Aztec Culture

Topics: Aztec, Mesoamerica, Smallpox Pages: 6 (2116 words) Published: November 27, 2012
Research Paper: Aztec Culture
The Aztec culture dates all the way back to the 13th century. Some say that a few Aztec people still survive, although they are not exactly “pure.” Their culture was derived from South America. In this research paper the plan is to inform and explain to the teacher that the Aztec were an impressive group of people for their time period because they were so advanced in science, agriculture and were far more civilized than people from other regions had assumed during that time period. What caused the collapse of such a refined empire?

Moving on to government and political systems, the Aztec people’s started off with what is called the Calpulli - the basic unit of government. Each group is made up of multiple families and these families own land together. Whoever is made the leader of the Calpulli group is in charge and responsible for all the needs of everyone in the group. They set up what is called telpochalli - school for the common citizens. Leaders of these groups collect taxes as well. Although in cities the Calpulli leader is less family based and more about the region and surroundings (Cotrill). The next section of their government goes on to the nobility and councils. People in the nobility and council held a lot of power in society but they were not automatically put in government positions. Every city had a Calpulli and each Calpulli has a leader. All of the leaders from each group made up a council, these held a lot of the power in their government system. In the early to middle 1400s there were 3 main city-states that held the most power. The 3 city-states together were called the “Triple Alliance,” which was located in Mexico Valley. Each of these had a name; there was, Tenochtitlán, Texaco, and Tlacopan. Tenochtitlán came to dominate the whole empire itself. For each council an executive council is formed within it. Four members are chosen to lead; one of these chosen members is the tlatcani – leader of the city. Finally we come to the Huey Tlatcani which means “great speaker.” This person led the city, and was worshipped as a god and also considered the emperor (Cotrill). The emperor was supported by judges, governors, hosts of other officials, and priests. Even though the emperor was given “absolute power” in some sort of form, sometimes people also had a say. Emperors were chosen in a partially democratic system, meaning they could be removed from power at any time. Archaeologists and historians are unsure of how any certain Aztec person was chosen to get the position of Huey Tlatcani. It was not hereditary but it did have something to do with family lines. The control of the Aztec empire did not go everywhere in Mexico. Lands that the Aztec people conquered and claimed as their own did have to pay a price of tribute to them, but still had a certain amount of freedom. The gain of land was accomplished by warriors making attacks on surrounding areas, where they also took sacrificial prisoners. Most of the time, when villages, towns or cities were captured by the Aztec, it was an incentive bringing more trade and better goods to be traded along with infrastructure.

So where in history did the Aztec contribute to us? Well to start, they didn’t have twenty different ones, they had about 5. The first one of these is onions and horses and this is not technically an invention or contribution but it was introduced to them by the Spaniards. Education was not seen as a “must” or a “need” by most countries during their time, yet the Aztec people made it mandatory. Unlike in countries today there are rules and regulations to education. In some countries you can’t go to school if you are a girl, yet in others it doesn’t matter what sex you are. Black, white, poor, rich, middle class, low class, it didn’t matter to the Aztec. School was for everyone (Cotrill).

Another thing introduced was popcorn, yes, popcorn. It was first used by the Aztec people for head dresses and for...
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