Ancient Americas Aztecs. Rise of the Aztecs and Tenochtitlan - Aztecs were nomads wandering in Mesoamerica. Their war god told them to build their city at the place where they found an eagle eating a snake and sitting on a cactus.
Rise of the Aztecs and Tenochtitlan
-Aztecs were nomads wandering in Mesoamerica. Their war god told them to build their city at the place where they found an eagle eating a snake and sitting on a cactus.
-They found the eagle on an island in Lake Texcoco, so they built Tenochtitlan there.
-Tenochtitlan was an Aztec city-state that was home to 300,000 people and went on to become the capital of the Mexica Empire
-In the 1420s the Aztecs in Tenochtitlan created an alliance (friendship) with two other city-states: Texcoco and Tlacopan. This alliance was called the Triple Alliance and started the Mexica Empire.
Mexica Empire = Aztec Empire
-Created by the Triple Alliance; five million people were a part of this empire
-Aztec kings conquered small tribes and added them to the empire. These small tribes were made to pay tribute to the king
-If a tribe did not pay its tribute Aztec warriors would enslave the people of that tribe
Challenges in Tenochtitlan
-Tenochtitlan was built on an island = not a lot of room for farming.
-Aztecs created chinampas (floating gardens) to grow their crops on!
-A chinampa was made by building a raft and connecting that raft to reeds in the water. Then the Aztecs would pile soil on the raft and plant the seeds.
-This was VERY effective and created a lot of room to farm, they would take small boats out to the chinampas to collect their crops.
- People COULD change their social class!
- Five different social classes
1. (Top) King: royal family who lived in a palace and controlled the city-state
2. Priests: performed religious ceremonies and communicated with the gods
3. Merchants: people who were in charge of trade in their city-state
Artisans: made goods and other items to be traded
Warriors: men who fought for the empire and went to collect slaves and tributes
4. Farmers: very poor, but they could become warriors and improve their life!
5. (Lowest) Slaves: two ways to become a slave
a. sold to repay family debt – the person would work until the debt was paid
b. punishment for a crime
**Slaves could buy their own freedom and their children were born free! (the child of a slave would be born into the farmer social class)**
-Public schooling for everyone, including slaves. This is how people could change their social class. A slave could learn to farm, or to become a warrior. A farmer could learn to read and improve his own life.
-Aztecs were polytheistic and their religion was based on the struggle of good vs. evil
Fall of the Aztecs
-ChristopherColumbus arrived in the Caribbean in 1492 and “discovered” a new world, this caused many Europeans to begin coming to the Americas.
-HernanCortes, a Spanish conquistador, arrives in Mexico in 1519 to conquer the natives
-Conquistador: a conqueror (person who takes over a place or people)
-Many other native tribes were angry with the Aztecs, so they helped Cortes fight and conquer the Aztecs
-They were tired of paying tribute to the Aztecs
-Montezuma, the Aztec king, welcomed Cortes to Tenochtitlan in 1521 because he did not know Cortes intended to take over his empire and his people
-After entering the city Cortes and his men attacked the Aztecs and brought down the empire.
Native people welcome Cortes
-Spanish destroy Tenochtitlan, other Aztec cities, and all Aztec temples
-Spanish enslave the Aztecs and take their gold
-Gold sent back to Spain
-Aztecs were taught Christianity and Aztec religion was forgotten
Cortes and Montezuma meet
-Spanish had many advantages (guns, horses, armor, and they carried diseases that killed the Aztecs)
-Spanish defeated Aztecs in 1521. The Incas were defeated in 1533. The Mayas were defeated in 1697.
-Spanish control Mesoamerica and South America. This made them wealthy.
Native Americans affected by Smallpox