The Aztec civilization is an exceptional people who reigned over the current Mexican territory from 1200 AD to 1521 AD. Nicknamed the “sons of the sun”, the Aztecs had succeeded in building a powerful empire over the entire Mexican region in the space of two centuries. But where did the Aztecs come from? How did they live? What were their beliefs and customs?
Aztecs: 10 things you didn’t know about this Mexican civilization
The Aztec civilization occupies a large place in the history of Mexico. Indeed, nomadic communities, the Aztecs (still called “Mexicas”) settled for the first time on Mexican soil. Socially hierarchical and well organized politically, the Aztec civilization established its empire over all the Amerindian communities living in the former Mexican territory. The arrival of the conquistadors in 1519, unfortunately, largely caused the fall of the Aztec Empire. But, archaeological excavations have now revealed some secrets about the traditions of the Aztec civilization, particularly in terms of construction. So, do you wonder what are the most beautiful buildings of the Aztec civilization? Doesn’t there remain, currently, than ruins of Aztec monuments? Do you want to discover their story? Here are 10 things that will allow you to know everything about the Aztecs, in this complete file that tells you absolutely everything!
Who were the Aztecs?
The Aztecs, also known as “Mexica”, were an indigenous people who, between the years 1325 and 1500, created one of the largest empires in Mesoamerican territory. Let’s find out who the Aztecs were, their characteristics, their achievements and their fall. The Mexica, as they called each other, dominated the entire territory we know today as Mexico. Originally, they were a nomadic people located mainly in the northern regions, more precisely in Aztlan and this is where the name “Aztecs” comes from. During the centuries they ruled the territory, they formed a culture rich in traditions, beliefs, rituals and cuisine. Today, many beliefs from Aztec history are still very much alive to many indigenous peoples.
Origin of the Aztecs
The Aztecs were a Nahua people who settled in the Valley of Mexico around the year 1325. The prophecy of the god Huitzilopochtli, said that soon they would become masters of other peoples and that is what they were looking for when they settled there. To do this, they adopted the worship of the deity Quetzalcoatl and became related to the Toltec people. In 1426 a war broke out between the Aztecs and the Tepanecas, in which the Aztecs were victorious. It was from here that the expansion began and the origins of Aztec society were established. Their expansion was done by subjugating the adjacent villages. Along with this expansion, they also built different architectural works, such as temples to worship the gods, roads to ensure the smooth running of trade, water diversions, canals, among others. The capital of the Aztec Empire was Tenochtitlan and it was the heartland that dominated the territory for several centuries until its fall in 1521.
Political organization of the Aztecs
The Tlatoani was the highest political, military and even religious authority. His position was elected by a council called Tlatocan. The Cihuacóatl, was the second in command and replaced the Tlatoani when he was not there. Likewise, different dignitaries, such as priests and military men, were also part of the council chaired by Tlatoani. The Tatloques, who were the rulers of the various conquered cities, were sent by Tenochtitlan. On the other hand, the community called Calpulli, had its own religious and political authorities, but in the same way it responded to the higher command.
Organization of the company
Aztec society was divided into three social classes: the pipiltin, who were the nobility, the macehualtin who were the commoners, and the tlatlacotin, who were the slaves. The pipiltins were the most privileged class and were usually relatives of the royal family or priests. However, many people rose to this category by standing out and becoming part of the interests of the empire. On the other hand, the macehualtin, were the people who dedicated themselves to trade, agriculture or artistic activities.
What were the gods of the Aztecs?
- Quetzalcoatl: supreme god.
- Tlaloc: God of rain.
- Huitzilopochtli: God of war and the sun.
- Xipe Totec: flayed god.
- Tezcatlipoca: God of night and destruction.
- Huehueteotl: God of cold and fire.
- Tlazoltéotl: Goddess of lust.
- Mictlancihuatl: Goddess of the dead in the afterlife.
- Tonantzin or Coatlicue: Goddess of life and death.
For the Mexica, the forces of good were in constant struggle against the forces of evil and when they thought that the forces of good were weak, they performed a human sacrifice before the gods so that they “drink” the blood of the sacrificed and become stronger.
