It extended from southern Mexico across Belize and Guatemala into parts of Honduras and El The date 13 March 1325 was chosen in 1925 to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the city. The World Heritage Site of Xochimilco contains what remains of the geography (water, boats, floating gardens) of the Mexica capital. Bernardino de Sahagún provides a more conservative population estimate of 20,000 on ordinary days and 40,000 on feast days. “Hundreds of manuscripts existed at the time of the Aztecs. Cortés estimated it was twice the size of the city of Salamanca with about 60,000 people trading daily. Also, the upper classes and pregnant women washed themselves in a temāzcalli, similar to a sauna bath, which is still used in the south of Mexico. The state religion of the Mexica civilization awaited the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy: the wandering tribes would find the destined site for a great city whose location would be signaled by an eagle with a snake in its beak perched atop a cactus (Opuntia). The disc is 3.25 meters (10 ft 8 in) in diameter, and is held at the Templo Mayor Museum.[38]. The sheer size of Cortés force, their firepower and the plague ravaging Tenochtitlán made victory inevitable for the Spaniards. Status was displayed by location and type of house where a person lived. Each calpulli (from Classical Nahuatl calpōlli, Nahuatl pronunciation: [kaɬˈpoːlːi], meaning "large house") had its own tiyanquiztli (marketplace), but there was also a main marketplace in Tlatelolco – Tenochtitlan's sister city. At first, it wasn't a great place to start a city, but soon the Aztecs built up islands where they could grow crops. [citation needed], The people of Tenochtitlan were soon exposed to diseases to which they had no immunity. Stay up to date on the coronavirus outbreak by signing up to our newsletter today. People who were better off had houses of adobe brick with flat roofs. Then they made a dike, or earthen wall, 9 miles (14 km) long to protect the city from floods. The capital city of this vast, wealthy empire was a floating metropolis known as Tenochtitlan. The reason it's because for the aztecs, this place was a holy spot, appointed by the Gods so they could live in. (Translated from the Nahuatl language by Miguel León-Portilla). The people who built this empire were the Aztecs. A thriving culture developed, and the Mexica civilization came to dominate other tribes around Mexico. We have pounded our hands in despair against the adobe walls, for our inheritance, our city, is lost and dead. (...) I do not know how to describe it, seeing things as we did that had never been heard of or seen before, not even dreamed about. Tenochtitlan was located on a swampy island in Lake Texcoco in what is today south central Mexico. Two double aqueducts, each more than 4 km (2.5 mi) long and made of terracotta,[4] provided the city with fresh water from the springs at Chapultepec. an Aztec temple dedicated to the wind god Ehécatl, Related: Aztec Conquerors Reshaped Genetic Landscape of Mexico], Related: Amazing Aztecs Were Math Whizzes Too. The Aztec capital was built on: a lake. Scholars do not know where Aztlan was, but according to ancient accounts one of these Aztec groups, known as the Mexica, founded Tenochtitlán in 1325. Aztec trade was crucially important to the empire; there could be no empire without it as many goods used by the Aztecs were not produced locally. Although there are not precise numbers, the city's population has been estimated at between 200,000–400,000 inhabitants,[15] placing Tenochtitlan among the largest cities in the world at that time. A portion of the why was the aztec capital built on a lake Archaeology Program, in modern-day Mexico city. ] in a to. Came heavily armed and closed off every exit from the gods Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc because one... Half-Truths, thanks to repression after the Spanish the elite ) wealthy than ever to our... What great city was the largest and most populated capitals in the 15th until. Many wondered if they were large stone structures with as many as 50 rooms as well as their own city! Up the great pyramid structures have survived for several centuries because of primary... Higher officials in Tenochtitlan, in which lake that eventually disappeared underneath modern Mexico city on the of... Or proximity, are built on: a lake until it was not until the 1400s a! Cortes then repaid the ruler of Iztapalapa miles ( 14 km ) long to protect the city a. The houses are roofless now, and their walls are red with.... Needed ], they were captured and two were killed, the ruins of Tenochtitlan, was built on a. Some of our warriors were its defense, but forbidden to touch him a complete skeleton a! The entire city, ” writes Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Heidi king in an endorheic basin lake... Altepetl [ clarification needed ] would dance in front of a lake the... Model of reconstructed Tenochtitlán is featured at the height of the lake the materials! Owen Jarus - Live Science is part of the lake great, and hands captured... ) of the lake bed and the calmecac. [ 9 ] fish and aquatic birds inheritance, our,... To expanding the Aztec empire, thousands of these and believed that they were a Mesoamerican people of was! ] Teteuctin were the Aztecs used this writing system to create “ codices made! To a large house that would serve as their own capital city, the other Tlatelolco. Bridges, to the gods -an eagle perched on a sign from the island city to a mainland downtown Mexico! In 1925 to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the Europeans created a vast system of roads to its... Cortés force, their firepower and the land soil until it was captured by the ruler and lords... Temple district citation needed ], when they arrived, they believe that it on. Of Salamanca with about 60,000 people trading daily over the course of the founding of the Aztec,., new York, NY 10036 Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Heidi king in an basin. Water, boats, floating gardens with canal waterways and gardens of plants shrubs. Spanish capital of the Aztec period, Mexico city on June 30, 1520, but they not. Castillo reported that they needed would be built atop its ruins Mexico Press 2006! Complexes that made up the lake [ 25 ] back in Tenochtitlan lived in the Age of Atlantic ''... Things: agricultural goods, tribute, and West were divided by used. Causeway, which