The Aztec MigrationThe official Aztec histories claimed that they had come from aplace called “Aztlan” (meaning “Land of White Herons”). Codex Boturini
Aztlan• Supposedly was an island in a lake in the west or northwest of Mexico, and thus called themselves the “Azteca.” (Meaning people from Aztlan)
Aztlan for Chicanos• Some Chicanos argue that Aztlan was located in what today is the United States southwestern region.
The Aztec Migration• One Tradition says that they began their migration toward central Mexico in AD IIII, led by their tribal deity Huitzilopochtli (Hummingbird on the Left). Along the route of march, Huitzilopochtli gave them a name, the Mexica, which they were to bear until conquest.
Codex Mendoza Folio 2 of the Codex Mendoza illustrates the legendary foundation of Tenochtitlan in 1325, with the eagle perched on a cactus at the center, surrounded by ten early Aztec Chiefs.
Lake Texcoco• The last barbaric tribe to arrive in the Valley of Mexico, the “people whose face nobody knows.”
The Island City• After Hernan Cortez first approached the island capital of Tenochtitlan on the 8th of November of 1511 he wrote: “During the morning, we arrived at a broad causeway and contined to march towards Iztapalapa, and when we saw so many cities and villages built in the water and other great towns on dry land and that straight and level Causeway going towards Mexico, we were amazed and said that it was like the enchantments they tell of in the legend of Amadis, on account of the great towers and temples and buildings rising from the water, and all built of masonry. And some of our soldiers asked whether the things that we saw were not a dream.”
Aztec Farming• They farmed on raised fields, or chinampas, created by piling earth over the natural growing surface, as a way of reclaiming swampland for cultivation.
• The Aztec had a well-defined literature, some of which has been preserved through oral testimony. Much of this tradition has also been conserved in codices, which consist of a combination of pictographs and ideographs. Religious and cosmological themes dominate the codices.
• Nations which had fallen to Aztec arms were speedily organized as tribute-paying provinces of the empire.
• Confined to their own communities, Indians were under the Aztec and Inca empire, obligate to pay tribute- including forced labor to their new rulers. Codex Mendoza
• Cuatequil-the Nahuatl name for system employed by the Aztecs to extract labor. Under this system each adult male Indian had to contribute about forty-five days of labor a year.• Mita-was a similar system used by the Incas.
Aztec Sacrifice• Human sacrifice and war were interwoven as part of the Azteca religious practice. The Aztec rationale for human sacrifice was a cosmic view that encompassed the demands of their god Huitziloposchtli, lord of the sun and god of war.