Knowledge of the Aztecs
The Mexica developed an impressive knowledge of agriculture, for which they created calendars where they fixed the time of sowing and harvesting. Also, in medicine, they used the plants to cure certain diseases, and they had the ability to heal broken bones, extract teeth, and even stop infections. Likewise, they excelled in architectural constructions like everything that belonged to the capital of Tenochtitlan, such as the pyramids. Goldsmithing, sculpture, literature, astronomy and music were also fields in which they excelled.
The domination was not total
Among the peoples who did not submit to the Aztec Empire are the Tlapanecs of Yopitzinco, the Mixtecs of Tututepec, the Popolocas and the state of Michoacán. The end of Mexican culture came with the arrival of the Spaniards, who had the help of a few tributary peoples who wanted to see the empire fall due to its constant abuse.
How did the Aztecs live?
Discover how the Aztecs lived, what their customs and traditions were and how their days were filled with art, war and religion.
The Aztecs were one of the most powerful ancient civilizations that inhabited the Mexican lands from 1300 to 1521. The way the Aztecs lived their daily lives revolved around the mythical and the religious, where every action of their daily life was subject to power gods. Family life, wars, art, agriculture and trade were also part of Aztec life for a long time. After several wars and persecutions, the Aztecs settled in the lagoon of Texcoco where the beautiful and prosperous Tenochtitlan was founded. We know a lot about the wars that took place there, the Spanish conquest and the tribes that took part in it, but what was life like in Tenochtitlán? What did they do from waking up to going to bed? This is what we are going to tell you in this post,
Daily life of the Aztecs
The Aztecs spoke the Nahuatl language and called themselves Mexica. The day in Tenochtitlán began with the sound of the drums that the priests were instructed to beat from the top of the temples to welcome a new day. The sound of the timpani triggered the daily tasks of all the inhabitants of the capital. Women stopped to sweep, travelers began their journey, farmers began to cultivate the land, and merchants began their business. The lives of nobles, that is, relatives of priests, warriors and other officials, also began with the awakening of the sun. The servants woke up and immediately began to take care of the household and the care of their masters.
What did the houses of the Mexica look like?
The less privileged Aztecs who did not live in palaces lived in modest adobe houses. In general, most houses consisted of a sanctuary for the gods, a kitchen, a room where the whole family rested, and a bathroom built separately from the main house. The masters of noble houses slept in a mat on cotton blankets. When they woke up, the servants folded it up to empty the room and kept it in a special place just for the petate. On the other hand, the more modest families slept only in a mat without a cover and, on waking, they folded them and placed them leaning against the wall.
How did they clean themselves?
The Aztecs showered at least once a day and used soap made from soapwort fruits or roots. The nobles had cotton cloths which they used to dry themselves. The men had their hair tied with a red ribbon and adorned it with large colorful feathers to show their superiority and status. In contrast, women styled their hair with a parting down the middle of the hair and two braids at the top of the head with the feathers up if they were married.
Their daily dress
The lower strata Aztecs went barefoot, and as their economic and social status rose, they began to wear sandals. Women wore calf-length skirts and blouses that covered their torsos. The men wore white blankets and loincloths. Their attire changed on the dates of special celebrations. Jewelry was worn exclusively by priests, warriors and high command. Anyone who wore extravagant jewelry without belonging to this social class was punished.
The nobles ate after washing. They ate freshly grilled corn tortillas with a meat or fish filling. The rest of the population had their first meal at the second hour of the day, when the drums sounded around 9 and 10 a.m., after a few hours of work. Their breakfast consisted of atolli sweetened with honey or seasoned with spices. The drums beat again at noon, indicating lunchtime. Everyone was taking a break from their chores and getting ready to enjoy a delicious meal. The lower class ate bean tortillas, tamales, chili sauce, and rarely ate meat. After the lunch break, everyone returned to their work until the sun began to set and the drums sounded to signal the end of the day. Dinners consisted of atolli made with chia or amaranth for the humblest. For the nobles, after taking a relaxing bath, dinners consisted of fish, meat and vegetable dishes. Alcohol consumption was restricted to those over the age of 52, the age at which nobles retired. After dinner, the drums were played for the last time to indicate bedtime. Alcohol consumption was restricted to those over the age of 52, the age at which nobles retired. After dinner, the drums were played for the last time to indicate bedtime. Alcohol consumption was restricted to those over the age of 52, the age at which nobles retired. After dinner, the drums were played for the last time to indicate bedtime.
