Aztecs Control Central Mexico Vocab : Triple Alliance, Montezuma II The Valley of Mexico 7000 feet above sea level. Large shallow lakes. 1st major civilization of central Mexico was Teotihuacan. At its peak, 125,000 people lived there. At the center of Teotihuacan stood a 200ft tall pyramid that was at its base larger than the Great Pyramid in Egypt. Valley of Mexico Teotihuacan Become a large thriving trading center that stretched to Central America. Obsidian was its most valuable trade item. Obsidian was used to make weapons. By 750 Teotihuacan was gone. Toltecs 900 rose to power. Next 300 years ruled central Mexico. Their capital was at Tula. They also built pyramids and temples. Extremely warlike people. Like the Mayans they did human and blood sacrifice(s). Toltecs Through trade and power the Toltecs spread to the Yucatan. By 1200 Toltec rule was over. Quetzalcoatl (god of peace) merged with an early Toltec king named Topiltzin. People did not like this and Quetzalcoatl was exiled. Legend was that he would return one day and bring in a kingdom of peace and light. Aztecs build an Empire Arrived in the Valley of Mexico around 1200. Aztecs were called Mexica at the time. They were a poor nomadic people from North Mexico. Became soldiers for hire by the local rulers. Legend has it that the Aztec sun god Huitzilopochtli told them to build their own city. Aztecs Build An Empire Found a place to build at Lake Texcoco Built Tenochtitlan in 1325. 1428 joined two other city –states Texcoco & Tlacopan to form the Triple Alliance. Became the leading power in the region and Mexico. 1500’s , the empire was from central Mexico to the Atlantic & Pacific coasts to Oaxaca. Aztec Empire Based on tribute and military conquest. Let local rulers govern their own regions. Tribute was paid in gold, maize, cacao, cotton and jade. If the tribute was not paid then the villages were destroyed & the villagers were killed. Nobles Rule Aztec Military leaders held great power in the Aztec Empire. Govt officials & priests made up the rest of the nobility. Commoners and slaves made up the rest of the society. Commoners were merchants, artisans,soldiers & farmers. Trade Center of the Aztec trade was the capital of Tenochtitlan. The market of Tlatelcoco was the main market. Most of the products were grown on farm plots called chinampas. Tenochtitlan 1500 ‘s was a city of 200,000 people. Located on an island. To get to the island causeways were built over the water and marshlands. Palaces, temples, markets and residential districts were connected by streets and avenues. Center of the city was a walled complex . The Great Temple Religion Major role in Aztec society. Many temples related to the gods. Adapted many of their beliefs from the Toltecs. Most important ritual was for the sun god Huitzilopochtli. Required blood sacrifices. Human sacrifices were carried out daily. Carved out the hearts of their enemies. Huitzilopochtli Aztec priests used Obsidian to cut out the hearts of the prisoners. Aztec battle tactics were not just to defeat the enemy but to have a steady amount of prisoners for the human sacrifices. Problems 1502 Montezuma II became ruler. The empire became weaker. The empire was growing and demanding more tribute and sacrifices. Many provinces began to rebel against the Aztecs. Montezuma reduced the number of officials and sacrifices. Problems Enemies of the Aztec banded together with the Spanish to fight the Aztecs. Religious beliefs led to more war and need for human sacrifices which led to open rebellion. Smallpox from the Spanish killed many Aztecs.