What was the Aztec civilization

Who were the Aztecs?

The aztecs

The Aztecs were a people in Mesoamerica (see also: Where is Mesoamerica?). Unlike the Maya (from 1000 BC), the Aztecs lived much later, namely in the 14th to 16th centuries. Their culture was destroyed by the Spanish conquerors between 1519 and 1521.

The Aztecs lived where they are today Mexico lies. Your language is called Nahuatl. In many ways the Aztecs and their culture, religion and buildings resemble the other Mesoamerican peoples who had their prime before: the Olmecs, the Maya, the Zapotecs or the people who lived in Teotihuacán.

The Aztecs had become very powerful. That was also because they subjugated other peoples. Their capital was called Tenochtitlan. About 100,000 people lived there! Today in its place is the capital of Mexico: Mexico City. At the time of the Aztecs there was still a huge lake there. Tenochtitlán was therefore built on islands and causeways led to the city. The lake was later drained. Other important cities were nearby Texcoco and Tlacopán. They formed the Aztec Triple Alliance in the Valley of Mexico and the basis of the Aztec Empire.

How did the Atzeken live?

The Aztecs mainly ate corn, pumpkin, and beans. They had a very special and unusual cultivation method. They sat on the flat edge of the lake Chinampas a. These are floating gardens. The farmers scooped up mud from the bottom of the lake and fastened the "raft" with side rods made of twigs. They grew their food on the newly created "land".

There were also Craftsman. The most respected were the goldsmiths and those who made magnificent headdresses from feathers. The payment was made in cocoa beans. Cities and peoples that the Aztecs had subjugated had to them Tribute payments Afford. That was food, furs, bird feathers, cotton blankets, cocoa or even workers.

They were very respected warrior. Those who proved themselves could become eagle warriors or jaguar warriors. The obsidian sword was used in particular for fighting. It was a wooden board with sharp blades made of obsidian, a volcanic rock.

What did the Aztecs believe in?

The Aztecs believed in many Gods. In total they knew 1,600 gods! The most important was Huitzilopochtli, the god of war and the sun. Its name means translated hummingbird of the south. Tlaloc was worshiped as the god of rain. The Great Temple in Tenochtitlán was dedicated to both gods, the Templo Mayor. The building was a pyramid with two temples on top for the two gods. It stood in the center of the city and was 60 meters high. Again and again it was built over and became even higher. Opposite the Templo Mayor was the temple of the god Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent.

The Templo Mayor was also the place where the gods Victim were brought. Many people lost their lives here. The Aztecs believed that they had to make sacrifices to their sun god in order for the sun to continue its course. The hearts of the victims were torn out. The dead were then thrown down the steps of the temple. Above all prisoners of war, but also women and children, were sacrificed. Children were mainly sacrificed to the rain god Tlaloc.

Like the other cultures of Mesoamerica, the Aztecs played a ritual ball game and had their own calendar and an illuminated manuscript. The children went to school: either the temple school, if they were children of a nobleman, or the telpochcalli, where the boys learned to fight.

Aztec rulers

At the head of the city-states there was always one Ruler. For example, they were called Huitzilíhuitl or Chimalpopoca. Translated it means Feather of the Hummingbird or Smoking Shield. But the best known is Moctezuma II. (In Spanish also: Montezuma). His name means: He scowls like a prince. During the reign of Moctezuma II, the Aztec empire was conquered and destroyed by the Spanish conquistadors.

From 1519 to 1521, the Spaniard Hernán Cortés conquered the Aztec empire. Many of the Aztecs died and their culture was largely destroyed. In 1535 the viceroyalty of New Spain was proclaimed.