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Transcript of The Aztecs
The Aztec Civilization dominated the Central Valley of Mexico ("The Aztecs / Mexicas"). This enormous powerful empire stretched for more than
80,000 square miles
from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf Coast.
It can be found in present-day southern and central Mexico, from Central Mexico to present-day Republic of Guatemala ("History of Mexico - The Aztec Empire")
Tenochtitlan founded in Lake Texcoco
Montezuma crowned emperor
Cortez lands in Mexico
Aztec culture was a rich combination of the various cultures of the people that made up the empire.
Ancient Aztec religion was a complex interaction of gods, dates, directions and colors.
According to ancient Aztec religion, it took the gods 5 tries to create the world.
The ancient Aztec religion was highly focused on keeping nature in balance. One false step could lead to natural disaster. (ex: The sun could stop moving)
Every 52 years, the people were terrified that the world would end.
People all over the empire would destroy their furniture and precious belongings and go into mourning.
When the constellation of the Pleiades appeared, the people would be assured that they were safe for another 52 years.
("Ancient Aztec Religion")
The Aztec emperor didn't rule every city state directly.
The control didn't stretch into every corner of life (conquered lands were forced to pay tribute, but were left a certain amount of freedom).
Local governments would remain in place, but would be forced to pay varying amounts of tribute to the Triple Alliance (with most of the tribute going to Tenochtitlan).
("Ancient Aztec Government")
Traditions still practiced.
Keeping the culture alive.
Aztecs always wanted to make their sacrificial temples better and better, so they decided not to destroy it, but build over it. Each layer is grander and more extravagant than the previous one.
Their temples looked like Egyptian pyramids with a flat top.
Aztecs used adobe for their buildings.
The city of Teotihuacan can still be seen today and considered one of the world's greatest archaeological sites ("Aztec Architecture")
Science and Technology
Even though Aztec society became very urban, their economy was based mainly on
agriculture and trade
, which was provided by the citizens in outlying lands.
Aztec food was a rich combination of many foods that we take for granted today:
(also called corn or mealies) was the staple grain of the Aztec empire.
Beans, squash, chillies, tomatoes, limes, chashews, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peanuts, and chocolate
bees for honey
turkeys for meat and eggs
They also hunted and fished and used animals such as deer, rabbits, iguana, fish and shrimp for food. Even insects, such as grasshoppers and were worms were harvested.
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"Aztec." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 30 July 2012. Web. 31 July 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aztec>.
"Aztec Architecture." ThinkQuest. Oracle Foundation, n.d. Web. 30 July 2012. <http://library.thinkquest.org/10098/aztec.htm>.
"Aztec Culture." Aztec Culture. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 July 2012. <http://www.aztec-history.com/aztec-culture.html>.
"Aztec Important Events." Aztec Important Events. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 July 2012. <http://www.nettlesworth.durham.sch.uk/time/aevents.html>.
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"The Aztecs/Mexicas." The Aztecs/Mexicas. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 July 2012. <http://indians.org/welker/aztec.htm>.
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Florido, Camino. "Camino Florido - the Aztecs Doing Today." Camino Florido - the Aztecs Doing Today. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 July 2012. <http://caminoflorido.com/antiguo-mexico//index.php/Articles/the-Aztecs-doing-today.html>.
Acamapichtli: guided early construction of Tenochtitlan
Itzcoatl: brought an end to the Tepanec Domination in Mexico. Founded the Triple Alliance.
There were two main social classes in Aztec culture:
(Would hold high positions in government or in the military)
common people or
Moctezuma Ilhuicamina: developed Aztec military structure. expanded empire.
Ahuitzotl: Rebuilt empire after Tizoc destroyed it and the Great Temple.
Moctezuma Xocoyotzin: Last great ruler. Lead successful military campaigns. Died during the Spanish Conquest.
Most documented American civilization until European contact.
Scholars, Friars, and Soldiers kept records.
Used the Nahuatl language.
No pre-Columbian book exists due to purposeful destruction of books by Aztecs and Spanish Conquistadors.
All surviving documents contain Spanish notes, Aztec glyphs, and Nahuatl language.
Three primary functions: record calender dates, mathematical calculations, and the names of people and places.
Hernan Cortez: Sailed from Cuba to the Yucatan Peninsula to look for gold and silver. He killed the Aztec emperor Montezuma and conquered the empire. Claimed all of Mexico for Spain but died soon after returning to Spain. ("Explorers and Conquistadors of Mexico")
Bernal Díaz del Castillo: Participated in the third campaign against the Aztecs. He eventually wrote "Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España" which translates to the "The True History of the Conquest of New Spain" which depicts the defeat of the Aztecs. He also explains the culture and traditions.
("Bernal Díaz del Castillo")
Spaniards conquer Tenochtitlan
A group of families, the calpulli, owned farmland together.
The leader of the calpulli took care of the group.
All the leaders form a council
Each council had an "executive council"
Out of the executive council, a city leader would be chosen.
The city leaders led the empire.
("Ancient Aztec Government")
The Aztec Sun Calendar
Quetzalcoatl, the plumed serpent
Who are they?
The advances demonstrated in Aztec technology are so remarkable that they are still looked upon with reverence today.
Just a few of the Aztec accomplishments:
Development of mathematics
The highly specialized Aztec calendar
A large variety of medicines
The wheel (only used in toys)
Near the time they were overcome by Spanish conquistadors, they were experimenting with making tools with copper.
Aztec technology was so advanced that they even made drills, which were made of reed or bone.
There are no surviving people of 100% Aztec descent. Most native Aztecs either died from the battles between the natives and the invading spaniards, or the small pox the invaders left behind.
Most Mexicans are mestizos; people of mixed indigenous and European descent.
was where farmers and craftsmen presented their goods to about 60,000 village and city residents a day. Goods were bartered with cacao and
Dancers are still performing native dances to celebrate events such as the Spring equinox. One of the most famous dances is the Papantla.
("The Aztecs Doing Today")
The Nahuatl language is still spoken in the mountainous states of Mexico.
Mexico City was built on the ruins of Tenochtitlan.
Aztec Black Corn
Many of the districts and Landmarks around Mexico City still have their native names.
Mexican food is greatly based on native Aztec/Mesoamerican cuisine.
Aztec descendants are mainly found still in Mexico or the surrounding States.
Not hereditary, meaning the children of a slave were free
There were ways for a slave to gain freedom, such as purchasing it.