Who were the Aztecs?

One of the most important peoples of ancient America were the Aztecs, who live in the valley which now contains Mexico city. Long before the Europeans came from across the sea, these American Indians were making history.

They had a developed a way of life almost the equal of many of the European peoples. They carved their history in stone. the built temples and towers and homes of solid masonry. They were quite skilled in astronomy, law, and government, and we expert in many arts and crafts.

They were in some ways a kind and gentle people. they were lovers of nature, especially birds and flowers. They also were found of music, dancing, plays, and literature.

The Aztecs, however, had also risen to power through military abilities, and warfare was often carried on for the purpose of capturing enemies for sacrifice the their war god. The custom of sacrificing human life was shocking to the Europeans, but the developed naturally among the Aztecs because they combined religion and warfare.

The Aztecs were also called Mexico. In 1325, 167 years before Columbus ever saw an Indian, the Aztecs, according to tradition, started to build their capital which they called Tenochtitlan. This city was later to become the capital of the Spanish and finally of the Mexican republic.

No one knows exactly where the Aztecs came from. The legends about them indicate that they came from the north. They probably arrived in the valley of Mexico in the twelfth or thirteenth century. In these early times they were knows as Tenochcas.

The Toltecs, who already lived in the valley and were quite cultured, considered the Aztecs barbaric newcomers. Because this the Aztecs had a difficult time settling in the valley. But in the time they rose to great power and ruled over the peoples of the Valley of Mexico.

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