Friday, April 12, 2013

Did the Expansion of the Aztec Empire Lead to Their Downfall?

Did the Expansion of the Aztec Empire Lead to Their Downfall?

        The Aztec Indians originated from a derriere called Aztlan, somewhere in north or northwest Mexico. At that time the Aztecs were a flyspeck, nomadic tribe living in the border territory on the margins of civilized Mesoamerica. (see map I) In the 13th century they settled in the valley of primeval Mexico. The Aztecs finally found refuge on a small island in Lake Texcoco, where about 1345, they founded the town of Tenochtitlan. The island was found through a prophecy which said they would settle where they found an eagle perched on a cactus. (see diagram I)

        During the next century the Aztecs grew to be great power in Mexico. As they grew in political status they became sophisticated and civilized, learning from established peoples who had been town dwellers for more than 1,000 years. (Ekholm, Gordon F.)

        The Aztec conglomerate consisted of numerous, loosely connected urban communities. Land ownership was communal. for each one local group was composed of a few families that together with owned a piece of land. Part of the yield of gracious land was given to the state as a harming of tax.

        Technology depended more on human skills than on mechanized devices. Iron and steel were unknown, although copper and bronze were used for tools and Mexican jewelers made ornaments from gold, silver, and their alloys.

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Wheat, barley, cattle, horses, sheep, and goats were unknown until introduced from Europe and the Mexicans were efficient farmers who made effective use of irrigation, terracing, and fertilization of the fields.

        Aztec Mexico was rich and civilized. The state controlled every verbalism of life. Schooling and training in the martial arts were unequivocal for all boys, while the girls were trained in gathering, cooking, and the sewing arts. A centralized bureaucracy...

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