• The Aztec origins are obscure although recent linguistic and archaeological work suggests the Aztec may have come from northwest Mexico.
• According to legend, the Aztec were a wandering people which came from Aztlán, a mythical place to the north of the Valley of Mexico around A.D. 1100
• In the early 1300s, the Aztec reached the marshy islands in Lake Texcoco where they settled and built Tenochtitlán which eventually became the capital of the Aztec empire.
• The Aztec established a monarchy in 1376, naming Acamapichtli as their first king.
• Mocteuzma I (1440-1469) undertook wars of conquest throughout the Valley of Mexico and the southern regions of Vera Cruz, Guerrero, and Puebla.
• By alliance, treachery, and conquest during the 15th and early 16th cent. they became a powerful political and cultural group and Aztec domination reached into most of central and southern Mexico.
• The Aztecs only failed to conquer the western part of Mexico where the Tarascan Indians severely defeated them.
• The Spaniards invaded under Cortez in 1519-1522 and Monetzuma II was killed in 1524.
• Prior to Cortes’s arrival, the Aztec had seen many astrological phenomena which seemed to portend the collapse of the empire itself.
• Also, the Tlaxcalans helped Cortez fight the Aztecs.
• With the conquest of Tenochtitlan, the Spaniards were also able to conquer most of the rest of the empire because the Aztecs had no formal military strategy and most of the peoples in the empire hated them.
• The Aztec economy was based mainly on agriculture.
• They used the chinampa method of agriculture.
• In the chinampa , flat reeds were placed in the shallow areas of the lake, covered with soil, and then cultivated.
• This way, the Aztecs could use the lake for agriculture and at the height of the civilization, about half the population was farmers.
• The Aztecs planted cocoa, vanilla, bananas,...