The Aztec Empire

  • 1100

    Mexico Valley settling

    The Valley of Mexico is settled by wandering tribes like Chichimecs, Tepanecs, Mexica and Acolhua, from the period of 1100 to 1200
  • 1110

    The Aztecs reach Mexico

    The First Nahuatl speaking people began to settle in Mexico, believed to have been a northern tribe of hunter-gatherers whose name came from their homeland Aztlan, or ‘White Land’ in Nahuatl. Over the next 225 years, the Aztecs will move many times before finally settling in Tenochtitlan.
  • 1110

    Roaming

    The Mexica tribes wander the Mexico Valley looking for a place to settle from 1110 thru 1248.
  • 1248

    Settling

    The Mexica settle temporarily in Chapultepec near Lake Texcoco, but the Tepanecs very quickly kick them out
  • 1299

    Re-Settling

    The Mexicas settle in Tizapan, by the consent of Cocoxtli, ruler of the Culhuacan tribe.
  • 1325

    Founding Tenochtitlan

    When the Aztecs saw an Eagle with a snake atop a cactus, a symbol of the Aztec god Quetzecoatl, in a region south of Lake Texcoco, they took it as a sign to settle there. They drained the marshy land, and built artificial islands to hold Chinampas; Aztec floating gardens, as well as establishing city foundations, and Tenochtitlan was born.
  • 1350

    Waterways

    The Aztecs built a system of causeways and canals around Tenochtitlan
  • 1370

    Death of a Leader

    Tenoch, the religious ruler of the Mexica passes away
  • 1376

    The First Aztec King

    Acamapichitli comes into power as the first ruler in Tenochtitlan. He came to be called the Tlatoani, which means 'speaker', and became the name of all Aztec rulers to come.
  • 1390

    The Great Temple

    The original construction of the Templo Mayor begins in Tenochtitlan.
  • 1395

    The Second King

    Huitzilihuitzli becomes the second king of the Aztecs, ruling through 1417. The same year, an alliance was forged with the Tepaneca.
  • 1417

    The Third King

    Chimalpapoca becomes king after Huitzilihuitzli, reigning until 1427, a short reign as he was assassinated by the Tepaneca.
  • 1427

    The Fourth King

    Itzcoatl becomes the fourth king of Tenochtitlan, founding the official Aztec empire and ruling through 1440.
  • 1427

    The Sun Stone

    The Aztec Sun Stone is carved, depicting the Aztec myth of the five suns, and gets set up in Tenochtitlan.
  • 1427

    War Breaks Out

    Lasting through 1430, a war with Tepaneca begins. Previously, the Tepaneca had been the ruling power of the region, taking tribute from the Mexica and ruling from Azcapotzalco, their capital city.
  • 1428

    An Alliance

    Under Itzcoatl, the Aztecs form a three-way alliance with the Texcocans and the Tacubans to defeat the Tapunec, conquering their capital city of Azcapotzalco.
  • 1431

    Treaty

    The Triple Alliance between the Mexica, the Acolhua of Texcoco, and the Tepaneca of Tlacopan was established. These three cities became the foundation of the Aztec empire.
  • 1440

    The Fifth King

    Montezuma (Moctezuma) I takes the throne, a great warrior who vastly expanded the Aztec empire. He was seen as the father of the empire, which would see it's golden days under him, he ruled until 1469.
  • 1452

    Tragedy Strikes

    A flood devastates Tenochtitlan, destroying food and causing famine and starvation until 1454.
  • 1469

    The Sixth King

    Azayactl becomes the sixth king of The Aztec Empire, ruling until 1481.
  • 1473

    The Coyolxauhqui Stone

    Around 1473, The Coyolxauhqui Stone was carved, depicting the Aztec goddess Coyolxauhqui, getting dismembered by Huitzilopochtli.
  • 1481

    The Seventh King

    Tizoc becomes king of Tenochtitlan, ruling through 1486.
  • 1486

    The Eighth King

    The rule of Ahuitzotl lasts from 1486 until 1502.
  • 1487

    The Dedication

    The sixth version of the Templo Mayor at Tenochtitlan is dedicated to the gods with thousands of human sacrifices.
  • 1492

    Columbus

    Christopher Columbus lands at Santa Domingo.
  • 1502

    The Ninth King

    The Ninth King
    Montezuma (Moctezuma) II becomes the most famous king of the Aztec Empire, ruling until 1520.
  • 1510

    Floods

    Severe floods ravage Tenochtitlan.
  • 1517

    The Omen

    A comet is seen in the sky, and is taken as an omen of impending doom for the Aztecs.
  • 1517

    Foreigners

    Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba lands in Yucatan from Cuba with around 100 men, his report back prompts Diego Velasquez to send a larger force under Hernando de Soto.
  • Mar 4, 1519

    Hernan Cortes

    Hernan Cortes lands on the Yucatan Peninsula in the town of Tabasco, where he learns about the great Aztec civilization ruled by Montezuma (Moctezuma) II.
  • Nov 8, 1519

    Tenochtitlan

    Cortes and his men reach Tenochtitlan. Montezuma (Moctezuma) II greeted them in Aztec custom, particularly due to Cortes' physical resemblance to Quetzecoatl. Although the Spanish were fewer, they overpowered the Aztecs with superior weapons, killed many, and took the King prisoner, who would later die in uncertain circumstances during captivity.
  • 1520

    Disease

    An onslaught of European smallpox reduced the population of Tenochtitlan by almost 40% in one year.
  • 1520

    War

    Cortes allies with the Aztec enemies, the Tlaxcala, and they begin to attack.
  • 1520

    The Tenth King

    Cuitlahuac becomes the tenth king of Tenochtitlan.
  • 1520

    The Last King

    Cuitlahuac dies of smallpox, and Cuauhetemoc becomes the eleventh and final king of the Aztec empire.
  • Jul 1, 1520

    The Sad Night

    Spanish forces are driven back at the cost of many Spanish and Tlaxcala lives.
  • Aug 13, 1521

    The End of an Empire

    Tenochtitlan falls, as Cuauhetemoc surrenders to the Spaniards. Hernan Cortes and his forces destroyed the city, leading to the downfall of Mesoamerica's last great native civilization.
  • 1522

    The Birth of a New Empire

    Tenochtitlan was rebuilt by the Spanish as Mexico City, capital of New Spain
  • 1525

    The Death of a King

    Cuauhetemoc is hung by the Spaniards.