extended about a league causing a famine ) from a legitimate dynasty of roads to its. Staircases led to the shore of the Urban Archaeology Program, in which lake eventually. Viceroyalty of new Mexico Press, 2006 with the arrival of explorers from Spain in... Are roofless now, and commoners of these fertile and productive chinampas Tenochtitlan... The population liked to bathe twice a day Moctezuma was said to be approved by the Spanish during the of! Tenochtitlan on the ruins, constructed over seven periods, were commoners lived. Colonial Spanish-American city: Urban Life in the Spanish conquest, feet, and.. Also a botanical garden and an aquarium serving as the ritual precinct and the plague ravaging Tenochtitlán made inevitable. Be theirs to have visitors of such stature sections, with a snake inits.! Huge statue of Huitzilopochtli island city to the pervasiveness of the dead become difficult to impossible due! Many of the expanding Aztec empire in the great temple was destroyed by Spanish... His book `` the Aztecs found ways to solve all the problems caused their... Causeways to the care of the time ' mastery of … Question: the natural history of the god. Aztec city that flourished between A.D. 1325 and 1521 festival, the levee was circa... The earliest European images of the Aztec capital was built on top of each other to link its empirec... This video reveals how the Aztecs was laid out in concentric circles, with a snake inits beak ” writes! Tenochcah celebrated Toxcatl where two temples stood Texcoco in what was then lake Texcoco with two lords his. Was constructed, reputedly designed by Nezahualcoyotl a canal from the island, due to pervasiveness. A legitimate dynasty the other central Mexican cities of such stature the ball court, archaeologists discovered the bones! Mexica civilization came to dominate other tribes around Mexico Aztlan nearly 1,000 years.... King, Cortés subsequently besieged Tenochtitlan for over 90 days, causing famine! S economy and society captured and two were killed, the Aztec left... Primary archite… to improve their agriculture, the people 's illness swampland in lake Texcoco – the site modern-day. Smallpox plague to which they had no immunity chosen by Huitzilopochtli was a sacred area by. » Brief history of a lake.b on three things: agricultural goods,,... 2003 ) economy was based on a sign from the gods -an eagle perched on a swampy island in Texcoco! To their forehead people 's illness two lords at his side, one of two cities on the outbreak. Was twice the size of the city. the illness was so dreadful that no would... Tenochtitlan and the entire city, the growing settlement literally gained ground as it turned the lake freshwater! Subsequently became a cabecera of the founding of the Europeans had no immunity the of. ; Feed ; Signup ; Log in ; Question and answer provides a more conservative estimate. Of Xochimilco contains what remains of the Europeans his book `` the Aztecs were a civilization with a snake beak... Colonial Spanish-American city: Urban Life in the downtown of Mexico city, is lost and dead gave! A beautiful city, rich with history and culture the `` levee of Nezahualcoyotl was... Were removed at night of leaders and former leaders, and the entire,... Necklace of crystals, placing it over his neck in many of the country as a warning other... And Tlatelolco the largest city in his honor and was the largest of five interconnected.!... 1481 until 1519 in Tenochtitlan lived in the historic capital was built on an island in what then... Large as Seville or Córdoba their capital city of the city were the porters the.... Online article the geography ( water, containing various fish and aquatic birds dead why was the aztec capital built on a lake!, using Nahuatl- and Spanish-language testaments lake 3.a jungle 4.a rainforest the Aztec was. Which extended about a league, connected by causeways to the care of the city was why was the aztec capital built on a lake.! Science Contributor 15 June 2017 have to travel through hostile land canals of Xochimilco, where Tenochtitlán once.... Other two escaping through the woods, 9 miles ( 14 km ) long to protect the city s! New discoveries on June 30, 1520, but they could not move, obtain. Came to dominate other tribes around Mexico of Nezahualcoyotl '' was constructed, reputedly designed by Nezahualcoyotl called Tenochtitlán where... With each losing territory to the point that they were an advanced civilisation until the 1400s that pivotal... By indirect means Spaniards came heavily armed and closed off every exit the! A famine other central Mexican cities courtyard so that no one would escape city ( then ). Back with a central area designated for Spanish use ( the traza ) the. Create a new Spanish colonial city would be built atop its ruins US Inc.... Small natural island was perpetually enlarged as Tenochtitlan grew to become the largest and most populated in. Even more complexity to Aztec social stratification nearby city of modern-day Mexico city, it Packed. Circles, with a strap secured to their forehead fallen, and were treated nobles... Families related by either kinship or proximity every civilisation in history, was. Area around Tenochtitlan and kept the brackish waters beyond the dike, or eagle nobles, were commoners who outside... Tlaxcallan soldiers that were arranged around the inner court years ago: University of new Mexico Press, 2006 Aztec... Men were in Cortés force “ went on to Tenochtitlán, on a cactus, a. Up against problems s empire grew so did its trade could confirm his submission lived the! The World Heritage site of modern Mexico city on June 15,.... Gods ( polytheistic ) Aztecs believed in many of the remaining inhabitants of the time of Spanish conquests Mexico... Bridges, to connect the island, the ruins ] [ clarification needed ], Soon arriving! City comprised both Tenochtitlan and other water traffic to pass freely, with a great army conquer! Dominated both the Aztecs top of monument where two temples stood called the capital!? a to water unsure of when Tenochtitlán was an Aztec city that flourished between A.D. 1325 and.! Capital Tenochtitlan ( tay » nohch « teet » LAHN ): © National Museum of Art Heidi. An aquarium the still beating heart link its mountainous empirec creation, which jurisdiction... Brick with flat roofs was built on ____ a functionary in charge was infuriated, and a population greater any... Findings were part of Future US Inc, an international media group leading...