The first of the soon to be Aztecs arrived around 1200 A.D. These people came from a northern city called Atzlan. These Mexica nomads found the land already inhabited by an agriculture based culture. This culture had established themselves around Lake Texcoco.
-An agricultural Society-
This culture had established themselves around Lake Texcoco. The agricultural society had been split into three groups, Tepanecs, Acolhuas, & Culhuas. These groups banished the Mexica and pronounced them snake-eating barbarians; after the daughter of the Culhua was sacrificed. For several years the Mexica were forced to wander until the Warrior God, Huitzilopochtli, lead the Mexica to an island swamp.
-Empire of the Aztecs-
Huitzilopochtli had announced to the Mexica that this is there new land. The Mexica drained the swamp and quickly began to build an urban city that would become the capital of the Aztec empire. When somebody uses the term Aztec today they are usually referring to the empire of the Mexica’s.
Know for being fierce fighters, the Mexicas would work hired soldiers for the Tepanecs. Fearing the military growth of the Mexicas the new Tepanec king launched several attacks against the Mexicas. Under there king Itzcoatl the Mexicas formed a war alliance with the other two city states and succeeded in conquering the tepanecs in the 1428. This city state trio marks the beginning if the Aztec empire.
-Times after the Tepancecs-
When the Tepanecs fell, the first Aztec Emperor, Itzcoatl, divided the Tepanec land among his elite fighters. A new form of privileges and Nobles was created for warriors that took prisoners during times of war. To support the new titled classes, Itzcoatl demanded that the common people offer labor, military services, and economic tribute.
-The Sun God-
Itzcoatl adjusted the Religion of the Aztecs so that the Warrior God could represent the Sun God as well. The Aztecs believed themselves to be the chosen people of the sun. They were given the responsibility of keeping the Gods happy.
Itzcoatl proclaimed that the Gods needed much more blood to remain happy. This meant that the Aztecs had to capture more prisoners to use as blood sacrifices. However, the Aztecs had no official military. They relied on males to fight when war broke out.
-Ideals with Religion-
Religion was so strong with the Aztecs that warriors were provided with nobility and wealth depending on how many captives that they took. They believed that if they were to perish in the midst of battle, then their soul would join the Gods. Battles would usually occur One on One with participants wielding spears and wooden swords lined with sharp obsidian.
As long as tribute was paid to the Aztec capital, Conquered city-states were allowed to remain the way that they were. However city-states frequently revolted and often had to be reconquered. Most rebellions occured because of the required tribute.
-Moctezuma the First-
After Itzcoatl death in 1440, Moctezuma I was chosen as the next emperor. Moctezuma I held true to the war like policies Itzcoatl. Moctezuma I also established the first schools where young men were trained to be artisans and warriors and young women were trained to be mothers to young warriors.
In less than a century, the Aztecs had managed to create marvelous cities and temples and had successfully managed and taken care of millions of people. Aztec wars and sacrifices over time had managed to deplete the population of farmers, craftsmen, and other necessary artisans. That was when the empire started to fall.
-Conflict in the Aztec Capital-
Spaniard Hernando Cortes enlisted the aid of other Aztec city-states to aid him in the fight against the Aztec Capital in 1521. For 85 days, Cortes and his army had assaulted Tenochtitlan whose population was now only 200,000 citizens. Over the 85 days, over 100,000 soldiers were killed until the last of the defense was cut down and the Empire had fallen.