The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.
From the 13th century Valley of Mexico was the core of Aztec civilization: here the capital of the Aztec Triple Alliance, the city of Tenochtitlan, was built in Lake Texcoco.
The Triple Alliance formed its tributary empire expanding its political hegemony far beyond the Valley of Mexico, conquering other city states throughout Mesoamerica. At its pinnacle Aztec culture had rich and complex mythological and religious traditions.
In 1521, was the Spanish colonization of the America, Hernán Cortés, along with a large number of Nahuatl speaking indigenous allies, conquered Tenochtitlan and defeated the Aztec Triple Alliance under the leadership of Hueyi Tlatoani Moctezuma II; It was "The Fall of the Aztec Empire". Spanish people founded the new settlement of Mexico City on the site of the ruined Aztec capital.
Aztec culture is the culture of the people referred to as Aztec. The notion of "Aztec civilization" is best understood as a particular horizon of a general Mesoamerican civilization.
Aztecs of Tenochtitlan shared with many other cultures of central Mexico the agricultural basis of maize cultivation, the basic social organization dividing society into classes of noble pipiltin and macehualli commoners .
The complex of religious beliefs and practices including most of the pantheon, the calendric system of a xiuhpohualli of 365 days intercalated with a tonalpohualli of 260 days. Cultural traits particular to the Aztecs of Tenochtitlan was the veneration of the Mexica patron God Huitzilopochtli, the construction of twin pyramids, and the ceramic ware known as Aztec.
The Aztec empire was a tribute empire based in Tenochtitlan, which extended its power throughout Mesoamerica in the late postclassic period. It originated in 1427 as a Triple alliance between the citystates Tenochtitlan, Texcoco and Tlacopan who allied to defeat the Tepanec state of Azcapotzalco, that had previously dominated the Basin of Mexico.
The empire extended its power by a combination of trade and military conquest. It was never a true territorial empire controlling a territory by large military garrisons in conquered provinces.