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The Aztec Empire

By ashleypaige_112 Jan 20, 2014 1143 Words

Humans estimated that the world came to existence at least 6 billion years ago. As the ‘natural’ mutations created living beings to make use of the earth’s natural resources. Within that category of living beings, all humans that live within their suitable environments. Humans are known to be nomadic or wanderers, that results in the creation of societies of people. Some of these people who are indigenous originate in and possess characteristics of a particular region or country. In 1498, Christopher Columbus said,” I have come to believe that this is a mighty continent which is hitherto unknown… Your Highness have Other World here,” when he discovered the Americas and its native people. The Great Ice Age contributed to the origins of the continent’s human history. Debatable evidence has indicated that some of the early people may have reached America by makeshift boat, or arrived through travelling by foot. For these early humans to travel by foot, the continents once had to be connected. The Pangaea theory is the imaginary landmass that existed when all the continent were joined about 300-200 million years ago. The main connection between the continents was the Bering Strait. The Bering Strait, also known as the ‘Land Bridge’, connects Eurasia with North America in the area of present day Bering Sea between Siberia an Alaska. This Land Bridge was the way hunting would be carried out and eventually, the separation of people to develop their own civilizations. Due to the nomadic nature of the early humans, groups were easily categorized based on their preferences in climate and food. Such groups include Aztecs, Incas and Mayas who, even though lived in a similar physical environments and climatic region, branched off to build their new lives in their own new societies. These group of people add new activities to their new found culture that will eventually be seen as the basic form of what our modern society within that region, now participate in for the sake of traditions. The Aztec Empire was peopled by a group that was once nomadic, the Aztecs or Mexicas.  Their historians told them that after their long journey from Aztlán, they were deemed outcasts, until they waited for the sign sent to them by their god Huitzilopochtli, and began to build their city.  And so the Aztec people continued to travel until they found this ‘blessed’ area, and the Aztec Empire began.  Aztecs had four main methods of agriculture,   most basic form of agriculture is known as “rainfall cultivation.” They also implemented terrace agriculture in hilly areas, or areas that could not be used for normal farming. Terracing allowed for an increased soil depth and impeded soil erosion. The Aztec's main food source was a type of corn called maize. They also ate tomatoes, avocados, tortillas made from maize and atole which was a form of porridge. ‘Octli’ was an alcoholic drink that was used only by nobility, royalty and warriors. It was produced from the sap of the maguey plant. Music and dance played an important part in culture of Aztec life. Musical instruments were usually rattles, whistles, trumpets and flutes. The Aztec language was ‘N’ahuatl’. In writing, there was a series of picture generally used for communication. Codices were the books, made from deerskin or tree bark, which consisted of long strips to form an accordion. Chief of men or ‘tlacatecuhtli’ were the leaders of all religious ceremonies and military activity. The Aztecs had adopted many different sectors of culture from people who they have captured and contributed to their religion. The three dominant gods of the Aztecs were: Huitzilopochtli (Hummingbird Wizard), Tezcatlipoca (Smoking Mirror) who was the chief god of the people and Quetzalcoatl (Sovereign Plummed Serpent). The most important part of the Aztecs’ religious life is the human sacrifices. These sacrifices are usually prisoners who have tries to invade the Aztec community and are then offered to the sun and earth for food and prosperity. The Aztecs had a strong belief in the afterlife. The way that Aztecs died was more important than the way they lived and this was the determining factor on whether they would go to the sun god or go to the dark underworld. The Aztec merchants were called ‘pochtecas’. A variety of goods were produced by the craftspeople. Some items were for the ruler and his nobles. While some were sold in the Aztec markets, others were traded with peoples of distant tribes. The pochtecas lived in a separate part of the city, had their own laws and temples to worship their own gods. One of these gods was Yacatecuhtli (Lord Nose), which was their merchant god. Some of the items that were traded were gold ornaments, colored woven cloth and salt that was harvested from the lake bed. They were exchanged for other luxury items, such as tropical bird feathers and jaguar skins (used for ceremonial garments), cotton, rubber, and cocoa beans (for chocolate).  Aztec laws were simple but had harsh punishments. Crimes from adultery to stealing were punished by death and other offenses sometimes involved severe corporal punishment or mutilation. The accused were brought to a court where judges would decide what punishment the guilty would get. The emperor was the judge and chosen members of the community would serve as the jury. These chosen members of community were usually noblemen under the emperor. The Aztecs had an interesting law. Only once in your lifetime could you confess your crime to the priests of Tlazolteotl and you would be forgiven. Spanish explorer Hernan Cortés encountered the Aztecs in 1519.  He then destroyed the Aztecs capital city of Tenochtitlan and rebuilt a Spanish city on its ruins.  The Spanish made themselves very comfortable in the Aztec capital city. As time went on, the Spanish became concerned that they might never leave, not alive anyway. And, as time went on, the Aztecs began to grow suspicious. The Spanish did not act like gods. They did not do the things that gods did. They even avoided the sacrifice ceremonies, which after all, were conducted in their honor. The Aztecs decided it was time to move the Spanish along. After a time, the Spanish came back more prepared to fight and conquered the Aztecs in 1521, claiming their empire for Spain. The Early Americans have forged the way of life for all Americans in our modern day. The way the Aztecs dressed is related to religion, social class, government roles, as well as aesthetics. Some of those designs are still used in our clothes today in a sense of tradition and respect. Other divisions of the culture can be identified in many ways now. The effect of Europeans of the Aztecs brought a general change and because the Native Americans had not developed as fast as the Europeans, they were subjected to accept the new culture forced upon them.

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