Did The Expansion Of The Aztec Empire Lead To Their Downfall?


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The Aztec Indians originated from a place called Aztlan, somewhere in
north or northwest Mexico. At that time the Aztecs were a small, nomadic tribe
living in the border territory on the margins of civilized Mesoamerica. (see map
I) In the 13th century they settled in the valley of central Mexico. The Aztecs
finally found refuge on a small island in Lake Texcoco, where about 1345, they
founded the town of Tenochtitlan. The island was found through a prophecy which
said they would settle where they found an eagle perched on a cactus. (see
diagram I)
During the next century the Aztecs grew to be greatest power in Mexico.
As they grew in political status they became sophisticated and ...

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and bronze were used for tools and
Mexican jewelers made ornaments from gold, silver, and their alloys. Wheat,
barley, cattle, horses, sheep, and goats were unknown until introduced from
Europe and the Mexicans were efficient farmers who made full use of irrigation,
terracing, and fertilization of the fields.
Aztec Mexico was rich and civilized. The state controlled every aspect
of life. Schooling and training in the martial arts were compulsory for all
boys, while the girls were trained in gathering, cooking, and the sewing arts.
A centralized bureaucracy looked after the collection and storage of taxes,
matters of legislation and punishment. (Peterson, Frederick)
Life for the Aztec's was good. Because of the complexity of their
government all were happy. Then in 1519 Spanish conquistador, Hernan Cortes, met
the Aztec leader Montezuma in Tenochtitlan. Montezuma believed that the
Spaniards had come in peace, but he is proven wrong in 1521 when the Spanish,
lead by Cortes, ...

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They remained autonomous until
joining the Aztecs to better their chances when fending off the Spaniards.
After these two great conquests the Aztecs power grew rapidly and they
continued to conquer all the surrounding tribes including the Otomis, Totonacs,
Tarascans and Tlaxcalans. The defeated tribes retained their own government
though they often had to accept Aztec garrisons and give lands to Aztec nobles.
All the conquered tribes were required to provide sacrificial victims for the
glory of Huizilopochtil, (see diagram II) and to pay tribute in curious birds
and animals, turquoises, gold and other precious metals, all of which were used
for pleasure among the Aztec nobles and ...

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Added: 4/15/2005 10:56:03 PM
Category: World History
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1326
Pages: 5

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