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The Aztecs
Learning Objectives…
•To locate Mexico and UK on the map
•To place Aztec history within a
chronological framework.
•To consider why the Aztecs settled where they did
by analysing historical sources
Who were the Aztecs?
The Aztecs lived in the country we now call Mexico, Central
America. It is a hot place full of deserts, volcanoes and
The Aztecs didn’t settle in the valley of Mexico until the 1320’s
and their empire was destroyed by the Spanish in the 1520’s. –
around 500 years ago.
Mexico city, the capital of Mexico is the biggest city in the
Americas and more than 8 million people live and work there.
Beneath the traffic that rushes through these streets, lie the ruins
of an older, lost city. It was called Tenochtitlan. From the 1320’s
until the 1520’s it was the home to the Aztecs.
Where is
The Aztecs
What would you like to find
out about the Aztecs?
Talk to the person next to you for 30 seconds about what you
would like to find out about The Aztecs….
Week 2 – Moctezuma and
L.O- To find out who Moctezuma and Cortes were
and why there was a conflict.
To be able to identify what life was like on board the
ship that set sail to invade Aztec land and to
consider the feelings of these soldiers and the Aztec
Who was Moctezuma?
In 1502 Moctenzuma became ruler of the mighty
Aztec empire. As emporer, he strengthened his
power and conquered more lands, and the Aztec
people become even richer.
Who was Hernan Cortes?
In 1504, however, a Spanish merchant ship sailed to the
Americas. On board was an 18 year old Spaniard named Hernan
Cortes who was eager to find adventure and gold…In 1511 he
set sail again to Cuba where the Cubans were defeated and
Cortes became secretary to the new Spanish Governor.
What happened next?
However, Cortes wanted new adventures and in 1519 he set sail for Yucatan in Mexico
where there were reports of great riches. He travelled with 550 soldiers called
Conquisitadors. Here, Cortes found out about the powerful Aztec civilisation and he
sailed further along the coast. He made friends with local people and exchanged gifts.
He also sent messages to Moctezuma at Tenochtitlan saying he would like to meet
Talk to the person next to you… what do you think of Hernan Cortes so far? Do you
trust him?
What happened next?
When Cortes finally reached the capital of the Aztec empire, Cortes was stunned. He had
hoped to be able to conquer the land easily but what he found was far greater and grander
than anything in Spain.
The Aztecs had never met anyone like the Spanish before. They had never seen pale skinned
people, or body armour or horses. Many thought they must be gods. They were welcomed and
invited to stay in the palace… but Moctezuma was take prisoner and forced to swear loyalty to
Spain. When Cortes took Moctezuma with him to the coastal city of Vera, he left conquisitador
Alvarado in charge. He was so horrified at the Aztecs human sacrifices and was scared that he
would be attacked himself that he had his men slaughter 12,000 aztecs at a religious
ceremony. The Aztecs rose up against the Spanish and swore to kill all the intruders, they felt
so betrayed by Moctezuma that they stoned him to death, and without an emporer, Cortes
forces took hold of Tenochtitlan and the Aztec empire ended.
Over to you…
. In your own words, desribe what happened with
Hernan Cortes and Moctezuma. Important
information to incluide.
•Who set sail ?
•Where did they go?
•Why did they go there?
•What did they find when they arrived ?
•How did the Aztecs respond to the new arrival?
•How many people were slaughtered?
Where did the Aztecs live?
LO – To find out about where the Aztecs built their city
LO – To find out about the houses that Aztecs lived in
LO- To find out about the temples that Aztecs built
In groups of 3 research the topic that you are given. This will be one of the following…
•Why the Aztecs decided to build on a lake – what were the advantages and
disadvantages of this?
•What were the houses like that simple Aztecs lived in?
•Why were temples built and what did they look like?
•Where did very important people live? What were these places like?
•Remember to include pictures, diagrams, drawings, information and colour to make
your presentation interesting!
Warfare and Religion
LO- To learn about the way the Aztec army was structured
and to investigate the many gods that the Aztecs
Warfare was absolutely vital to Aztec Society and culture.
Constant wars supplied prisoners for the human sacrifices that
were demanded by the Aztec religion. The empire’s powerful army
crushed any resistance to Aztec rule, and professional soldiers
formed a privileged upper class.
There was a four tier system of society with slaves at the bottom
and warriors in the next tier. All boys trained in warfare at school.
Those who rose to high rank won the right to dine at the royal
palace, wear fine clothes and drink alcohol.
LO- To learn about the way the Aztec army was structured
and to investigate the many gods that the Aztecs
The Aztecs had about 1600 gods, one for every aspect of their lives. They worshipped
them at home shrines and also in elaborate public rituals, led by priests. The
ceremonies involved dance and drama in fantastic costume, as well as bloody human
The Aztecs believed very strongly that the gods had decided what would happen to
every person before he or she was born. They also belueved that the priests could
foretell events in the future.
Huitzilopochtli was the patron god of the Aztecs. His name means blue hummingbird.
He was the god of war. The Aztecs fought a special war every year called the war of the
flowers in order to capture victims to sacrifice to him.
Aztec video
Rich and Poor
LO – To find out about the similarities and differences of the lives of people who had
different jobs and different incomes during the Aztec reign.
How were the poor disadvantaged and what aspects of their lives were different to
their more wealthy peers?