The Fall of the Aztec Empire

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Abstract:

The Aztec civilization during its peak was the strongest civilization in the western hemisphere. When the Spaniards first set foot in the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, they could not believe that a civilization so primitive in their minds could have been so culturally developed and powerful. However, before making it to Tenochtitlan, they had discovered that all was not well in the Aztec empire. From many native Indians that had tension with the Aztecs, they learned of internal and pre-existing problems that existed. This investigation examines to what extent where those internal and pre-existing factors to blame for the downfall of the Aztec Empire. The investigation was undertaken using some of the only primary sources in existence such as that of Bernal Diaz Del Castillo and Bernardino de Sahagún, along with books from notable historians to shed light on vital events that took place leading to the conquest of the Aztec empire.

Although popular belief is that the Spaniards conquered the Aztecs due to their superior weaponry or the introduction of deadly European diseases, there existed a great amount of factors, primarily the alliance that Hernan Cortes made with the Tlaxcala, which the Spanish used to take advantage of the Aztec people. Many historians argue that the Tlaxcala were already on the verge of a war with the Aztec people and that the Spaniards were a catalyst to launch an attack on the Aztecs.

Essentially, the tension with the neighboring city-states that yielded their alliance made with the Spaniards, the religious quarrels that existed, along with other pre-existing tensions left the Aztec civilization vulnerable to the Spanish conquest. These combined factors helped weaken the social fabric by increasing resentment among conquered towns and cities and diminishing trust among Aztec citizens in their highly centralized government thus allowing conquest to be possible.

Word count: 296

Table of Contents

Abstract……………………………………………………………..…………………………………………………………….. i Table of Contents………………………………………….………………………………………………….……………. ii Research question: To what extent where internal and pre-existing factors to blame for the downfall of the Aztec Empire?..........................................................................................................................1 Response…………………………………………………..……………………………………………………………..……….1 Works cited……………………………………………………………..……………………………………………………….10

To what extent where internal and pre-existing factors to blame for the downfall of the Aztec Empire?

During the 14th and 15th centuries, the Aztec civilization was the most influential in North America. Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital, controlled most of present day central and southern México as well as northern Guatemala. Their military strength, manufactured resources, and high population allowed them to conquer or have great influence over smaller city-states throughout this Meso-America. Their sphere of influence would eventually spread from the Pacific to the Atlantic and be known by future historians as the “Aztecs.” Tenochtitlan was a large heavily populated city adorned with refined art and architecture. By comparison, it was larger than most European cities of the time. Though primitive compared to the contemporary European technology, the Aztecs developed a complex social structure and worldview. More than twenty-five years after the discovery of America in 1492, an expedition to the interior and unexplored territories of New Spain began in 1518 lead by Hernan Cortez – the representative of the Spanish crown – of what is now modern day Mexico. From my prior knowledge, there were many factors at play before the Spanish arrival in Mexico such as conflict with. Due to this, the Spanish arriving were merely a catalyst for the eventual attack of the Aztec empire. This essay shall...
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