Aztec Culture Essay Research Paper AZTECSThe Aztecs
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Aztec Culture Essay, Research Paper AZTECS The Aztecs came from Azatlan. Huizilopochtli, the god of war, told the Aztecs to leave Azatlan and walk around until they saw an eagle on top of a cactus growing out of a rock and eating a snake. The Aztecs traveled many years to find the this and finally found it when they were at Lake Texcoco. Lake Texcoco was ruled by the Toltecs between the 10th and 11th centuries (Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99). Since many other tribes also went to Lake Texcoco at the same time, the Aztecs were pushed out to the westside of the lake to a swampy area. They only had was a little island that was dry surrounded by marshes. After a long time the aztecs built their empire with chinapas. Chinapas were made by piling up mud from the bottom of the lake to make little islands. The Aztecs took over many cities and then all the cities became part of the empire which was between high mountains and surrounded by lakes. CLASSED OF AZTECS The three classes of the Aztecs, there were slave, commoner, and nobility. The slaves were the lowest class. They were servants, They could buy there way up to freedom or if they escaped from their masters. There were two kinds of commoners maceualtin, and tlalmaitl, commoners are middle class people. The maceualtin were given land so that they can build their houses. The tlalmaitl were farmers. The nobility was the highest class. These people were rulers, chiefs, or nobles. (Aztecs/ Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 98). Page1 AZTEC HOUSES The Aztecs house was on a log raft covered with mud and it had plants on it. The house also had a canal in the back with a canoe tied at the door so they could travel. AZTEC FOOD The Aztec food was a thin pancake called a tortilla. They used the tortilla to scoop up their food and to wrap their food up in it, This is called a taco. The meat that they looked for were deer, rabbits, ducks, and geese. The meat that they raised were turkeys, rabbits, and dogs(Bamford Parkes,Henry,A History of Mexico: boston Houghton Mifflin,1988 p 121). They also ate vegetables liked corn, squash, tomatoes, peppers, beans, jicama, prickly pear cactus, and sweet potatoes. Their favorite drink was chocolate. AZTEC RELIGION Religion was important for the Aztec. They had hundreds of gods. There were ceremonies everyday to sacrifice someone for the gods. For them it was an honor to be sacrificed to the gods. To sacrifice these people, a priest with a sharp knife cuts open the persons chest and take out his heart. Then they take the heart and put it in a bowl called a chacmool. These are some of the gods that the Aztec had EHECATL, the god of wind. CENTEOTL, the corn god MICTLANTECUHTLE, god of the dead. XIUHTECUHTLE the fire god. Page2 AZTEC LANGUAGE The language of the Aztecs was called Nahuatl. The Aztecs used pictographic writing that were put on paper. Some of the writings called codices still exist.(Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99). In 1519, Hernando Cortes, a Spanish explorer, landed on the East Coast of Mexico and wanted to conquer Tenchtitlan. The Spaniards were joined by many Indians who were conquered and forced to pay high taxes to the emperor. Montezuma II did not stop Cortes because he thought Cortes was Quetzalcoatl, the god of civilization and learning. An Aztec legend said that Quetzalcoatl was driven away by a rival god and was headed across sea to present day Mexico. Quetzalcoatls return was said to be the year Ceacatl on the Aztec Calendar which is the same as 1519. Due to the legend, Montezuma II thought Cortes was Quetzalcoatl when he invaded the Aztec Empire. Montezuma II was taken prisoner by the Spaniards, but in 1520 he rebelled and drove the Spaniards out of Tenochtitlan. Unfortunately, Montezuma II was killed in this battle and soon on August, 1520 the Aztecs surrendered when Cortes invaded again. The Spaniards wiped out all the temples and all other traces of Aztec civilization.