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(Text by Duane R. Hurst © 2013)

Click on a link to view its information and pictures.
Significant Event:
    Aztec Calendar
    Aztec Temple (War captives sacrificed)
    Tenochtitlan City Plan

Main Cities: Tenochtitlan; Xochimilco
Time: 1200-1525 AD
Language: Nahuatl
Personage: Moctezuma I; Moctezuma II
Religion: Aztec Gods
Related Country: Mexico

Map of Aztec Empire
Click Map to Enlarge
Brief History:
      I have included only a few items concerning the history of this empire. A good source for more details can be found on Wikipedia or in history books.

      Mexica migrants arrived in 1250 AD and persuaded the king of Culhuacán to cede Chapultepec. In 1428 AD, the Nahua city-states of Tenochtitlan, Texcoco and Tlacopan (Tepaneca people) formed an alliance to control the Lake Texcoco region. Acolhua people (a culture similar to the Aztecs) arrived at Texcoco circa 1200 AD. The Mexica of Tenochtitlan gained supremacy and expanded their territory. Europeans called these people the Aztecs.

      The Triple Alliance fought a successful war against Tepaneca forces in 1426 AD. Chief architect of the alliance, Tlacaelel, ordered religious records burned to consolidate his rule. Moctezuma I succeeded to the throne and continued efforts to rewrite history as more favorable to the Mexica. He also instituted a new system to extract tribute from subject people and launched campaigns to expand territory. His reforms created ritual "Flower Wars", which were fought to obtain a steady supply of victims for sacrifice atop their pyramid temples.

      In 1455 AD, the Tarascan Empire under Tzitzipandaquare seized the Toluca valley. A series of wars with Aztec forces ensued, including one in which 90% of the Mexica soldiers under Axayacatl died or were captured in a border battle. Tarascans never again faced the cowed Aztecs. A new Aztec king, Ahuitzotl, subdued the Guerrero coast and Valley of Oaxaca (site of Monte Alban and Mitla).

      In 1502 AD, Moctezuma II succeeded his brother, Ahuitzotl, to the throne. He consolidated power over conquered regions. In 1519 AD, a Spanish expedition under Hernán Cortés originally landed at Cozumel, then proceeded to Campeche. The local king gave a slave woman named Malintzin to interpret between Cortés and the Aztecs. Cortés convinced leaders of the Totonacs at Cempoala, and eventually the Tlaxcala, to ally with him. While at Cholula, Cortés ordered a massacre of suspected enemies. The Spanish conquistadors entered Tenochtitlan as guests, but fought Aztec soldiers while Cortés made a brief return east--to burn his ships and prevent a withdrawal of his troops. He and a Spanish contingent battled their way into and out of the capital during the battle of La Noche Triste. After their expulsion, 50% of the city population died from smallpox and Cortés returned with an army of 100,000 to complete the conquest.

© Page Publisher: Duane R. Hurst