant form of organization at the local level.
The efficient role of the altepetl as a regional political unit was largely responsible for the success of the empire's hegemonic form of control.
It should be remembered that the term "Aztec empire" is a modern one, not one used by the Aztec themselves. The Aztec realm was at its core composed of three Nahuatl -speaking city states in the densely populated Valley of Mexico.
Over time, asymmetries of power elevated one of those city states, Tenochtitlan, above the other two.
The "Triple Alliance" came to establish hegemony over much of central Mesoamerica, including areas of great linguistic and cultural diversity.
Administration of the empire was performed through largely traditional, indirect means. However, over time something of a nascent bureaucracy may have been beginning to form insofar as the state organization became increasingly centralized.
Before the reign of Nezahualcoyotl — , the Aztec empire operated as a confederation along traditional Mesoamerican lines. Independent altepetl were led by tlatoani lit.
A typical Mesoamerican confederation placed a Huey Tlatoani lit. Following Nezahualcoyotl, the Aztec empire followed a somewhat divergent path, with some tlatoani of recently conquered or otherwise subordinated altepetl becoming replaced with calpixque stewards charged with collecting tribute on behalf of the Huetlatoani rather than simply replacing an old tlatoque with new ones from the same set of local nobility.
Yet the Huey tlatoani was not the sole executive. It was the responsibility of the Huey tlatoani to deal with the external issues of empire; the management of tribute, war, diplomacy, and expansion were all under the purview of the Huey tlatoani.
It was the role of the Cihuacoatl to govern a given city itself. The Cihuacoatl was always a close relative of the Huey tlatoani; Tlacaelel , for example, was the brother of Moctezuma I.
Both the title "Cihuacoatl", which means "female snake" it is the name of a Nahua deity , and the role of the position, somewhat analogous to a European Viceroy or Prime Minister , reflect the dualistic nature of Nahua cosmology.
Neither the position of Cihuacoatl nor the position of Huetlatoani were priestly, yet both did have important ritual tasks. Those of the former were associated with the "female" wet season, those of the latter with the "male" dry season.
While the position of Cihuacoatl is best attested in Tenochtitlan, it is known that the position also existed the nearby altepetl of Atzcapotzalco , Culhuacan , and Tenochtitlan's ally Texcoco.
Despite the apparent lesser status of the position, a Cihuacoatl could prove both influential and powerful, as in the case of Tlacaelel.
Early in the history of the empire, Tenochtitlan developed a four-member military and advisory Council which assisted the Huey tlatoani in his decision-making: the tlacochcalcatl ; the tlaccatecatl ; the ezhuahuacatl ;  and the tlillancalqui.
This design not only provided advise for the ruler, it also served to contain ambition on the part of the nobility, as henceforth Huey Tlatoani could only be selected from the Council.
Moreover, the actions of any one member of the Council could easily be blocked by the other three, providing a simple system of checks on the ambition higher officials.
These four Council members were also generals, members of various military societies. The ranks of the members were not equal, with the tlacochcalcatl and tlaccatecatl having a higher status than the others.
These two Councillors were members of the two most prestigious military societies, the cuauhchique "shorn ones" and the otontin " Otomies ".
Traditionally, provinces and altepetl were governed by hereditary tlatoani. As the empire grew, the system evolved further and some tlatoani were replaced by other officials.
The other officials had similar authority to tlatoani. As has already been mentioned, directly appointed stewards singular calpixqui , plural calpixque were sometimes imposed on altepetl instead of the selection of provincial nobility to the same position of tlatoani.
At the height of empire, the organization of the state into tributary and strategic provinces saw an elaboration of this system.Prentice Hall. Online Casino Testspiel allies were supposed to share power equally as they started to gain control of more land. Ahuitzotl also constructed monumental architecture in sites such as Calixtlahuaca, Malinalco and Tepoztlan. Translated by Lockhart, James. Other major Aztec cities were some of the previous city state centers around the lake including TenayucaAzcapotzalcoTexcocoColhuacanTlacopanChapultepecCoyoacanXochimilcoand Chalco. The most developed code of law was developed in the city-state of Texcoco Einzahlungsbonus its ruler Nezahualcoyotl. Markets were highly organized with a system of supervisors taking care that only authorized merchants were permitted to sell their goods, and punishing those who cheated their customers or sold substandard or counterfeit goods. Early migrants settled the Basin of Mexico and surrounding lands by establishing a series of independent city-states. Bright, W. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. The Spaniards and their Atztec, realizing they were vulnerable to the hostile Mexica in Tenochtitlan following Jkhj death, attempted to retreat without detection in what is known as the "Sad Night" or La Noche Triste. Aztec Learning System Login. Login. Password. Aztec offers two great ways to save on Fragrances!. About Our Company Established in , Aztec Imports Inc. is the leading wholsale distributor of Miniatures, Dollhouse and Accessories in the U.S.A! Please check our Retail Locator to find a dealer near you. Aztec Imports currently carries over 18, items to build, paint, furnish, electrify and accessorize your dream Dollhouse or Room-box. Aztec, self name Culhua-Mexica, Nahuatl-speaking people who in the 15th and early 16th centuries ruled a large empire in what is now central and southern Mexico. The Aztecs are so called from Aztlán (“White Land”), an allusion to their origins, probably in northern Mexico. The Aztecs (/ ˈæztɛks /) were a Mesoamerican culture that flourished in central Mexico in the post-classic period from to The Aztec peoples 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.