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Invaders led by the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés overthrew the Aztec Empire by force and captured Tenochtitlan in , bringing an.
Table of contents

The high productivity gained by those methods made for a rich and populous state. The Aztec state was a despotism in which the military arm played a dominant role.

Valour in war was, in fact, the surest path to advancement in Aztec society, which was caste- and class-divided but nonetheless vertically fluid. The priestly and bureaucratic classes were involved in the administration of the empire, while at the bottom of society were classes of serfs, indentured servants, and outright slaves. Aztec religion was syncretistic, absorbing elements from many other Mesoamerican cultures. At base, it shared many of the cosmological beliefs of earlier peoples, notably the Maya , such as that the present earth was the last in a series of creations and that it occupied a position between systems of 13 heavens and 9 underworlds.

Closely entwined with Aztec religion was the calendar, on which the elaborate round of rituals and ceremonies that occupied the priests was based. The Aztec calendar was the one common to much of Mesoamerica, and it comprised a solar year of days and a sacred year of days; the two yearly cycles running in parallel produced a larger cycle of 52 years. The Aztec empire was still expanding, and its society still evolving, when its progress was halted in by the appearance of Spanish explorers.

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11d. The Aztec World

When the Spaniards came, Tenochtitlan had approximately , people. Those regions are Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, the Indus Valley, Mesoamerica, and the Andes, where people developed civilizations independently, boasting large cities and strong states. The Aztec was a strong state due to its military power, its religion, and its tribute system.

They developed their own calendar of 18 months of 20 days each, built large cities and huge pyramids and temples, and developed a farming system called chinampas that they used to grow crops on shallow lake beds. They grew maize, beans, tomatoes, pumpkins, chilis, etc. Much has been said about the role of human sacrifice among Aztecs. What is the truth about human sacrifices?

They had different gods, male and female.

The sun god was Tonatiuh. There were many deities, and they were revered in monthly festivities with rich offerings.


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There is this black legend that only the Aztecs used human sacrifices in their religious rituals, when there is evidence that they existed in many other ancient cultures that were mostly agricultural societies. They believed that without human sacrifices, the sun could stop and everything was going to die.

Infobase Publishing - Empire of the Aztecs, Second Edition

So the sun had to be fed so that it could continue with its movement, so that there would be day and night. But not all rituals demanded human sacrifices. In general, those who were sacrificed were slaves or prisoners of war.

During the last 18 years of the Aztec empire, the ruler was Moctezuma II. In those years, the empire continued its expansion through war, but exacting tribute from their subjects created discontent among them.

Government and Empire

There were small rebellions, but the Aztecs, who had the military power, always won. When Cortes heard this, he promised that they would be freed from paying tribute if they become their allies to overthrow Moctezuma.

Definition

With their help, Cortes gained more allies among other disgruntled groups in the region, and he planned the advance towards Tenochtitlan. There is a myth about the question of how Spaniards defeated a whole empire. When Cortes heard this, he promised that they would be freed from paying tribute if they become their allies to overthrow Moctezuma. With their help, Cortes gained more allies among other disgruntled groups in the region, and he planned the advance towards Tenochtitlan.

There is a myth about the question of how Spaniards defeated a whole empire. They were supported by thousands of indigenous people who wanted to get rid of Aztec rule. When the conquest happened, when Tenochtitlan was about to fall, surrounded by land and sea, those groups of local enemies of the Aztecs played a fundamental role in the fall of the Aztec empire. Also, the Aztecs used a tactic that worked against them. Unlike the Spaniards who came to kill, the Aztecs preferred to take prisoners of war for human sacrifices.

Unearthing the secrets of the Aztecs

But his comrades saved him. Moctezuma was taken prisoner and was killed by the Spaniards. According to my mom, we are descendants of Moctezuma. What was the significance of the Templo Mayor for the Aztecs? In , we celebrated the th anniversary of the discovery of the Templo Mayor. In , Manuel Gamio found remains that led him to believe that the site was the Templo Mayor, which until then we had only heard about.

Misunderstood Moments in History - Rise of the Aztec Empire

But the site was in the middle of the city; it was actually underneath Mexico City. Years went by, and in electrical workers who were excavating underground found a big sculpture, which turned out to be a monolith depicting an Aztec goddess, which led to the discovery of the Templo Mayor.

The same year, the Templo Mayor Project was founded, with me as the director, and under my helm and with a multidisciplinary team, we started excavations and were able to find a large part of the remains of the religious heart of the Aztecs. Skip to content The Harvard Gazette Unearthing the secrets of the Aztecs A boozy writer who crossed out the adjective. In interview, archaeologist who uncovered ancient site outlines what has been learned; he'll speak at Harvard April Protein, fat, or carbs?

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