Aztecs were a Mexican Indian tribe who arrived in the valley of Mexico in about 1168 A.D. They settle in the city of Tenochitlan (Mexico City today) and soon started expreading around (Gibson, 300). Aztecs had other names then just Aztecs. They were also called "Aztlan," meaning "White Land," Tanochcas meaning "Great City," and "Mexicas" meaning the nation's name (Mexico), (Vaillant, 234). They spoke Nahuatl, the primary language spoken by most of the Indian tribes around their area.
They started gaining power as soon as the first Aztec rulers arrived late in the thirteen-century (Vaillant, 208). "Acamapichtl" one of the first emperors arrived in (ca. 1370-96), then came "Huitzilihuitl" in (ca. 1396-1417), and Chimalpopoca arrived in (ca.1417-27) (Vaillant, 210). These firs three rulers conquered many tribes within the vallwy of Mexico. Including Mixquic, Xochimilco, Acolman, Otumba, Texacoco, and many other more of the biggest groups (Gibson, 290). In 1428 the Aztecs formed triple alliance with "Texcoco," and "Tlacopan" which enable them to become more powerful. They continued expanding throughout the land, and soon they had taken most of central and southern Mexico. Even a part of Maya's territory was taken and many of the terretory of other smaller tribes (Vaillant, 217). In April 1519 a Spanish man named Hernando Cortes and a group of soldiers arrived in the Cost of Yucatan Mexico. There they founded Tabasco and made it their first settlement (Gigson, 230). Then they conquered the City of Veracruz and soon he was ready to begin his expansion throughout the land (Gibson, 235) . Soon he started defeating small Indian tribes. Tribes that were outside from the Aztec's lands, and some of them were Aztecs enemies. Many of the tribes that he was defeating were joining him along his conquest in reach of a revange to retrieve their land and respect back. Cortes soon learned from the tribes he conquered as much as possible about the Aztecs. Therefore he was getting closer and closer to his journey. On November 8,1519 he decided to enter the Aztec's territory. His attempt was successful, although it was dangeruous and also his first attempt. Finally after entering the Aztec's land, he convinced the Aztecs to let him stay there for a short period of time (Gibson, 230). He held regular conventions with shift(Montezuma II) of the Aztecs to explain the reason why he was there. Months later after a formal convention with Cortes, Cortes took Montezuma II hostage. "It was a trick planed by Cortes" (1968). After the Aztecs found about Montezuma, they attacked Cortes and his army and drove them away from Tenochitlan, they didn't wanted any more surprises.
Tenochitlan was a very sad city the night of June 30,1920. Montezuma did not come back. The city was sad. The Aztecs called that night "Noche Triste" meaning "Sad night."
Cortes did not surrender and the following month he prepared his forces for a renewed attack (Gibson, 235). Cortes was successful, however, his conquest would not had occured without the help of the othert Indian tribes. They had a great power due to their knowledge about the Aztecs, and the land. They helped Cortes thinking that after deafiting the Aztecs they would take over Cortes, however, it never happened due the more powerful weapons Cortes' army possessed.
After about a year of fighting, the Aztecs were finally defeated. Cortes conquered the city of Tenochitlan the summer of 1521, which from then and on nothing was the same (1968).
What was the Aztecs Primary Economics? What were their main uses?
The Aztecs were very wealthy according to their economy. They lived from hunting, gathering, trading Goods and many other smaller sorts of economics (Gibson, 321). However, above all these economical methods, agriculture was their main source of economy. Their fields were big enought to cultivate many crops at the same period of time. The principal crops cultivated by the Aztecs included maize, beans, squash, tomatoes, and the spiny-leaved maguey (Gibson, 320). Maize (corn) was the main crop cultivated, falLowed by the Maguey, tomatoes, beans, and others. Many things were made out of the maize. Woman would ground maize with a special tool called "metate." Then, after grounding the maize, it was prepare until it was soft enough to make it round in the shape of the "Tortilla." Then it was cooked in the griddle, called "comal," and eaten very warm, at every meal of the day. Another way that maize was consume was in beverage. Maize soaked and cooked in water was called "Atole." A white color beverage drinked (usually drinked in breakfast and dinner) when it's hot for a better taste (Gibson, 322). Besides Tortillas and Atole,an other delicious food made with maize are the "Tamales." They were a very important food in the Aztecs food. It was cooked and served at every holiday, or special event celebrated by the Aztecs. Even now, they are Mexico's most traditianal food cooked in most of the holidays too. Maize was not a food to be wasted, the plant or maize not for human uses was given to the animals.
After maize, the most important cultivated product was maguey called "Nahautl metl" by the Aztecs (Gibson, 317). A plant whose agricultural purpose was very different from maize. Many products were made out of this plant. From vebarege to shoes, from shoes to clothes, from clothes to fibers, from fibers to cords, and from cords to roofing material (Gibsin, 325). From the leaves is where most of all the products were made. Maguey leaves were used as roofing material, and were a source of fibers used for sewing and making cords to tied the animals, sandals and cloth for their own use. The thorns from the leaves, called "Espinas" were very important for them, used to pierce their bodies. They were very sharp and easy to peirce any hole in any part of their bodies. From the juice of the leaves, Aztecs made "pulque." A common drink used in the ceremonies celebrated by the Aztecs. It contained a very high percent of alcohol, therefore it was very easy to get a person drunk. However, only old men were aloud freely to drink pulque. Drinkers under age represented a big offence to the Aztec culture, drinkers caught drunks were punished very serious, in many occasions their punishment was death (Gibson, 330). Maguey had so many uses that it was an essensial crop for the Aztecs life.
