Daily Life in
Tenochtitlán was the center of the
Aztec Empire (approx.1325-1521)
What sources of
information do we have
about Aztec history?
Ancient Aztec books of
drawings, called codices.
Aztec oral history, or
storytelling, that has been
passed down for generations.
A Spanish friar learned Nahuatl
(the Aztec language) and
recorded detailed accounts of
Aztec history at the time of the
The Aztecs Built Tenochtitlán
in the middle of a large lake,
linked to the mainland by
causeways and aquaducts.
The city, estimated to have
a population of more than
250,000 people, had a
large ceremonial center.
How to feed 250,000 people?
Aztec farmers built floating gardens
in swamps and marshes called
First, workers dug canals. Then they
placed mud from dredging the canals
onto mats made from weeds and straw.
Workers continued to add layers of mud
and vegetation to build raised beds.
Farmers planted willow trees on the
sides and corners. When these trees
took root, they secured the chinampa
firmly to the bottom of the swamp.
How Did Farmers Use
Each chinampa was about 300' (the
length of a football field!) × 15' to 20'
and a few feet higher than the
Chinampas often yielded 7 harvests per
plot per year (vital for feeding such a
Aztecs grew crops such as corn, beans,
chiles, tomatoes and squash.
Farmers used canoes to reach their plot
and to transport their harvest to the city.
You can still find some chinampas
being used around Mexico City today.
Mexican flag -- what image is
in the center?