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The Aztecs A Policy Of Conquest Aztec Society, Religion and Life Cortes and the Spanish Conquest.

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Presentation on theme: "The Aztecs A Policy Of Conquest Aztec Society, Religion and Life Cortes and the Spanish Conquest."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Aztecs A Policy Of Conquest Aztec Society, Religion and Life Cortes and the Spanish Conquest

2 Who were the Aztecs?  Nomadic people from the northwestern United States known as Aztlan, the Aztecs ventured to Mexico because of a vision  “Eagle on perched on a cactus, eating a snake”  A small island in Lake Texcoco will become the site of the Aztecs capital city Tenochtitlan in 1325  Surrounded by water, good soil and protective bridges

3 A Policy of Conquest  1 st ruler Acamapichtli, “Handful of Arrows” 1376-1396 guided early building of Tenochtitlan and launched first conquest of the region  Conquests sought to obtain natural resources needed for building materials, tools and prisoners for labor and sacrifices  “Policy of Conquest” after conquering a region Aztecs allow local leaders to stay in power but expect heavy tribute payments  Aztecs enter into a “Triple Alliance” with two powerful city- states, Texcoco and Tlacopan to expand into wealthy farmlands outside of the Valley of Mexico  Aztec empire will expand over an area of 78,000 miles


5 A Policy of Conquest  “Policy of Conquest” led to constant threat of rebellion from concqueroed people  5 th ruler, Montezuma I, “Angry Lord, Archer of The Sky”, 1440-1469  Expanded the Aztec empire more than any other emperor through aggressive military expansion for economic gains  Increased trade in cocoa, rubber, cotton, fruits, feathers, and seashells

6 Tenochtitlan  Tenochtitlan, was an island city covering an area of 5 miles surrounded by Lake Texcoco  Canals were used as streets and people traveled by canoe  Aqueducts brought fresh water and sewage was carried out in barges  Palaces, a royal zoo, gardens, city fountains, and open market greeted vistors

7 Tenochtitlan  Chinampas were man made islands of plants, trees and compacted lake mud  Served as floating agricultural gardens that provided food and a place to live for commoners  Possessed a 365 day calendar used to keep track of seasonal events and a 260 day religious calendar that used names for dates

8 Aztec Religion and Human Sacrifice  Believed in over 1,6000 gods who controlled every aspect of Aztec life  Gods had to be pleased to make sure that crops grew, rain came and sun would rise  Believed gods had created the world through sacrifice and their blood

9 Aztec Religion and Human Sacrifice  Aztecs believed Huitzilopochtli, god of war demanded blood and human hearts for protection and aid  Warriors taken on battlefields were treated as gods then sacrificed  Hearts were removed and held high for approval and bodies were then thrown down steps

10 Aztec Society  Clothing determined social rank  Nobles wore sandals and clothes of cotton  Commoners wore clothes of coarse cloth  Jewelry also was regulated to show social rank  Education was highly valued but, wealthy received better than the common Aztec  Diet consisted of beans, sweet potatoes, avocados, onions, tomatoes, turkey and dog  Wealthy drank chocolatl and smoked tobacco  During periods of poor harvest commoners turned to eating, worms, tadpoles, slugs, and other insects to survive

11 Montezuma II  9 th ruler, Montezuma II, “Angry Lord, The Younger”, 1502-1520 successful military ruler but religiously superstitious  Prophecies stated that Quetzalcoatl would return to rule over Aztecs  Lived a life of luxury with a 100 wives in a palace considered an architectural marvel  No one was allowed to look at him or touch

12 The Last Rulers of Tenochtitlan  10 th ruler, Cuitlahuac ruled after Montezuma II and died 80 days later of smallpox  11 th ruler, Cuauhtemoc 1520-1525 Aztec empire ends with destruction of Tenochtitlan, and hanging of Cuauhtemoc by Spanish

13 Aztec Family Life  Land was farmed by a family groups  Additional land was granted as families grew or if father was a great warrior  Lazy families had land taken from them  Parents and elders expected to be respected  Children were punished by being pricked with a spine, beaten with a stick or forced to inhale burning chili peppers

14 Aztec Warriors  Military training began at age 12  After killing or capturing four opponents a warrior was given land and allowed to wear ceremonial clothes  Best became professional soldiers called Eagle or Jaguar warriors who became part of nobility  Warfare was based on taking prisoners and increasing land

15 Cortes and the Spanish Conquest  Hernan Cortes, Spanish conquistador who ventures to Mexico because of the gold and silver  1519 leads a military expedition to conqueror Aztec empire  Cortes conquerors the Tlaxcalan army of 50,000 with 400 Spaniards  Spanish steel, amour, and the horse win the day

16 Cortes and the Spanish Conquest  Aztec enemies join Cortes because it provides them the opportunity to defeat the Aztecs  Spaniards make it clear that they are there for gold and seize Montezuma as a prisoner  During negotiations for Montezuma’s freedom Aztec warriors stone the Spanish causing the death of Montezuma (strangled by Spanish?)


18 Cortes and the Spanish Conquest  La Noche Triste, “Night of Sorrow” for Spanish when they escaped Tenochtitlan but lost thousands of men  1519 smallpox and measles arrive with Spaniards and spreads reducing Aztec population  December 1920 Cortes returns to attack Tenochtitlan with a navy and is victorious after 3 months  Cortes used 13 warships and 200,000 canoes to attack the Aztecs  500,000 people die during this battle due to disease, polluted water or starvation  The Aztec empire is no more

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