Aztlan is the mythical place of origin of the Aztec peoples. In their language (Nahuatl), the roots of Aztlan are the two words:
aztatl - tlan(tli)
meaning "heron" and "place of," respectively. 'Tlantli' proper means tooth, and as a characteristic of a good tooth is that it is firmly rooted in place, and does not move, the prefix of this word is commonly used in Nahuatl to denote settlements, or place names, e.g. Mazatlan (place of deer), Papalotlan (place of butterflies) or Tepoztlan (place of metal). The Nahuatl language is often said to include three levels of meaning for its words or expressions: literal, syncretic and connotative. The connotative meaning of Aztlan, due to the plumage of herons, is "Place of Whiteness." The mythical descriptions of Aztlan would have it to be an island.
You would replace -tlan with -tecatl to identify a resident or person from the given place. So, for the examples above, we have that people from Mazatlan would be Mazatecatl, someone from Tepoztlan a Tepoztecatl, and someone from Aztlan an Aztecatl.
In the origin myths of the Aztecs, they emerged originally from the bowels of the earth through seven caves (Chicomostoc) and settled in Aztlan, from which they subsequently undertook a migration southward in search of a sign that would indicate that they should settle once more. This myth roughly coincides with the known history of the Aztecs as a barbarous horde that migrated from present-day northwestern Mexico into the central plateu sometime toward the end of the first millenium AD, when high civilizations of great antiquity were already well established in the region. It is known that the Aztecs had a sector ("barrio") in the Toltec city of Tollan, and the cultural influence of the Toltecs on the rough-edged Aztecs was subsequently to be very marked. On the view of some scholars (e.g., Nigel Davies), all of Aztec cultural development was an effort to recreate the grandeur that they knew at Tollan.
The exact physical location of Aztlan is unkown, other than it must have been located near estuaries or on the coast of northwestern Mexico, though some archaeologists have gone so far as to locate the present town of San Felipe Aztlan, Nayarit, as the exact place.
In Chicano folklore, Aztlan is often appropriated as the name for that portion of Mexico that was taken over by the United States after the Mexican-American War of 1846, on the belief that this greater area represents the point of parting of the Aztec migrations. In broad interpretation, there is some truth to this in the sense that all of the groups that would subsequently become the various Nahuatl-speaking peoples of central Mexico passed through this region in a prehistoric epoch, as attested by the existance of linguistically related groups of people distributed throughout the U.S. Pacific Intermontane region, the U.S. southwest and northern Mexico, known as the Uto-Aztecan-Tanoan group, and including such peoples as the Paiute, Shoshoni, Hopi, Pima, Yaqui, Tepehuan, Rara'muri (Tarahumara), Kiowas and Mayos.
The "Aztecs" emerged in the Valley of Mexico, or Anahuac as it was called by its peoples, around the 14th century. Aztec legends tell of seven Nahua tribes, known as the Chichimecas. According to Aztec myth, the journey from Aztlan (ancient capital of modern day Nayarit) to Anahuac was directed by Huitzilopochtli (left-handed hummingbird), who represents the sun god, and his sister Malinal Xochitl (grass flower), manifested as the moon. Near the end of the journey he abandoned his sister, who took refuge in Malinalco (today a famous archeological center). Malinal's son Copil (royal crown), also representing the moon, attempted to incite the people of the Valley to destroy the Aztecs at Chapultepec (hill of the grasshoppers). On the Cerro del Penon (Hill of the Big Rock) war was waged between Huitzilopochtli and Copil. Copil was killed by Huitzilopochtli, who told Tenoch to go and bury his nephew's heart at the site where the high priests had been seeking for nearly a century (Aztec century = 52 years). This spot is said to be located in the "Plaza de Santo Domingo".
[The name Tenoch is part of the name originally given to Mexico City "Tenochitlan". It is derived from the tree which produces the tenochtli (red, hard, prickly pears). Tenochtli is the symbol of human hearts sacrificed to the sun.]
Without documentation, what makes this the exact location where Mexico was founded? The following facts will help show that:
The sun and its nahual 'double' the eagle are one and the same, that is, their names are interchangeable. Likewise, the moon is identified with its nahual the rabbit that lives on it. Unlike the sun, which is all fire, the moon is a place of quiet peace. The home of the rabbit is a symbol of fertility. This is also the reason why the pyramids at Teotihucan are called the 'sun' and 'moon'.
Even though the sun defeated the moon, that does not deprive the moon of its place in Mexcio's beliefs. The moon's role is that of keeping the waters of the cosmos, sending rain, and preserving the moonlight. Here is a metaphor concerning the rabbit:
"The earth, in conjurings, was called 'face-up' rabbit, for thou art resplendent mirror..'; that is, the rabbit is the reflection of the earth on heaven or viceversa".