Jan 1, 1200
1200The Aztecs arrive in the Valley of Mexico. Previously called the Mexicas, they had come from a nomadic life in the deserts of Northern Mexico. They began to settle into local ways, finding work as soldiers for local rulers.
Jan 1, 1325
1325The Aztecs had come to live in a city, because their sun god, Huitzilopochtli, told them to move to a certain city. They founded their city on a small island in Lake Texcoco, in the middle of the valley. They named the city Tenochtitlan.
Jan 1, 1428
1428The Aztecs joined with Texcoco and Tlacopan, two nearby city-states, to form a triple alliance. Because of their stronger force, they became more powerful. They became the leading power in the Valley of Mexico, gaining control over more neighboring regions.
Jan 1, 1500
Early 1500sThe Aztecs now control an enormous empire, stetching from central Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific coasts, and south, into Oaxaca. It consists of 38 provinces and 5 to 15 million people. They based their power on military conquest and the tribute gained from captured people, including gold, corn, cacao beans, cotton, jade, and many other items.
Jan 1, 1501
Early 1500sMilitary leaders hold lots of power over society, just like government officals and priests, making up the noble class. Many owned large estates and lived life as a lord, with wealth and luxury. Below them were the commoners, with merchants, artisians, soldiers, and farmers. Lastly came the slaves. The emperor, however, was at the very top, and he was treated like a god.
Jan 1, 1502
Early 1500sThe Aztecs had an enormous trade system, with a very large market of Tlateloco. As Hernando Cortez said, the market was larger than any markets in Spain. Most of the produce sold there was grown on chinampas, which are basically floating gardens on the lake around the city.
Jan 1, 1503
Early 1500sBy the early 1500s, Tenochtitlan was a large, growing urban city with more than 200,000 people, larger than London, Paris, or any other capital in Europe. The center of the city was still the island, but now, Aztec engineers had built three cause ways to connect to the main land, which many cities of the Aztec Empire just on the shores. The emperor's palace was on the island, with many people living on the island and others (mostly those who had fallen under the Aztecs) lived on the mainland.
Jan 1, 1504
Early 1500sThe Aztec city was very organized with many places. Streets and avenues connected palaces, temples, markets, and residential districts. With canals throughout the city, canoes could bring people and goods to the city's center. Also, fresh water was funneled into the city from the mainland through aqueducts. The Great Temple, a giant pyramid with twin towers on top, is at the center of the city, and is the Aztecs' religious center.
Jan 1, 1505
Early 1500sIn the Aztec society, religion played a large role. The Aztecs adopted many of their religious beliefs from other Mesoamerican peoples, like the Toltec. Many public ceremonies they practiced were devised to win their gods' favor and communicate with them. These ceremonies often had ritial dramas, songs, dances perfomed by masked perfomers, and human sacrifices, with each ceremony different, based on the god that celebration was for.
Jan 1, 1506
Early 1500sThe most important sacrifices were for the sun god, named Huitzilopochtli. The Aztecs believed that the sun god made the sun come up and down every day and that it would die and the people would all perish if the sun god did not have enough human blood. This was the reason that the priests held many human sacrifices, which were usually of victims of war. They would cut out their still beating heart with an obsidion knife. Also, this is why they tried to get live prisioners of war.