Aztec Empire Geography Founded capital Tenochititlan -an island in the middle of Lake Texcoco (modern day Mexico city) Moderate climate, interconnecting lakes, forest and wild game Mesoamerica (includes the southern part of Mexico and parts of northern Central America) Geography and Adaptation Built raised roads across water or wet ground Used floating gardens called chinampas to produce food in swampy conditions They created canals for irrigation and transportation of goods and people Tenochtitlan Interesting Facts City contained 80,000 to 250,000 people Canals served as roads for trade and travel between villages Markets- 60,000 people visited daily Huge pyramids, some lined with thousands of skulls Rise to Power: Warriors Aztecs called themselves Mexica (meh- hee-ka) They were skilled warriors One ruler ruled over the Aztec Empire under the leader Moctezuma they expanded to 1/3 of southern Mexico Population of 25 million at peak Grew stronger through war, tribute, and trade Moctezuma :Warriors Religion: Polytheism (many gods) Worshiped gods of sun, rain, moon etc. KEY POINT: The Aztecs predicted that Quetzalcoatl (serpent god of creation) would return in early 1500s Religion: Quetzalcoatl Religion: Sacrifice Attempted to please gods, by human sacrifices Military Deterrent: Sacrifices used as intimidation to the people and other tribes Typical sacrifices would take place on top of a high temple Aztec sacrificed about 10,000 people Famine and Sacrifice In1450, a famine occurred due to poor weather bad farming conditions the Aztec priests began to make many sacrifices to the gods They work. Why? Not enough food = More sacrifices = Less people to feed…Maybe? Who knows for sure…. Sacrifice Aztec Social Structure Royal family One Ruler Ruled, wives held high Royal Family positions and respect Nobles- priest, military Nobles officers, and government leaders Merchants Merchants- imported the goods Commoners/Serfs Commoners/Serfs- worked in the fields Slaves Slaves- people could be sold into slavery Hernan Cortez Spanish Conquistador Learned about the Aztecs and their riches Knew he would have to conquer them to rule Mexico Hernan Cortez and the Spanish Other native tribes were tired of paying tribute to the Aztecs and joined Cortez When he arrives Moctezuma II thinks that he is Quezalcoatl They invite him to the capital Tenochititlan Cortez jails Monteczuma Hernan Cortez and the Spanish The Aztecs fight the off, but the Spaniards leave behind small pox: Cortez returns and defeats them: only 2 million Aztecs survive In 1521 the Aztecs finally surrender Small Pox •fever, chills, headache, nausea, vomiting and severe muscle aches •A rash follows that spreads and progresses to raised bumps that crust, scab, and fall off after about three weeks, leaving a pitted scar. •30-50% fatality rate Different Perspective: Slide 1: 1.List 6 things you see in this picture 2. Who do you think painted this an Aztec or a Spaniard? Why? Slide 2: 1) Why do you think that the man on the horse is light while everyone else is dark? 2) Who do you think that this person on the horse is? Slide 3: 1) What is going on in this picture? 2) Who do you think painted this and why? Slide 4: 1) Describe 5 things that you see in this photo. 2) How is the story in this painting different than slide 1 and 2?
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