Aztecs arrived on the Valley of Mexico around A.D.1200. They were called "The
Mexica," a poor, nomadic group of people from the harsh deserts of northern Mexico. According to
an Aztec legend, the Aztecs' sun god, Huitzilopochtli, told them that
they had to find a city of their own. He said to look for a place "where an eagle, perched on a cactus, holding a snake in
its mouth." They found such a place on a small island in Lake Texcoco, at the center of the valley.
Over the years, the Aztecs joined with two other city-states-Texcoco and Tlacopan to form the Triple Alliance. This alliance became the
leading power in the Valley of Mexico abd soon gained control over neighboring regions.They also controlled a vast Mesoamerican
The state based
its power on military conquest and tribute it gained from conquered people. They exercised loose control over much of their
empire. They often let local rulers govern their own regions. The Aztecs demanded tribute
in forms of products such as maize, cacao beans, cotton, jade, and gold. If someone failed to pay it, the warriors would
At the height
of the Aztec Empire, military leeaders held great power in the Aztec society. The emperor, like always, sat at the top of
the pyramid. The two other classes in Aztec were the comoners (merchants, astisans, and whoever owned land and the
slaves. The merchants were a special type of group. They would often travel and act as spies for the emperor and gainning
great wealth for themselves.
became a remarkable urban center. It was located on an island. In order to connect the mainland, the Aztec engineers built
three raised roads called causeways over tge water and marshland. In Tenochtitlan, places, temples,
markets, and residential districts were connected by streets and avenues. Canals divided the city, allowing canoes to bring
peopl and cargo straight to the city center. Aqueducts funneled fresh water in from mainland.