Humility was instilled in the children of nobles.
Regardless of their economic or social status, nobles instructed their children in agriculture and certain other trades because, for them, being nobility did not imply living at the expense of others all one’s life and they had to learn to fend for themselves.
Some other characteristics of the life of the Aztecs
- They severely punished corruption.
- The rulers, to distract themselves, played the ball game where they bet on property and slaves.
- The lower classes played patolli.
- Mexican women did not wear makeup because it was in bad taste.
What do you think of the Aztec culture and their daily life?
How did the Aztecs resist the Spaniards?
To know how the Aztecs resisted the Spaniards, we must talk about the history of their arrival and how the Aztecs saw these beings. How did the Aztecs resist the Spaniards? It was in 1519 that the arrival of the Spaniards began in the lands that we know today as Mexico, led by the conquistador Hernán Cortés, who refused to return to Cuba without having accomplished a great feat in this territory. At that time, the Aztec Empire had the most powerful political grouping in Mesoamerica. How did the Aztecs resist the Spaniards? Cortes arrives in Mexican lands at the head of 500 European soldiers, imposing his power in the nearest cities and creating alliances with different tribes to overthrow Emperor Montezuma. Hernan was a very observant and intelligent man, as he quickly realized the hatred felt by the people dominated by the high command of Tenochtitlan and convinced them to fight alongside him to free them from Aztec authority. They managed to get to Tenochtitlán and were received there by Emperor Moctezuma, who at first considered them to be divine beings sent by God.
How did the Aztecs view the Spaniards?
The Aztecs firmly believed that the mythical Quetzalcoatl would soon return to reclaim their lands. This legend greatly influenced how the Aztecs first viewed the Spaniards. With their arrival, certain anomalies occurred such as the appearance of a comet and the impact of lightning on a temple, which led the priests to believe that they were omens from the legends about the return of Quetzalcoatl. The Spaniards are then perceived for the first time as divine beings, to be feared and respected. Emperor Moctezuma, on the other hand, greatly feared them and tried to prevent them from reaching Tenochtitlán by sending sages for dialogue and multiple gifts to discourage them from continuing their advance through the cities where they were getting more and more allies. Hernan and his troops received gold, women and various objects considered sacred. Most of their gifts are sent to the Court to have their unauthorized conquest approved by the King.
The arrival of the Spaniards in Tenochtitlan
The arrival of these “divine beings” in Tenochtitlán was inevitable for the Aztecs, so Cortés was welcomed with offerings and very well taken care of during his eight-month stay. Cortes had to go away for a while to return to his home colony and fend off a group of soldiers who came to arrest him. Pedro Alvarado was left in charge on behalf of Cortés in Tenochtitlán. The thirst for gold, power and land led Alvarado to carry out the massacre of the Templo Mayor. The Mexica, who worshiped the gods Tezcatlipoca and Huitzilopochtli, were brutally murdered by Spanish soldiers under orders from Pedro Alvarado. The Indians tried to defend themselves, but at the time they were just a helpless people regularly celebrating one of their many cults. After this bloody massacre,
The resistance of the Aztecs to the Spaniards
The rebellion on the part of the Mexica had begun. After Moctezuma was killed by his own people due to the fury he felt at his alleged complicity with the Spaniards, Cortès understood that the consequences of the Templo Mayor massacre would be devastating. Cuitláhuac was elected by the lords and priests to command the Mexica. He was the brother of the late Moctezuma. This new huey begins enlisting troops and forming alliances with nearby towns to defeat the Spaniards once and for all. War and resistance started on both sides. These battles are said to have lasted for more than a week, until, at midnight on June 30, 1520, Cortés ordered the Spaniards and their allied Indian troops to flee. As they fled through the Toltec channel, they were spotted by an old Mexican woman who quickly alerted the Mexican warriors to the escape of the Spaniards. Within minutes, the Spaniards were surrounded by enraged Aztec warriors who began attacking from every possible angle. This night was baptized by the Spaniards the Noche Triste (Sad Night). The Spaniards who were spared were spared because they decided to strip themselves of all the gold and clothing they had on them, while many others were killed and drowned. Spaniards and allied Indians who were captured served as sacrifices in tribute to the ascension of the new emperor. the Spaniards were surrounded by enraged Aztec warriors who began attacking from every possible angle. This night was baptized by the Spaniards the Noche Triste (Sad Night). The Spaniards who were spared were spared because they decided to strip themselves of all the gold and clothing they had on them, while many others were killed and drowned. Spaniards and allied Indians who were captured served as sacrifices in tribute to the ascension of the new emperor. the Spaniards were surrounded by enraged Aztec warriors who began attacking from every possible angle. This night was baptized by the Spaniards the Noche Triste (Sad Night). The Spaniards who were spared were spared because they decided to strip themselves of all the gold and clothing they had on them, while many others were killed and drowned. Spaniards and allied Indians who were captured served as sacrifices in tribute to the ascension of the new emperor.
