In Layman's Terms
In Layman's Terms
The Aztecs or Mexica, originally known for their warrior and hunting skills, rose to power in Central Mexico around 1100 CE. In 1325, they established their capital, Tenochtitlan, on an island in the middle of what was known as Lake Texcoco. The Aztecs built bridges to connect the city to the mainland, resulting in the growth of what was one of the largest cities in the world. The Aztecs expanded their territory through war and used prisoners as human sacrifices to appeal to the many gods they worshiped. By 1500, the Aztecs had become a strong dominant empire.
The Aztec empire was organized, having a system of government, religion, and society. The empire was ruled by a monarchy, with the emperor at the top, followed by nobles and priests. The Aztecs had a well-developed military used in wars to take over more land and protect the land they already controlled. The Aztecs had a polytheistic religion, meaning they worshiped more than one god and goddess. The god and goddess ruled different things, such as the god of agriculture, the god of war, or the goddess of fertility. They believed the gods required regular offerings of human blood to keep the universe balanced. As a result, human sacrifice was an important part of Aztec religious practices.
The Aztecs were skilled in agriculture and engineering. They built a sophisticated system of canals and dams that brought water to their crops. They also developed terrace agriculture, which allowed them to prepare crops on steep hillsides. They were skilled at weaving, pottery, and metalwork, and they traded with other cultures, exchanging goods such as textiles, precious stones, and food.
In 1519, the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés arrived in the Aztec empire, seeking gold and other riches. With the help of indigenous allies, Cortés defeated the Aztecs and established Spanish control over the region. The Aztecs were forced to abandon many cultural practices and adopt Spanish ways of life, including the Spanish language and Christianity.
Despite the Spanish takeover, part of Aztec culture is still present today. The Aztecs left many buildings and structures behind, including the Templo Mayor, a massive human sacrifice temple in the center of Tenochtitlan. The Aztec calendar, which was based on a solar year of 365 days and a sacred year of 260 days, is still used by some indigenous communities in Mexico. The Aztecs also left a rich legacy of mythology, folklore, and traditional arts, a vital part of Mexican culture.