Mexico The Aztecs The Aztecs were the native American people who dominated northern Mxico at the time of the Spanish conquest led by Hernan Cortes in the early 16th century. According to their own legends, they originated from a place called Aztlan, somewhere in north or northwest Mexico. At that time the Aztecs (who referred to themselves as the Mexica or Tenochca) were a small, nomadic, Nahuatl-speaking aggregation of tribal peoples living on the margins of civilized Mesoamerica. In the 12th century they embarked on a period of wandering and in the 13th century settled in the central basin of Mxico. Continually dislodged by the small city-states that fought one another in shifting alliances, the Aztecs finally found refuge on small islands in Lake Texcoco where, in 1325, they founded the town of TENOCHTITLAN (modern-day Mexico City).

The term Aztec, originally associated with the migrant Mexico, is today a collective term, applied to all the peoples linked by trade, custom, religion, and language to these founders. Fearless warriors and pragmatic builders, the Aztecs created an empire during the 15th century that was surpassed in size in the Americas only by that of the Incas in Peru. As early texts and modern archaeology continue to reveal, beyond their conquests and many of their religious practices, there were many positive achievements: the formation of a highly specialized and stratified society and an imperial administration the expansion of a trading network as well as a tribute system the development and maintenance of a sophisticated agricultural economy, carefully adjusted to the land the cultivation of an intellectual and religious outlook that held society to be an integral part of the cosmos. The yearly round of rites and ceremonies in the cities of Tenochtitlan and neighboring Tetzcoco, and their symbolic art and architecture, gave expression to an ancient awareness of the interdependence of nature and humanity. The Aztecs remain the most extensively documented of all Amerindian civilizations at the time of European contact in the 16th century. Spanish friars, soldiers, and historians and scholars of Indian or mixed descent left invaluable records of all aspects of life. These ethnohistoric sources, linked to modern archaeological inquiries and studies of ethnologists, linguists, historians, and art historians, portray the formation and flourishing of a complex imperial state.

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The History of Mexico.

When people think of Mexico they think Spanish, but that is wasnt always the way it was. For thousands of years the Spanish hadnt even heard of the New World. Or what is now known as Mexico. Various Mesoamerican tribes ruled it.

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There is evidence of people living in the area over 15,000 years ago. These people were nomadic and roamed all around South America. Around 2500 BC these people began to grow crops and set up villages, instead of hunt and gather, and move around all the time. This left more time to start a civilization.

One of the first of these civilizations was the Olmec, who lived around 1500 to 600 BC. They lived in what is now the Mexican State of Tabasco and Veracruz. Scholars believe that this tribe started it all, traditions, beliefs, and lifestyles that were used by the tribes that came after them. The made a calendar, early mathematics, and art including sculptures made of jade.

Around 900 to 400 BC the Olmecs were destroyed. The Zabotec people were next to rise up in 500 BC at what is now Oaxaca. They made the first writing system in the Americas. It consisted of characters like hieroglyphics. At about the same time the Mayans started to flourish too.

The Mayans lived from 250 to 900 AD, the built temples, homes, and ball courts in all their cities. The also made a calendar that was the most accurate in the world until about the 16th century. The Mayan cities were strangely deserted and what was left of them moved to the Yucatan Peninsula, this is where the stayed.

In the 10th century a new group called the Toltecs ruled. They were the first people of Mexico to leave a complete history. The ruled much of central Mexico and other tribes and groups paid them tribute. Two centuries later there was a great drought in Northern Mexico; and starving people moving south overwhelmed the Toltecs and overthrew them.

The biggest and greatest tribe to ever rule Mexico was the Mexica, which is how the name Mexico originated, or later called the Aztecs. The Aztecs drew from the Toltecs and other groups for their civilization. When the started they paid tributes to neighboring tribes and were forced to live in swampy, wet lands. There was a small island that was the only piece of dry land available. Legend says that they settled there after seeing an eagle with a serpent in its claws. The symbol which is now on the flag of Mexico.

Tenochtitlan was what they named the island and their new capital. It soon grew, and the Aztecs created a great military force. They Expanded to rule most of Central and Southern Mexico. They went form coast to coast. Tenochtitlan became one of the largest cities in the world, the Aztecs seemed an unbeatable force.

Although in the 1500s the Spanish started their conquest of the New World. The Spanish occupied what is no the Dominican Republic and Cuba. The first governor of Cuba sent three expeditions to Mexico.

The First was led by Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba. He set sail in 1517. They charted the coast along the Yucatan Peninsula, but when they ashore Mayans attacked them and killed over half. The rest reported back to Cuba, sparking new interest in Mexico.

One year later a second expedition set sail under the command of Juan De Grijalva. The Expedition defeated the Mayans, and explored more of the coast. Montezuma II heard of the Spaniards and told his subjects in the region to give them a feast and ask them to leave. He feared this was the return of an angry Quetzalcoatl, a white god who left Mexico but said he would return.

When the expedition returned and reported of the Aztec empire, the governor sent a third expedition in 1519. This time led by Hernan Cortes. Cortes prepared and was about to set sail when some of his enemies complained. The governor called off the expedition but Cortes ignored the orders and left anyway. When he landed he set up his own government that reported only to the Spanish Monarchy. He destroyed all his boats so his men couldnt desert him and he set


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