A Short Insight Into The Life Of Some Of The Major Aztec Cities

A Short Insight Into The Life Of Some Of The Major Aztec Cities.
The Aztecs were ancient cultural groups of people living in what is now central Mexico. These groups were in control of large parts of Mesoamerica between the 14th and the 16th century. One characteristic feature of the Aztecs was that they spoke the Nahuatl language. The word Aztec is from a Nahuatl origin derived from the word ‘aztecah’ meaning ‘people from Aztlan’. Aztlan was a legendary place which was the centre of cultural activity of people who spoke in Nahuatl. The word Aztec is commonly used as a reference to the Mexican people living in Tenochtitlan. Knowledge about the Aztec has been gained through archaeological means from excavations of Mexico City especially from Temple Mayor. Detailed descriptions written by Aztecs and some Spanish clergymen in both Spanish and Nahuatl language have been a great help in getting knowledge about the history and lives of the Aztecs. Spanish conquerors like Hernán Cortés and Bernal Díaz del Castillo also relate stories about the Aztecs that they had witnessed. The Valley of Mexico was the center of the cultural activities of Aztecs and it was there that the Aztecs reached the pinnacle of their civilization. Tenochtitlan, the capital city of the Aztec Triple Alliance was located in the Valley of Mexico. Tenochtitlan was the center of trade, geography, government and agriculture. Apart from Tenochtitlan, the other two major cities were Texcoco and Tlacopan located in the Valley of Mexico.
Tenochtitlan was founded in 1325 by Aztecs who built the first temple there. It was the biggest city of the Aztecs home of about 200,000 of them. Its central area was very well organized whereas the areas away from the centre were not that organized. The citizens of Tenochtitlan wanted it to look brimming with grandeur as it was their capital city and for that they used grids, sculptures and architectural designs borrowed from Tula. The entire city was renovated along with the areas surrounding the city to increase its grandeur. There were many religious and administrative centers in the city apart from the central plaza. Each of the quadrants had their own central plaza. Normal citizens lived on the periphery of the city centers whereas the area surrounded by the nobles and the lords was near the trade centers. Rectangular patches of land called chinampas were used for cultivation and building houses. The city was made up of five quadrants divided by canals. Tenochtitlan was destroyed in 1521.After a period of time it was rebuilt and renamed as Mexico City.
Texcoco was located east of the Lake Texcoco and was proud of its shared name with the lake. It had played great part in history and the people were proud of their ancestry. Five provinces to the east of the river were under the rule of Texcoco by the start of 15th century and the lands it ruled over went as far as their enemies’ borders in the Highlands. It had flourishing markets, grand temples, and the people living there were educated. But upon attack from Tepanecs, Texcocan enemies, people of Tenochtitlan did not help them to defend them.
Tlacopan was joined with the Aztecs and Texcocans in to form the Triple Alliance in 1428. Founded originally by Tepanecs who arrived in the Valley of Mexico early in the13th century, Tlacopan was not a very big city and only received one fifth of the compliments received by the Triple Alliance. Tlacopan was seized over in 1521.
When the Aztecs first arrived in the Valley of Mexico in 1300 A.D., it was nothing but a marshy island near Lake Texcoco. Out of that marshy island, the Aztecs gave rise to a magnificent city, which stood for centuries and whose temples and buildings were a sight to behold.
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