The Defense of Tenochtitlan
The defense of Tenochtitlán begins and after months of resistance, war and much bloodshed, it is finally defeated by the Spanish. More than half of the Aztec population had perished at the hands of the Spanish conquest. It is the final fall of the Aztec Empire and the Mexica, while the survivors feel abandoned by their gods and resign themselves to giving back what little they have left.
How was the Aztec civilization organized?
The Aztec people are distinguished by their well-ordered social and political organization. All the members of the community complied with the organizational principles but also and above all with the wishes of the deities. Thus, at the head of Aztec society was the Tlatoani (emperor). The legitimacy of the emperor emanating from the gods. Indeed, this character ruled under the recommendations of the Aztec gods. But it should be noted that the succession to power was hereditary. Next to the emperor, you have the people of high society: the pilli. These are noble people, born into royalty. Then you can note the priests whose main function was to officiate religious ceremonies and rituals. Besides that, they occupied themselves with writing, astronomy and medicine. Then, you can remember the “macehualli” who represented the largest part of the Aztec population. The individuals composing this social category were hierarchized according to their wealth and their administrative functions. Finally, at the very bottom, you find the peasants (mayeques) who were slaves assigned to a lord.
Tenochtitlan: History of the Aztec Capital
One of the most beautiful stories of the Aztec Empire can be found in this place called Tenochtitlan, the promised land. It is undoubtedly an interesting story that mixes mythology, magic and wars. From its birth to its fall, the Aztec Empire occupies an important place in the history of Mexico. To talk about Tenochtitlan is to talk about the Aztecs, the founding fathers of Mexico, and despite the longevity of the story, it remains awe-inspiring. A solid structure, well-thought-out architecture and indigenous mythology, fill this place with magic and make it a true legend.
The promised land
The Aztecs, so called because they came from the city of Aztlan, began a journey over the years in search of new territories. The goal was to look for a place where they would find food, prosperity, honor and the coveted freedom, but, to tell the truth, this process took many years, about 200. A crucial point for the arrival from the promised place was the expulsion of the Aztecs from Tizapán due to the confrontation with enemy tribes. It is therefore in 1325 that they will obtain the promised city, guided by the priests faithful to the god Huitzilopochtli. It is said that the last word was given by the god representing himself in the form of an eagle eating a serpent majestically positioned on a cactus, this symbol is even currently the most influential for the Mexican people,
The triple alliance
The proliferation of the city is also due to the triple alliance between the Mexica, the Acolhuas and the Tepanecas in 1428. In this way, the creation of the Aztec Empire would be guaranteed to be a greater symbol, united with Texcoco and Tlacopan would then be offensive and defensive powers. In addition, the entrance to the city by three roads made it a strategic point for trade and communication with other territories. The architecture of the city on the lake One of the most important points of Tenochtitlan is its complex and artistic architecture. Majestic and incredible everywhere you look, a great network of streets and town planning, harmoniously situated on an island on a lake. The city was built to represent power and achieved it like no other at the time. Countless stories and works of art show us that the Aztecs inherited countless architectural innovations. Indeed, the city had hydraulic networks, pyramids and gigantic temples. It is even believed that the city was even more complex than it seems. It is said that in order to construct large buildings over a lake, a problem of sedimentation must be solved, as well as the hydraulic technology that allowed mobilization, irrigation and flood protection.
