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Expanding the Empire
Expanding Through Trade
Their long trek to find their
sacred homeland left the Aztec
people extremely independent
and resourceful
To build their empire, they
employed a few different means
Trade alliances
Defensive alliances
This shows two sides of the
Aztecs – the warrior and the
The Aztecs were amazing
farmers – so why would they
need to trade?
Trapped by Geography
Even with all their farming skills, the
Aztecs still could not farm certain crops
The city was approximately 2000 metres
above sea level
They could not cultivate tropical produce
Avocados, papayas, and cacao
They also could not get bright bird
feathers that they adorned themselves
The city also did not have gold or silver
To get these things merchants travelled
great distances with slaves to carry the
goods back
Merchants also acted as spies
Expanding Through
Huitzilopochtli prophesied: “We
shall conquer all the people in the
universe. I will make you lords and
kings of every place in the world.”
This helped motivate the Aztecs to
create a powerful empire
When the Spanish arrived in 1519,
the Aztecs controlled the largest
empire in North America
77,000 sq. miles population
of 200,000-300,000 people
How did they do this?
They believed that the group
(society) was more important
than the individual (citizen)
This was a strongly held
belief by all
A Warrior Society
When a boy was born into Aztec
society, he was immediately initiated
into the warrior aspect of life
This was symbolized by placing a
very tiny bow and shield in his
He was committing to protect the
Aztec people even before he could
walk, talk, or think, pretty much
What does this tell us about Aztec
Military service was compulsory in
Aztec society
The worst insult that could be given
was to call someone a coward
Why would this be so?
Aztec Poetry (Again!)
Poetry was created to
praise the gods, to
share stories and to
celebrate the beauty of
the natural world
Poems were usually
recited or sung to
It was also often meant
to teach a lesson
Loved and tender son,
This is the will of the gods.
You are not born in your true house
Because you are a warrior. Your
Is not here, but in another place.
You are promised to the field of
You are dedicated to war.
You must give the Sun your
enemies' blood.
You must feed the earth with
Your house, your fortune, and your
Is in the House of the Sun.
The Aztecs profited greatly when they
conquered other people
They began to take tribute (valuable
gifts and taxes) from those they
They kept records of the tribute they
Blankets, feathered headdresses,
shields, strings of jade beads,
cocoa beans
Cocoa beans were very important
They were a key ingredient in a
drink thought to make one gain
wisdom and power
Cocoa beans, chili peppers
and cornmeal
They were also used as currency