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Aztec Civilization

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Assess the effectiveness of the Aztec Civilization before the Spanish Conquest

The Aztecs were seen as one of the strongest powers during their existence, representing an extremely advanced and successful civilization. In comparison to other developments of the time, the effective state functioning under Aztec control meant a considerably advanced lifestyle for Aztec people. Prior to the Spanish invasion, the Aztecs dominated in the 15th and 16th centuries, conquering neighbouring tribes, and a civilization, which was once a small colony, grew to be an extremely powerful empire. In reflecting on the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan as the centre for Aztec existence, this city proves to be a significant contributor behind the ascension of the Aztec culture. Furthermore, in considering the economic, religious, political and social facets of Aztec life, significant understanding can be gained regarding the effectiveness of such an ancient civilization.

Tenochtitlan, known today as modern day Mexico City, was the largest self-built Aztec city, and has proved to show importance in regards to the effectiveness of the Aztec civilization. According to ancient Aztec beliefs, the head of all Aztec gods, Huizilopochtlid, told the Aztecs to wander the earth until they discovered an eagle with a serpent in its mouth, rested on a cactus. When they found this, they knew this was the chosen land, and began the creation of one of the world’s most successful empires, furthermore naming the area around it the city of Tenochtitlan. Through its role of being the civilization’s main site for economic, religious, political and social aspects of the Aztec culture, it was an urban island settlement that housed 200,000 inhabitants at its height. To gain understanding of its immense size, its population can be compared to those of Paris and Constantinople, where in that time, both cities also had similar populations of immense numbers. Furthermore, the city of Tenochtitlan, joined forces...