The Aztecs perfected their method of agriculture, so much so that they created small artificial islands to grow food to meet the demand of the city. This is said to have increased harvests by nearly double. The chinampas were wooden frames where soil and seeds were placed, which allowed the crops to be constantly hydrated throughout the year and harvests were faster. Their innovations in agriculture were truly visionary and effective for their time.
These grand and, perhaps, the most attractive structures in the city, were made as a condition of offering to the god Huitzilopochtli and various gods. The pyramids functioned as both a place of offerings and cultural epicentres for the population. The story says that the main temple was the link between earth, heaven, hell and common life. Therefore, it was a sacred place and respected by all, from the youngest to the oldest. It is important to note that the pyramids of Tenochtitlan do not resemble Egyptian pyramids, but rather Mesopotamian constructions. The city had five different pyramids. The names of the pyramids were:
- The Tlacatecco.
- The Temple of Ehecatl.
Enriching our knowledge of Aztec culture will always be a good way to understand and value our past.
What are the most beautiful monuments of the Aztec civilization?
The destruction of the Aztec empire did not spare its finest architectural masterpieces. Indeed, everything will have been destroyed in 1521, especially in the capital (Tenochtitlan) during the fall of the Aztec civilization. But, fortunately, archaeologists have managed to trace the ruins of Aztec buildings. So, which Mexican archaeological sites allow you to admire the most impressive Aztec monuments? Here is a small list…
The majestic Templo Mayor (Great Temple)
Built in the capital Tenochtitlan, the Great Temple was one of the most magnificent constructions of the Aztec civilization. This Aztec monument was a pyramid built on several levels. Considered a “sacred precinct”, the Great Temple was the ceremonial and religious center of Tenochtitlan. Unfortunately, it will be destroyed after the decline of the Aztec Empire against the conquistadors. Moreover, with the economic and demographic development of Mexico City, buildings were erected above the ruins of the Great Temple. Archaeologists had to demolish the buildings to find exactly the foundations of the largest Aztec monument. Today you have the opportunity to visit its ruins in Mexico City.
Outside the capital (Mexico-Tenochtitlan), you can find another Aztec monument that is worth the trip: the temple of Tenayuca. The building is located in the Valley of Mexico, more precisely in San Pablo Tenayuca. Note that the great pyramid (discovered between 1925 and 1930) is the only Aztec monument visible in this archaeological site.
When you travel to the state of Morelos, you will come across the Aztec archaeological landmark of Teopanzolco. The pyramid of Teopanzolco would have been built by the Aztecs in honor of Tláloc, divinity of the rain. An earthquake allowed archaeologists to find this Aztec building in the ruins of Teopanzolco.
Thus, if most of the monuments of the Aztec civilization disappeared with the fall of their empire, archaeological excavations have made it possible to find ruins. This gives you the opportunity to contemplate them without moderation during your next stay in Mexico…
10 surprising things about the Aztecs
A prophecy is behind the arrival of the Aztecs in Mexico
Before settling down, the Aztecs were nomadic peoples. But, their destiny was not to wander throughout their existence. Indeed, according to a prophecy, the deity of war, Huitzilopchli, asked the Aztecs to settle in a place where they would see “an eagle standing on a nopal devouring a serpent”. After 165 years of searching for the promised land, the tribe saw the prophecy come true. The Aztecs fell the scene at Tenochtli, near Lake Texcoco (July 26, 1325). Respectful of the claims of their divinity, they established their territory on this place and thus founded their capital in Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City).
“Aztecs” is not the right name
The world knows them today as the “Aztecs”. But, in reality, this is not their real name. Moreover, their sacred books (codices) provide proof of this. According to these texts, the Aztecs originated from an island called “Atzlan”. During their journey to discover the promised land, the Aztec community was called “Mexitin” (inhabitant of Mexico City). Therefore, the appropriate name would be “Mexitin” or even “Mexicas”.
