Originally a wandering group of hunter-gatherers, the Aztecs believed that one day they would receive a sign from the gods. They would see an eagle perched on a great cactus with "his wings stretched out toward the rays of the sun." In its beak, the eagle would hold a long snake. When they saw this eagle, the Aztecs would know they had found the place where they would settle and build a great city.
What part of Mexico did the Aztecs settle?
Central Mexico - Valley of Mexico
What occurred in 1325 CE?
In 1325, the Aztecs took refuge on an island in Lake Texcoco. There, Aztec priests saw the eagle on the cactus, just as the gods had promised. The Aztecs set about building a city on the site, which they called Tenochtitlán.
Identify the following image
The symbol on the Mexican flag—an eagle on a cactus grasping a snake— celebrates the the legendary founding of the Aztec empire.
When the Aztecs arrived in central Mexico, what other groups had lived in this area?
a. Teotihuacáns b. Toltecs
Who lived in the Valley of Mexico between 100-650 CE?
Who lived in the Valley of Mexico during the 700s CE?
What was the capital city of the Teotihuacan?
What was the capital city of the Toltecs?
What was the original name of the Aztec people?
Where does the term Aztec come from and what does it mean?
The name Aztec comes from Aztlán (az-TLAN), the Mexicans' legendary homeland.
What type of employment did the Aztecs have when they arrived in central Mexico?
Why were the Aztecs socially unacceptable in Central Mexico?
The people living in the city-states thought the Aztecs were crude barbarians.
After they settled in the valley, the legacy of the Teotihuacáns and the Toltecs began to influence the Aztecs. How did this occur?
a. They made pilgrimages to the ancient ruins of Teotihuacán. b. They adopted Quetzalcoatl, the Teotihuacáns' feathered serpent god, as one of their own gods.
How were the Aztecs able to claim ancestry with the Toltecs?
Aztec rulers married into the surviving Toltec royal line.
What occurred in 1319 CE and what was the result?
In 1319, stronger groups forced the Aztecs to move away from Chapultepec (chuh-PUHL-teh- pek), a rocky hill where they had made their home. The Aztecs fled to the south, where they became mercenaries for the city-state of Culhuacán. But trouble came again when the Aztecs sacrificed the daughter of the Culhua chief. This led to a war with the Culhuas, who drove the Aztecs onto an island in the shallow waters of Lake Texcoco.
What was the name of the lake the Aztec's settled around?
What was the name of the Aztec capital city?
What were the 2 reasons why the Aztec capital city was a good site?
a. Fish and water birds for food b. Island was easy to defend
With what group of people did the Aztec regain their land, trading connections, and wealth?
Why is the Aztec leader Itzcoatl a significant person in Aztec history?
Under the Aztec leader Itzcoatl (itz-koh-AHT-l), Tenochtitlán joined with two other city-states in what was called the Triple Alliance. In 1428, the alliance fought and defeated the Tepanecs. Together, the allies began a series of conquests that laid the foundation for the Aztec Empire.
How did Itzcoatl reshape Aztec history?
He burned records that referred to his people's humble origins. Instead, he connected the Aztecs to the distinguished Toltecs.
In 1519, what was the population of Tenochtitlan?
Between 200,000 - 300,000
How did the Aztecs turn an island into such a great city? What sets were taken to expand the island?
a. They reclaimed land from the lake by sinking timbers into the water to serve as walls. b. They filled in the area between the timbers with mud, boulders, and reeds.
The island city of Tenochtitlan was how many square miles?
What does the term Chinampas mean?
In the image above, what gods do the 2 shrines at honor?
a. Chief god - Huitzilopochtli b. Rain god - Tlaloc
What is a tzompantli?
An altar, called the tzompantli, ("skull rack") displayed the skulls of thousands of sacrificial victims.
Name 4 functions the royal palace served in Tenochtitlan?
a. Home for the ruler b. Government offices c. Shrines d. Courts e. Storerooms f. Gardens g. Courtyards
Why is the northern section of the Tenochtitlan, in Tlatelolco important?
Each day, as many as sixty thousand people came from all corners of the Aztec Empire to sell their wares. Goods ranged from luxury items, such as jade and feathers, to necessities, such as food and rope sandals.
Name 4 kinds of items that were sold in the city's main marketplace.
a.Gold b.Chocolate c.Silver d.Vanilla
Name 5 ways that Tenochtitlan was better than their European counterparts.
a. Had wide avenues for quick travel b. Cleaned daily c. Lit at night for safety d. Had 3 causeways connecting island to mainland e. Had Aqueducts
How large was the Aztec empire in the early 1500s?
a. By the early 1500s, the Aztec Empire stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean
At the empire's height, how many people were ruled by the Aztecs?
What was the Aztec Empire based on?
What form did tribute take in the Aztec empire? Provide 3 examples.
a. Tribute took the form of whatever valuable items a city could provide. b. Cities might pay in food, cacao, gems, cotton, cloth, animals, animal skins, shells, building materials, or even soldiers.
Why was warfare a significant element in Aztec culture?
Successful battles allowed the Aztecs to increase their sources of tribute. They also gained additional territory, laborers, and sacrificial victims.
What was the ritual pattern that an Aztec declaration of war took?
a. First, the Aztecs asked a city to join the empire as an ally. The city had 60 days to agree. b. If the city's ruler refused, the Aztecs declared war.
When the Aztecs were victorious in battle, what did they ask of the defeated city?
The people had to pay tribute, honor the god Huitzilopochtli, and promise obedience to the Aztec ruler
How did the Europeans use the conquered areas of the empire against the Aztec people?
The Europeans used the distrustful feelings of the conquered peoples of the Aztec Empire to get them to rebel and join the fight against the Aztecs.