The Aztec Civilization Madison Kagan, Sophie Sax, John Oswald, & Arianna Smith

"The place where the eagle screams, where he spreads his wings; the place where he feeds, where the fish jump, where the serpents coil up and hiss! This shall be Mexico Tenochtitlan and many things shall happen!" –Cronica Mexicayotl

Social Aspects

  • Military leaders held great power in society, along with government official and priests (made up noble class
  • Nobles owned estates and ruled over their land like lords
  • Nobles lived a life of luxury and wealth
  • Rulers (teteuhctin)>nobles (pipiltin)>commoners (macehualtin)>enslaved people (tlacohtin)
  • Commoners were merchants, soldiers, artisans, and farmers that owned their own land
  • Merchants formed special type of elite and traveled to other regions acting as spies for the emperor which increased their wealth
  • The last social class were the enslaved people; captives who did various forms of labor on the land owned by people in upper classes
  • Little room for social movement but some in the lower classes
  • Diseases, especially smallpox, broke out when the Spanish arrived
  • Rose to power through military conquest

Political Aspects

  • The Aztec emperor, Moctezuma, welcomed Spaniards into their capital
  • Rulers called Tlatoani
  • Military made up of adult males; wore padded cotton armor and carried a wooden or reed shield covered in hide
  • Aztecs could not beat the Spanish in battle because they had weapons such as guns that the Aztecs did not
  • Joined two other city states to form a Triple Alliance and conquered neighboring areas
  • Forced citizens of this empire to pay tribute, and if they did not, the Aztecs responded brutally
A few artifacts found from the Aztecs.


  • Fought with people from Spain who wanted the New World for its resources
  • Highly successful in agriculture
  • Covered majority of northern Mesoamerica
  • They built canoes to hunt and fish
  • They created medicine from the many plants they found in the area
  • Floating gardens were created for more places to grow food
  • Dikes were built to hold back water in the swampy areas, to free up land for agriculture and building
  • Thanks to the skills of their engineers the Aztecs were able to build their beautiful capital city Tenochtitlan on a swamp

Cultural Aspects

  • Art and architecture
  • Elite warriors wore feathered and animal skin costumes and headdresses to show their rank
  • Aztec pantheon was composed of older Mesoamerican gods and Mexica deities
  • Principal gods were Huitzilopochtli (war and sun god) and Tlaloc (the rain god)
  • Both of these gods had temples on top of the Templo Mayor Pyramid
  • Religious ceremonies centered around elaborate public ceremonies to communicate with the gods
  • 260 day calendar divided into 20 thirteen day weeks
  • Gods were honored with festivals, banquets, music, dancing, decoration of statues, burning of incense, burial of precious goods, blood-letting (withdrawal of blood from a patient to cure or prevent illness or disease), and animal sacrifices

Economic Aspects

  • Successful in trade
  • Most valuable trade item was obsidian
  • Tenochtitlan’s economy was based on agriculture
  • Trade was very important to the economy
  • Aztec farmers grew beans, squash, avocados, tobacco, hemp, and peppers
  • Their most important crop was corn
  • Farmers produced enough food to not only supply their own needs, but also those of the entire city
  • The Aztecs also traded raw materials, finished products, jewellery, wood and even medicine
A pyramid temple where people were sacrificed for the Aztec religion.

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