Mesoamerica: The Aztecs
May 20, 2013
The Aztecs who should be called Mexica, are one of the most important and famous civilizations of Mesoamerica. In the Postclassic period they reched Central Mexico and established their capital there. In a few centuries they managed to control almost all Mexico through an extended period. The Aztecs were a very successful civilization, in where they controlled most of the
The Aztec Empire of during the 14th and 15th centuries was one of the most successful and powerful Mesoamerican kingdoms at that time. The community of people began in the middle of a lake and eventually became the capital of an empire. The Aztecs were comprised of multi ethnic and multi lingual individuals that lived in a large area that stretched from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf coast and housed over fifteen million people. Their ability to be successful and have a powerful dominance in their quest was centered on their religious beliefs that were innate within everyone (Meyer, 54). These beliefs drove them to conquest, to expand through the regions and to build wonderful temples. The Aztecs or as they called themselves, the Mexica, rose to power in a very short time as they searched for their promise land. They were most interested in finding a place that they could call home. The cities, trade, agriculture, religion and societies were very important factors in their ability to survive and build a strong foundation for their lives as for their leaders.
After the fall of Teotihuacan, the Mayan civilization was full of life in every aspect. This was considered one of the most advanced groups of scientists of ancient America as they proved the system of calendars and writing (Kirkwood, 21). History states that the ancestors of the Aztecs came from a place in the north called Aztlán, the last of seven nahuatlacas (Nahuatl-speaking tribes) to travel couth and to find the promise land. The Aztecs were spiritually led by their god Huitzilopochtli, meaning “Left-handed Hummingbird” (Miller, 42). When they arrived at an island in the lake, they saw an eagle eating a snake while perched on a prickly cactus, that to them was a vision that was filled by a prophecy telling them that they had found their new homeland (Miller, 42). The Aztecs built their city of Tenochtitlan on the site, which today is found in the center of Mexico City. At its height, Tenochtitlan had a multi-ethnic population of more than 200,000 people, which made it one of the world's largest cities in the early 1500s (Meyer, 54).
The Aztec nomads had vivid visions of what they wanted and what they wanted to leave; troubling times to include intermarriages, and the local chiefs being forced to live in Mayapan as hostages (Meyer, 48). There was a lot of cruelty and war within the previous living conditions and as a result these resilient people went back to their roots relying on their knowledge of cultivation, family connection and strong community life. These are the things, in my opinion, that gave them the strength to move on and to find peace in their lives. Their ability to be extraordinary in all they accomplished in the unity of the Aztec nation was very significant in their lives at the time.
The city of Tenochtitlan consisted of a large number of priests and craftsmen which supported the economy that relied on extensive trade for the necessities and for luxury items (Time Life Books, 49). Tenochtitlan was the epitome of an urban center. The population alone, coupled with the great markets where they sold their goods allowed the city to have the beginnings of economic class. The city was divided into different groups that specialized in a specific craft or trade, such as rope-making or pot-making. The Aztecs used techniques from different cultures to build Tenochtitlan. There was a...
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Bray, Warwick. Everyday Life of the Aztecs. School Specialty Publishing, 1991. Print.
Miller, Mary. The art of mesoamerica. 3. London, England: Thames & Hudson, 2001. Print.
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