Their language is far from dead
The language spoken by the Aztecs is “Nahuatl”, a Native American dialect very popular in ancient Mesoamerica. This language will have survived the decline of the Aztec civilization in 1521. Nahuatl is currently the second most spoken language in Mexico. Some French words also come from the language of the Aztecs: coyote, cacao, tomato, etc.
The cultivation of floating gardens allowed them to survive
The territory promised to the Aztecs was far from welcoming. The place was hostile and marshy. The Aztecs realized very quickly that surviving there would be far from a piece of cake. So they found an ingenious solution: the cultivation of floating gardens (Chinampas), placed on the surface of the lake. This well-organized system allowed them to harvest about seven crops a year… just that!
Their chocolate was spicy
Aztec chocolate had aphrodisiac properties. The consecrated word for this drink made from cocoa and peppers was “xocoatl” (chocolate in French). It meant in Nahuatl “bitter water”. Several writings report that the sovereign Moctezuma II consumed 50 cups of it a day. He really needed it!
Moctezuma II had 150 wives
In the Aztec civilization, the woman and the fact of owning a territory went hand in hand. Thus, to claim your authority over a land, you had to marry a woman from that territory. To reign over 150 countries, Moctezuma II then had 150 wives!
Moctezuma’s superstition brought about his downfall
The Aztec ruler believed that the harbinger of misfortune announced by the gods a decade before the arrival of the conquistadors will come true. He dreaded this moment, and it gradually weakened him. Blinded, he saw in Hernan Cortes the reincarnation of the god Quetzalcoatl. Two years later Moctezuma died and the empire fell into decay.
Chewing gum was an element of social differentiation among the Aztecs
Chewing gum was used to distinguish prostitutes, slaves and noble women in Aztec society. The gum (“tzictli” in Nahuatl) was thus dedicated to prostitutes.
Their greatest terror is the death of the sun
According to Aztec beliefs, every 52 years humanity risked sinking into darkness forever. To ward off such a fate, the “new fire” ceremony took place on the last day of the 52-year cycle. It was an opportunity for the Aztecs to make a sacrifice to the gods so that peace and prosperity would accompany the new solar cycle.
Sacrifices are not the prerogative of the Aztecs
The sacrificial practice occupied a very great importance in the life of the Aztecs. It was a way to curry favor with the gods. The Aztecs made sacrifices for all kinds of occasions. Thus, according to Aztec sources (to be verified), nearly 80,000 people were sacrificed just for the inauguration of the temple in Mexico City. However, it did not start with their civilization. Indeed, a thousand years before their arrival, other communities practiced its rituals in Teotihuacan.
The capture of Tenochtitlan by the Spaniards
The capture of Tenochtitlán by the Spaniards in 1521 marked a milestone in the history of the Mexican people. The sudden Spanish conquest was accomplished thanks to the skills of Hernán Cortés, a young captain sent by the governor of Cuba at the time, Diego Velázquez. Although it all started as a reconnaissance expedition to search for gold and riches in Aztec territory, the situation quickly turned into a long chain of clashes between the native Mexicans and the Spanish soldiers. On August 13, 1521, the Aztec Empire was defeated and collapsed at the mercy of Spanish soldiers and the Crown. This year 2021 will be the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquest and the fall of Tenochtitlán. To commemorate it, let’s learn the story of what happened.
How did the Spanish conquest begin?
The governor of Cuba, Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, organizes what will be the third expedition outside his lands in search of slaves and gold. He appointed Hernán Cortés as captain of the expedition, who at the time was the mayor of Santiago. Shortly before his departure, Governor Velázquez decided to remove him from office. Cortés did not care and decided to leave anyway with about 600 men and 11 ships to explore the distant lands of Yucatán. The expedition set sail on February 10, 1519. They arrived in the ports of Veracruz where they remained for 4 months. They were very well received by the natives of the region, called Totonacs. There they receive news from the Aztec Empire and its great capital Tenochtitlan. They received many gifts, including a wife who served as a lover, interpreter and political adviser to Cortés. This is how Cortés and his troops receive the necessary information on the political organization of Tenochtitlán, the subjugated tribes and those who refuse to submit.
