Who are the Aztecs?
In the 14th century, there were people who lived in a Central Mexico valley. These people were called or known as the Aztecs. The word Aztec came from the word Azatlan, which is known to be the place where Aztec tribe originated. Azatlan is a place in the northern part of the Aztec empire, which is believed to be mythological. Mexica was the term referred by Aztecs to themselves. However, the origin of the term Mexica was often debated. Mexica was the originating name of the country Mexico.
The story of the Aztecs is that their sun god known as Huitzilopochtli ordered them to find an eagle eating a snake on a cactus. On that place where they will find that eagle will be their city. The dream-prophecy was found on the shores of Lake Texcoco. The city built on Lake Texcoco was known as Tenochtitlan, which is no known as the modern day Mexico City.
The Aztecs went out of their city and travelled into areas with more population. However, they were unwelcomed by the Toltecs. The Aztecs were regarded as barbaric although they managed to blend in with much of the people in the region. The Aztecs learned to integrate with other people by invasion and marriage. The Aztecs built an empire on the foundation of payment of tribute. The Aztec empire was not much about traditional government or loyalty. Since their empire lacks loyalty, the European invaded them without difficulty in the 16th century.
Although the Aztecs never had a traditional form of government, their society was considered to be highly structured. Their society was composed of peasants, warriors, priests and nobility. Slavery was also present in the Aztec culture. On the other hand, warriors obtained or built their status through the quantity of prisoners they get hold of instead of counting the number of enemies they have killed. Captives are more important as they were used as sacrifices or items for trade.
As the Aztecs blended in with other population, they gained great development in terms of civilization. Written language, poetry and arts, different studies in sciences and calendar were some of the advancement in the civilization of the Aztecs. However, the barbaric side remains as they still maintained their interest in sacrificing human to their gods. Aztecs strongly believed in the sacrifice of human blood. They believed that the sacrifice helps in creating mankind. The sun god, Huitzilopotchli was the god in which the Aztecs sacrifice human blood.
On the other hand, there were also other gods in which the Aztecs believe that they should also pay tribute with human blood. The Aztecs were known to sacrifice human blood during their eighteen festivals. It was told that human sacrifices will be forced to climb a stair and their hearts are cut out by the priests. The hearts were burned as sacrifice while the bodies were left tumbling down the stairs.
Cannibalism was also a topic when it comes to stories about the Aztecs. However, some claimed that such stories were not true but rather an exaggeration by the Spanish conquistadors. The Spanish conquest took place in 1521 led by Cortez. The Spanish conquest had managed to get rid of the Aztec culture after a few decades.