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• Bands of nomads migrated into the Valley of
• All tribes spoke a language called Nahuatl
• 1325 A.D. Aztecs found the city of Tenochtitlan
• The gods told them to look for an eagle perched on a cactus
and to build the capital city on that spot( modern day
Mexico City)
• Tribute- money paid to the Aztecs by conquered people
• Chinampas- man made islands on top of reed mats; floating
Aztec gods
Aztec Society
• One single ruler was elected by priests, nobles,
and military leaders.
• Hierarchy
Nobles ruled over conquered provinces
Warriors could become nobles through fighting well
Middle class consisted of traders
Most people were commoners who farmed
Slaves and debtors were used as labor, yet had rights
under Mayan law
Aztec Sacrifice
Religion and Mythology
• Polytheistic
• Teotihuacan
– Well planned city containing the Pyramids of the Sun
and Moon
– Fell to invaders
• The Aztecs believed their gods sacrificed
themselves frequently for the good of the people
– A human was sacrificed daily so the sun would rise
• 365 day solar calendar and a 260 ritual
• Doctors could treat illnesses and set broken
• The Aztec’s enemies helped the Spanish fight
against them