The Aztec sometime during the twelfth century A.D., began a long migration that brought them to the valley of Mexico. They established a capital at Tenochtitlán, which is now Mexico City. When the Aztec arrived in the Valley of Mexico, other people drove them into a snake-infested region. The Aztec survived, however, strengthened by their belief in a sign that would come from their god of war and of the sun, Huitzilopochtli. The Aztec constructed temples, other public buildings, and houses. They built roadways of stone across Lake Texcoco to the north, south, and west, linking the islands to the mainland

Aztec Map

Aztec Timeline

1100 - The Aztecs leave their homeland of Aztlan in northern Mexico and begin their journey south. Over the next 225 years the Aztecs will move many times until they finally settle down at the city of Tenochtitlán.

1200 - The Aztecs arrive in the Valley of Mexico.

1250 - They settle in Chapultepec, but are forced to leave by the Culhuacan tribe.

1325 - The city of Tenochtitlán is founded. It will become the capital of the Aztec Empire. The location is picked by the priests because it is where they see the foretold sign of an eagle holding a snake while standing on a cactus.

1350 - The Aztecs begin to build causeways and canals around Tenochtitlán.

1375 - The first dominant ruler of the Aztecs, Acamapichtli, comes into power. They call their ruler the Tlatoani which means "speaker".

1427 - Itzcoatl becomes the fourth ruler of the Aztecs. He will found the Aztec Empire.

1428 - The Aztec Empire is formed with a triple alliance between the Aztecs, the Texcocans, and the Tacubans. The Aztecs defeat the Tepanecs.

1440 - Montezuma I becomes the fifth leader of the Aztecs. His rule will mark the height of the Aztec Empire.

1440 to 1469 - Montezuma I rules and greatly expands the empire.

1452 - The city of Tenochtitlán is damaged by a great flood. The next few years are filled with famine and starvation.

1487 - The Templo Mayor (Great Temple of Tenochtitlan) is finished. It is dedicated to the gods with thousands of human sacrifices.

1502 - Montezuma II becomes ruler of the Aztec Empire. He is the ninth of the Aztec kings.

1517 - The Aztec priests mark the sighting of a comet in the night sky. They believe the comet was a sign of impending doom.

1519 - Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes arrives in Tenochtitlán. The Aztecs treat him as an honored guest, but Cortez takes Montezuma II prisoner. Cortez is driven from the city, but Montezuma II is killed.

1520 - Cuauhtémoc becomes the tenth emperor of the Aztecs.

1520 - Cortes forms an alliance with the Tlaxcala and begins to attack the Aztecs.

1521 - Cortes defeats the Aztecs and takes over the city of Tenochtitlán.

1522 - The Spanish begin to rebuild the city of Tenochtitlán. It will be called Mexico City and will be the capital of New Spain.

How did they dress?

Aztec clothes were generally made of cotton or ayate fiber, made from the Maguey Cactus. Women would weave the fibers into clothing, a task girls were taught as young teenagers. Because of their vast trading network, the Aztecs were able to make use of a beautiful array of dyes, creating the brilliant colors still seen in Mexico today. They wore loose fitting clothing and did not completely cover the body.

What did they eat?

The Aztec mainly ate vegetables and grains. They mostly ate Maize or corn with almost anything.

what were their cities like?

Tenochtitlan was the Aztec's capital city. It was a beautiful city, with ornate temples and open plazas and tons of little shops, each specializing in a certain goods. There were restaurants, and places you could grab some finger good and a drink. There was fresh food and meat for sale. There were hairdressers, medicine shops, basket shops, herbs and embroidered clothing. Artists were everywhere, painting and sculpting in the marketplace. The city was alive with people and color and culture.

What kind of gods did they believe in?

The Aztecs believed in Huitzilopochtli. He was the god of war and of the sun.

how many people lived in their civilization?

By the early 1500s, it was home to about 300,000 people.

how did they keep track of time?

They followed a set of calendars to track planetary and solar events to make the most important decisions they had each year.

By the early 1500s, it was home to about 300,000 people.

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