The Aztecs – Interesting facts
October 10, 2010 | In: History facts
The Aztecs lived in Mexico. Mexico is a place covered with rough crags. The Aztecs were Indians that traveled in groups in the early 1200′s. They wandered for many years before settling in the Valley of Mexico in the 1200′s.
The Aztecs did not eat that much, because they had no large domestic animals such as cattle. Meat was a luxury. The peasants grew most of their food. They traded for other things in market places. Men and boys hunted with blow guns, spears, clubs, and rocks.
The Aztecs believed that one of their gods had white skin and a beard. This god sailed away on a raft made of snakes, but promised to return. In 1519 Montezuma, the king of the Aztecs, was told that white-skinned, bearded men were coming. Montezuma believed the Aztec god had returned. At first the strangers were welcomed. Soon, however, Montezuma learned that their leader, Hernando Cortez, was not a god. He and his men had come to conquer the New World for the king of Spain.
The Aztecs made many sacrifices to their gods. When victims reached the altar they were caught by the priests and stretched across a sacrificial stone. A priest with an obsidian knife cut open each chest and tore out the victims heart. The heart was placed in a bowl or the chacmool–a stone statue.
The Aztec’s society was made up of the emperor, the chief advisor, nobles,and slaves. The leader of the Aztecs was the emperor. The emperors chief adviser was a man who had the strange title of Cihuacoatl or Snake Woman. Below the rulers were the great nobles, the Tlatani, who governed the provinces. The lowest group in Aztec society were the slaves. Some were prisoners taken in battle. Others were Aztecs who had fallen on hard times.
The Aztecs built their city on an island in the middle of a swampy lake called Texcoco or in English, Lake of the Moon. They called their city Tenoctitlan which means Place of the Prickly Pear Cactus.
To build more land they built large rafts made from straw on which they placed river mud. They planted trees and vegetables and their long roots anchored the rafts to the bottom of the lake. By placing the rafts apart they created a system of canals throughout the city. Most of the city was built using slave labor by forming poor tribes who could pay taxes to work.
Around the center of the city there were also four districts, each with its own government. Each district had its own houses, shops, parks, schools, and temples for lesser gods. The city was rich with gold, silver, and rare jewels.
The Aztecs were an interesting tribe to learn about, because they had unusual culture habits.