Tenochtitlan

Location

Located in modern day Mexico, were today's Mexico City now stands. The city was built directly on Lake Texcoco. After the conquest of the Spaniards, Tenochtitlan eventually became the foundation for Mexico City.

Luxury Goods

The Aztec Empire (under which Tenochtitlan was controlled) greatly valued Jade, gold, and the feathers of colorful birds. These items were used by the priest class for religious ceremonies, to decorate those of the warrior class, and to appease those of the upper classes.

Means of Travel

The people in this area of the world had yet to utilize the wheel. Therefore there was no wheeled vehicles like charts, chariots or wagons. People and goods had to be moved by foot. Goods were strapped to the backs of traders and they trekked on. Do to the city of Tenochtitlan being in the middle of a lake, many causeways were constructed to allow more people to come and go from the city more freely. This added in the spreed of travel and trade.

Economic Status

The Aztecs economy was based largely on trade and agriculture. The lake under and around Tenochtitlan may appear to have forbid this, but in actuality, it aided the agrarian way of life. The Aztecs built a form of floating farmland around their city by laying reeds and then earth on the lake. Crops were then planted on the "fields" and the water around nourished them. Despite the flourishing economy of the Aztecs, there was no formal currency, therefore they relied solely on a system of bartering.

Role of the City

Tenochtitlan played the role as the capital of the Aztec Empire. It was the center of economics and trade, religious activities, and government. The central location of the city allowed for good control over the rest of the empire. The lake surrounding the city also created a fantastic barrier ageinst invaders.

Function of City

Due to Tenochtitlan being a center for religion, and the Aztecs being a religous people, Tenochtitlan was very much a mecca for religion. Several temples/pyramids to the gods dominated the central square of the city. Religious sacrifice was carried out on these pyramids. It was common for the victim to be stretched out over a sacrificial altar. The priest would then take his knife and make an insertion below the ribs so that he could then reach underneath and rip the heart out of the victim. The body was then thrown down the steps into the crowd below. The people believed that these sacrifices ensured the survival and appeasement of the gods who survived of off human flesh.

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