The Aztecs were a pre-Columbian civilization which dominated Meso America from the 14th to the 16th century. The Aztec's advanced military, stable economy and their stratified society were the foundations for the building and existence of a great civilization. The world remembers the Aztecs as an advanced, elaborate and wide-ranging empire which was later destroyed by the Spanish.
At first, the Aztecs were a relatively small and unknown tribe who called themselves the Mexicas. In the year of 1100 they left their homeland of Aztlan and came into the Valley of Mexico. And from their humble beginnings, the Aztecs rose to become the greatest power in Meso America by the time the Spaniards arrived, in the 16th century.
In the year of 1325, the Mexica tribe founded their first city known as Tenochtitlan in the Valley of Mexico near Lake Texcoco.
(Put up overhead of map) This map of the Valley of Mexico illustrates the geographical location of Tenochtitlan which is here on an island surrounded by fresh water and swamps.
In the beginning stages of Tenochtitlan's development, Aztec life was very difficult in their undesirable location. Tenochtitlan was located on a marshy island with very limited resources. The Aztecs built a few thatch and mud huts, and some small temples to honour their gods. The Aztecs had to work constantly to maintain a city on swampy land. Despite these obstacles, the Aztecs worked hard to improve the quality of their lives. They adopted an agricultural system of farming called the Chinampas. And in a short period of time, the land was transformed into a fertile and highly productive island.
Later on in 1431, the Mexicas established a strong triple alliance with two kingdoms known as Tlacopan, which was located here (pointing to overhead) and Texcoco, which was here (pointing to overhead) and these three powers joined together forming what we now call Aztec. This was also the period in which the Aztec's military strength significantly...
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