The Aztecs

Report
THE AZTECS
THE AZTECS

Where did
Aztecs come
from?
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Nomadic tribe (Mashika) from N/NW
Mexico

Aztlan territory


Source of Aztec name
Wandered over 200 years before
settling in the Valley of Mexico
THE AZTECS
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Geography
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Extremely varied

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Sea level to 7,500 feet above sea level
Surrounded by tropical rain forests
High altitude = mild climate
THE AZTECS

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Mercenary
Nahauatl


Soldier/warrior for hire
Aztec language

Nahauatl words you know:
Acapulco
 Mexico
 Avocado
 Chocolate
 tomato

THE AZTECS
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Developed glyphs


Represented both ideas and sounds
Limited in what could be expressed
THE AZTECS
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Tenochtitlan

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
Aztec city located on an island in Lake
Texcoco
Lake filled in over time
Now Mexico City

Capital of Mexico
THE AZTECS
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Aztec Empire

1400’s


Controlled region
Established city-states


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Own government
Distinct culture
Three main ones:
Tenochtitlan
 Texcoco
 Tiacopan


489 cities paid tribute and taxes
THE AZTECS
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No attempt to unify
No attempt to change customs of
conquered people
Military units to maintain control

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Great noble commanded each army
Served as governor of area
THE AZTECS
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Government
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Council of Nobles



Chose emperor from members of royal
family
Most offices were hereditary
Service to emperor was also way to
gain high office
THE AZTECS

Montezuma I




Greatest emperor
Ruled 1440-1468/9
Expanded empire
Spelled different ways



Moctezuma
Motecuhzoma
Montezuma II



Grandson
Became emperor in 1502
Ruled at empires peak
THE AZTECS
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Aztec Society
Calpulli

Large family group



Everyone belonged to one
Means “big house”
Each calpulli owned plot of land


Meet needs of members
Government got part of harvest as tribute
THE AZTECS

Social
Hierarchy

4 mail social classes

Upper-class Nobles


Owned land PLUS land of their calpulli
Commoners
Farmed the calpulli
 Made crafts
 Gave tribute in return for protection


Serfs/Peasants


Farmed land of nobles
slaves
Captives in war
 Criminals
 Citizens unable to pay debts
 Were servants or worked fields with serfs

THE AZTECS
1%
1%
98%
18%
warriors
THE AZTECS
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Achievements
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Complex hierarchy
Huge trade network
Tribute system
Sophisticated agricultural economy
Intellectual
Religious
Chinampa
THE AZTECS
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Spanish
Invasion



Hernando Cortes and army invaded
Searching for gold
Many of small city-states helped


Resented paying tributes
1521

Aztecs destroyed

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