Indigenous strategic alliances were essential
Cortés was highly intelligent and quickly understood the displeasure that several tribes felt at the submission of the empire, which was why he decided to continue advancing with a view to reaching Tenochtitlán and overthrowing the empire. While advancing towards the capital, he speaks with the captains of different tribes who agree to join his call and ally to take Tenochtitlan. Although not all of these alliances were made so easily, as there was also bloodshed, such as the Cholula massacre. On the other hand, Emperor Moctezuma had heard of their arrival and sent several missionaries to persuade Cortés not to continue advancing. But their efforts were in vain and Cortes and his troops arrived at the capital of Tenochtitlan on November 8, 1519.
Is this the promised arrival of Quetzalcoatl?
Emperor Moctezuma II believed that Cortes’ arrival was about the promised return of the god Quetzalcoatl, so they were all treated as beings of another nature. They received housing, food, gold and various gifts, but the peaceful coexistence did not last long. Hernán must return to his main colony to fight against an ally of Governor Velázquez who has demanded his arrest. When he returns to the capital, he finds the population enraged by a massacre that has occurred on the orders of Captain Commander Pedro Alvarado. Cortés ordered Moctezuma to calm his people and the Mexica, seeing that Moctezuma had allied himself with the Spaniards, stoned him. Cortés and his troops then fled, which led to the “Noche Triste”,
The fall of Tenochtitlán a year later
A year later, Hernán Cortés returned reorganized, with more Spanish troops and more native warriors joining his cause. They studied the terrain and implemented strategies such as cutting off the water supply to part of the city, leaving them without water or food. He built brigantines to fight the Aztecs on the water and taught the Indians how to fight the Spaniards. The attack began with the devastation of the nearest villages and continued all the way to the capital. The fight lasted about 75 days during which the Mexica did everything to resist, but disease, lack of water and food, made the population succumb to the conquest. The Aztec struggle, whose leader was the last tlatoani named Cuauhtémoc, ended on August 13, 1521.
Cause of the disappearance of the Aztecs
Learn all about the latest discoveries that could reveal the mystery of the disappearance of the Aztecs. The cause could be a deadly bacteria. The end of the Aztec Empire, as it was known with its political and social organizations, was due to the Spanish conquest led by Hernán Cortés between the years 1520 and 1521. However, the disappearance of the Aztecs as a whole, would have had place between the years 1545 and 1576, what was the cause of the disappearance of this breed? Over the years, historians and scientists have carried out multiple investigations to discover the causes of the disappearance of the Aztecs who, when the troops of Cortes arrived, numbered around 25 million Indians and who, a few decades later, numbered only a million. The latest studies point to the bacterium Paratyphi C, which is a deadly form of Salmonella. Scientists say it may be the bacteria that caused the deadliest epidemic in history.
How did the bacteria arrive and spread?
When the Spaniards arrived in Mexico, they brought with them new diseases that the Aztecs had never suffered before. Among them, smallpox and measles. Spanish historians and missionaries of the time began noting the symptoms exhibited by the native population: fever, cough, bleeding from the mouth and nose, and red spots on the skin. Most affected people died within three or four days of the onset of symptoms. It was only the first epidemic that killed millions soon after Europeans arrived. It is not really known if salmonella was brought by the Europeans or if it was already a common disease among the Mexica, but what is certain is that after the arrival of the Spaniards many changes took place. ,
Paratyphoid fever, from which the deadly bacteria Salmonella originates, is spread through contaminated food and water. This disease was called cocoliztli by the Aztecs, which in Nahuatl means “plague” or “pestilence”. Between 1545 and 1585, the cocoliztli is said to have wiped out 80% of Aztec society, making it the worst deadly epidemic in human history.
How did they find out that salmonella was the cause?
The disappearance of the Aztecs has been one of the most studied mysteries in different parts of the world. Many years ago, scientists could not explain how a disease unknown to them (at the time) could wipe out an entire race in just a few years. Between 2016 and 2017, the first discoveries of the disease at the origin of the disappearance of the Aztecs were obtained thanks to DNA samples. A team of German researchers from the Max Planck Institute extracted DNA from the teeth of 29 corpses taken from a cemetery in the highlands of Oaxaca, 24 of which were linked to the epidemic of 1545 and 1576. They were able to separate the bacterial DNA and compare it to over 2,700 bacterial genomes. They found that most people had the deadly strain of salmonella.
