History of the Aztec Civilization, a Mesoamerican Empire

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Kelly Macquire
published on 15 August 2021

The Aztec civilisation spanned from around 1300 CE until 1521, and at its greatest extent, the empire covered most of Northern Mesoamerica. Although we refer to these peoples as ‘Aztecs,’ that is not what they called themselves. They were known as Mexica, which is where the name Mexico comes from. The Aztec Civilization would become one of the largest empires in Mesoamerica.

Tenochtitlan (which today is beneath Mexico City), came to house over 200,000 inhabitants which made it the largest city in the Pre-Columbian Americas. It was both the religious and political capital, as well as a centre for trade in which they exported goods like gold, turquoise, cotton, pottery, tools, weapons, foodstuffs, cacao beans, and slaves. The city boasted magnificent architecture and monumental buildings, with the Templo Mayor or Great Temple pyramid, dominating the central sacred precinct. It was an island city that was uniformly designed with canals and a grid formation which was divided into four quadrants.

The religion and mythology of the Aztecs was closely intertwined as it was with most ancient cultures. Their mythology explains that the Mexica people migrated from their home region of Aztlan because of the vision sent to them by one of their most important deities, Huitzilopochtli, the god of the sun and war.

You can find all attribution and credits for images, animations, graphics and music here - https://worldhistory.typehut.com/history-of-the-aztec-civilization-a-mesoamerican-empire-images-and-attributions-5869

Double Headed Serpent Aztec BM.jpg
Neil Henderson from Grangemouth, Scotland
CC BY SA 2.0

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About the Author

Kelly Macquire
Kelly is a graduate from Monash University who has completed her BA (Honours) in Ancient History and Archaeology, focussing on iconography and status in Pylos burials. She has a passion for mythology and the Aegean Bronze Age.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Macquire, K. (2021, August 15). History of the Aztec Civilization, a Mesoamerican Empire. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.worldhistory.org/video/2615/history-of-the-aztec-civilization-a-mesoamerican-e/

Chicago Style

Macquire, Kelly. "History of the Aztec Civilization, a Mesoamerican Empire." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified August 15, 2021. https://www.worldhistory.org/video/2615/history-of-the-aztec-civilization-a-mesoamerican-e/.

MLA Style

Macquire, Kelly. "History of the Aztec Civilization, a Mesoamerican Empire." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 15 Aug 2021. Web. 14 Jul 2024.