Other theories about the disappearance of the Aztec culture
Researchers from the Autonomous University of Mexico claim that the cause of the disappearance of the Aztecs is due to a viral hemorrhagic fever that originated there. Their investigations were based on the analysis of the symptoms presented by the natives through the chronicles written by the missionaries and on the study of the remains of the Aztec corpses. However, these studies have no scientific basis. Today, Paratyphi C is a bacterial strain that is quite difficult to find. It is mainly spread in developing countries through faeces and contaminated water. Between 10 and 15% of those affected die if they are not diagnosed in time. To get a better idea of what caused the mass death of Aztec society,
How many Aztec gods were there?
Find out how many Aztec gods there were and all about Aztec mythology, which encompasses the beliefs, customs and traditions of the Mexica. The gods of Aztec mythology were and still are one of the most important and interesting subjects when talking about the impressive Aztec empire, which is at the origin of the domination of the lands that we know today. as Mexico. There were a huge number of gods with different ratings, so today we are going to explain how many Aztec gods there were and what each one meant. We can say that the Aztecs had a god for almost everything: for the sun, for agriculture, for death, for rain, for fertility, for war, for children, for the elderly, for travelers , among others. Every action they performed in their daily life was tied to the beliefs of one or more gods. They performed rituals on certain days of the month, sacrificed people in their honor, and even died proudly for their mystical deities.
The main Aztec gods
You should know that most of these deities are from the Aztecs, that is to say, they were created by them. The main belief of the Mexica revolved around the sun and their god was Huitzilopochtli. God Huitzilopochtli Known as Hummingbird of the South or Hummingbird Lefty, he was considered the god of the sun and of war, and was the main divine figure of the Aztec people. This god was the guide who led his Mexica people to the Valley of Mexico, where they then created their empire. According to Aztec mythology, he was the son of the goddess of fertility and the son of the ancient sun god. In Tenochtitlan was the wooden statue of Huitzilopochtli and the shrine where he was worshipped.
He was the god of life, fertility, wisdom and light, one of the most important gods in Aztec culture. It was known as the “Feathered Serpent” and the Aztecs associated it with the planet Venus. According to legend, one day Quetzalcoatl left and promised to return to reclaim his land. That is why, when Hernán Cortés set foot on the land of Tenochtitlán, the emperor believed that he was an envoy from Quetzalcóatl.
He was one of the main Aztec gods. He represented the protection of traveling merchants and it was for this reason that many travelers left offerings to honor him and ask for his protection before setting out on a new adventure.
She was an Aztec goddess who bore a resemblance to Quetzalcoatl and was also considered a fertility goddess. She was the mother of all the gods of Aztec mythology, including Huitzilopochtli, the god of the sun and of war. She was also considered the goddess of death and the moon. Its most important representation is now in the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. She is depicted with two serpent heads that simulate her decapitated head, she has claws and is covered with human hands and hearts.
The lord of death and the underworld, the god Mictlantecuhtli. The souls who left this world were guided by him to another existential plane called mictlán according to the Aztecs.
Considered the god of rain, the lord of thunder and an essential part of cultures. Every year, the Aztecs performed rituals and sacrifices to ensure that the rains would come and the harvest would be plentiful.
The god of discord, of heaven and earth. He had the power to turn invisible and wander around wreaking havoc at will.
She blessed the Aztec regions, although she also brought storms. She was known as “the snake-faced goddess” and was also said to rule the waters at night.
According to the Aztecs, Xipe was responsible for watering the cornfields abundantly. He was known as the god of virility and masculinity of the Aztecs, in addition, he also symbolized youth and dawn.
He was the god of leisure, since he was the representative of fun and games. He was also said to be the god of healing, since his powers enabled him to cure children and the elderly of most of their ailments.
It is one of the gods classified in the category of the ancients. It depicted a very colorful figure in the form of a warrior and with many colors like yellow and red. He was the patron of kings and warriors, in addition to representing fire and heat.
Other Aztec gods you should know about are: