Aztecs (Mexica) (1345-1519 C.E.)

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Our human sacrifices...some good times.

Friends

Spanish
Toltecs
Mayans
Incas
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Right before the Spanish took over... and YES we still hate you.

Technology

* We built massive temples made of marble to worship our gods in. Since, that's what temples are for, worshipping.
  • In warfare we use slings, spears, bows and arrows, blades that are razor sharp. We wear close-fitting breast plates and make use of wooden shields.
  • Calendar:
    • We have two types of calendars: one is used to measure the time, while the other is used to set festivals.
    • The time-measuring calendar consists of 365 days and is used to set the timing for planting crops.
    • The religious calendar consists of 260 days and is used to tell when to check in with the gods.
  • Medicine:
    • Our Aztec doctors know a great deal about herbal medicines. They use various herbs to prevent and cure illnesses.
    • Since there are so many dead bodies during wars, doctors practice on them and learn a lot about the human body. This makes treating illnesses and delivering babies easier.
  • Farming:
    • Chinampa system of agriculture: we use lake muck from Lake Texcoco to make small plots of land and then we grow food on it, such as maize, beans, squashes, tomatoes, peppers, and chiles.
    • We do not use plows or any vehicles. We simply use a wooden stick to dig, and a wooden hoe in order to grow and harvest crops.
    • Fishermen make nets from the fibers of cact to catch seafood.
  • Trade:
    • The Aztec merchants are called, pochtecas. They bring in beautiful items such as: feather caps, gold jewelry, spices, cocoa beans, and tortoise shells.
    • We make use of porters to trade. There are no carts or horses to use.

Culture



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  • Hierarchy: Military elite are ate the top of the ladder. Priests are up there as well (since our society revolves around religion). Artisans are very prestigious people in our society, especially if they work with certain materials such as gold and cotton. Merchants supply gems and tropical bird feathers from long-distance trade, although they are often accused of profiteering. The bottom of the social ladder includes cultivators (who work in calpulli, or community groups) and slaves, who are usually domestic servants. Our slaves are Mexica whose families have sold them due to financial problems or are forced into salvery due to criminal behavior.
  • Women have no major public role, but they are important in family life. They cannot hold property or political positions, and are under complete control of their husbands or fathers. All women marry, except for some who dedicate themselves to our temple and our religion.
  • RELIGION IS A HUGE PART OF OUR LIFE!
  • War has a very different goal for us. Instead of killing everyone in sight, we acquire as many prisoners as possible and integrate them into our own society. Either that or we sacrifice them.
  • Arts:
    • Stone-workers were trained from an early age to carve statues.
    • Scribes draw pictograms in order to record events.
    • Potters shape clay with their hands, and add elaborate colors [clay pots].
    • Feathers are used for elaborate things such as headdresses and clothing; they were used for royalty.
  • Language:
    • We speak the N'ahuatl language.
    • We have a system of pictures that serves as our alphabet.
  • Music and Dance:
    • Music and dance are closely linked to religion and are significant parts of our lives.
    • Everyone, even including the peasants, take part in dances, especially for the gods.
    • These dances are very much like plays. They desribe past events or stories about the gods.
    • Musical instruments are an important part of these dances and rituals as well.

Religion

Our great God --> Quetzalcoatl


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  • Our gods set the world in motion through individual sacrifice, i.e. bloodletting by our priests
  • Polytheistic principal gods include Tezcatlipoca "the Smoking Mirror," the giver and taker of life, and Quetzalcoatl "the Feathered Serpent,"
    supporter of arts, crafts, and agriculture.
  • Huitzilopchtli = patron deity of warriors during our earlier years as we took over other peoples in the area; human sacrifices are crucial to
    appeasing him
  • We believe that the sun fights off darkness every night to protect us. If we feed the sun blood, it rises. There are nearly 1,000 gods that we worship. However, the sun god is worshipped the most.
  • We put a lot of efforts into our temples to make them beautiful for the gods.
  • Sacrifices are offered to the sun and the earth to grow food and keep them happy as well.
  • We believe strongly in the afterlife. How we die determines our faith in the afterlife.
  • Priests and priestesses are important in performing ceremonies, and they also served as doctors and teachers.

Blog

Us Aztecs and the encounter with the ... Spanish.


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BLOG 1:
Our gods have arrived! These men, who come in the year 1519, ride monstrous beasts and are the palest of pale. We have not encountered such men like these before. Today is also the birthday of our beloved god, Quetzalcoatl! We welcome their arrival with open arms, for angering them would only cause suffering among our people in Tenochtitlan. We bring them offerings, sacrifices, and our finest goods for their pleasure. We only hope it is enough to satisfy their needs. Sacrifices are a big part of our culture, and we make these sacrifices to please our gods. Could these men be sent from the gods? We're not sure yet, but in the time being we will welcome them onto our land and provide for them. Hopefully these sacrifices keep them pleased and prevent them from any hostilities.


Our leader Moctezuma II is being very kind to these men. Us Aztecs are getting a little worried. These white men are being too kind to not want something. They keep asking us where we get our gold from. However, they do not understand that we got a lot of our gold from trade and not from direct resources. We are getting a bit suspicious about the intentions of these men. What do they want? Are we in danger? We suddenly don't feel safe any more, and maybe these men weren't sent by the gods. I hope we haven't done anything to upset the gods ....

BLOG 2:
It is still the year 1519 and let me tell ya, life is not getting any better. I am certain the gods are upset with us. What other explanation can there be? Things are taking turn for the worse! Our leader, Moctezuma II was just taken hostage by this man that goes by the name of Cortes. There is just chaos everywhere, and no one knows where to turn. We simply don't know what to do! Our leader is being very cowardly. Moctezuma II is telling us to still try and make peace with these Spaniards. How are we supposed to make peace with these men who are trying to kill us!? And looking at the situation now, I know for a fact that they don't want peace with us, they probably want to kill us and take over us. Quick and easy, that's how they're going about it.

These Spanish, they're once powerful force I tell ya. Many of our neighboring friends in close by regions have fell to the power of the Spanish in the past. We are trying to fight back, but our outdated tools are no match for their steel swords and war tactics. Many of us are trying to pray and ask the gods for forgiveness ... I don't think they hear us. Maybe this was meant to be. We need a new leader, we need to some leadership and optimism in this place of misery. Farming and going about our daily routines is becoming difficult. Our homeland, is getting destroyed with every passing second.

BLOG 3:
Us Aztecs are getting very fed up with Moctezuma II. He is not brave enough to lead us in such a rough time like this. Today, we have elected Cuitlahuac, Moctezuma's brother. As for our old leader, Moctezuma II, he has just been carried away to the palace by the Spaniards. Angry Aztecs have thrown numerous stones at him, and he fell earlier today. To be honest, we have forgotten about our old, cowardly ruler. No one has seen him since. If he hadn't been so kind to these white, tricky and greedy men, maybe we wouldn't be in this tough situation right now. "Make peace with the Spanish" ... what was he thinking? Many of my friends tell me that it is too late to make a change or get more advanced weapons. However, I still believe in the gods and their guidance.

BLOG 4:
Our people are dying! The gods are angry with us, for they have brought a horrible plague to our people. Everyone is dying from a mysterious illness our priests cannot cure. We only wish there was something more we could give our gods to make this torture and suffering end. Today, 5 of my family members died before my eyes. Whatever these illnesses are, they are fast acting and are the cause of numerous deaths among our Aztec people. It is getting difficult to carry on with our normal everyday lives. The work is getting tougher because we are losing people in battle and to diseases left and right. Oh what to do. I went to temple today, but I fear that the gods are angry with me. These Spanish men are quite intimidating and I fear their advanced weapons. But most of all ... I am scared to catch the disease that has taken the lives of my friends and family. Stupid Spanish. They are the ones that are the roots of all this chaos! The brought over these wretched and dangerous diseases! Even the priests and doctors cannot manage to do anything about these conditions. All I can do is wait, and help with what I can. But what hurts the most is watching my friends and family die before my eyes. I can do nothing to help. At this point all I can do is watch as these Spanish take over our homeland, ... once our homeland.

BLOG 5:
The gods have taken over. Our entire population has been decimated. Illness has killed many, while the White People have taken many more away. We are helpless. There are so many of us, but we are no match to the harsh weapons and strong beasts of the White People. We surrender, and our empire collapses.


BLOG 6:
The Spainsh have officially taken over! What chaos and anger there is! Several Spanish men were lost, but they won, finally having succeeded in destroying our Aztec capital. Today is August 31, 1521 and the last and final attack was led on Tenochtitlan today. There were about 400 men along with 150,000 of their allies. They destroyed all of the houses, and the Spanish are now building Mexico City right on top of our destroyed and collapsed city! I have no more words to explain how horrific this has all been ...

The Wall

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We, the Tainos, like your lifestyle! The whole idea of polytheism meshes with our belief in the natural world and an unlimited amount of supernatural deities. Plus, we sympathize with the whole "whites tricked us and slaughtered us" deal because we experienced the same thing!

Hey, the Spanish here! And we'd just like to say ... what a great victory we had! You Aztecs were so foolish to welcome us to your land in the first place. You let us step right onto your land giving us gifts and food. Wow, we had a smile on our faces. And we're sure you guys didn't when we wiped most of you out and took over. Yep, knocking house by house down and building our grand Mexico City right on top was certainly a joy. About 3/4 of you Aztecs died from the illnesses and violence we brought about. This just goes to show that your people were just no match for us strong, brave, and victorious Spanish. We will forever remember the year 1521! Hasta luego!

It's just us, the Mayans. Wow we have so much in common, even though you Aztecs came to power much later than us. We completely agree on so much, probably because of our great interaction due to cultural interaction and trade. We admire your art and architecture. Us Mayans are very big on architecture. We have huge temples to honor our gods, and our art certainly portrays many gods. We totally feel for you and the foreign invasion of the Spanish. And what a nasty comment they left up there! Wow, they were terrible huh? Well we know how you feel because we were also taken over by the Spanish. Although there were many factors such as overpopulation, diseases, revolts and the collapse of the trade routes, we probably would have lasted a little longer if the Spanish did not eventually take over! We feel your pain.

The Spanishhere again. Uh Mayans, please, we were the stronger out of the two. And please, don't waste your time whining because we defeated you. And the "Mayan collapse" did happen, there's nothing that can be done now. Just like we took over you Aztecs, we took over much of that region and your neighbors in fact. Adios "amigos"!

Ah, hello Aztecs, it's the Inca here. Sadly we have the same story as you and the Mayans. And it's all the Spanish's fault! Our civilization was fairly short lived. Around 1532 we were conquered by the SPANISH! Hmm, i see a common theme here. The group of men that invaded our precious land was led by Francisco Pizarro. The Spanish forced us to convert to Christianity, and they were even more brutal to us after our decline. Our culture and we as people were repressed. It was unfair I tell you! Our culture was destroyeddd! If only we were strong enough to fight back ...

The Mayans here again, thanks for trading with us. It was great doing business with you. Again, we really respect your culture! If you ever need more cocoa, we're your people!

Oh yea, speaking of trade and goods, it was great getting all that jewelry, cotton, rubber, animal products - the feathers were wonderful - and colthes from you Aztecs. - the Spanish ;]

Wow, you guys are really impressive, how did you keep together such a big empire? Not only were you a settled agricultural people but you farmed on man-made islands. That is just so much more advanced that our semi-nomadic tribes. However, I think your blood-letting rituals are a little extreme, we never had enough people to waste them on such regular sacrifices. We should talk and maybe you can give us some pointers on how to be more advanced. By the way, we heard about the Spanish, that's rough. -Panama

Who are you calling brutal? I mean sure we destroyed your civilization and wiped out your populations, but we were just trying to save your souls. It was a win-win really. You accepted the one true God and we got lots of treasure. So most of your people were worked to death in labor camps, it was for your own good. -Conquistadors
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Sources Cited

Bentley, Jerry H., and Herbert F. Ziegler. Traditions and Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006.
The Ancient Aztecs. August, 1999. April, 2007 <http://library.thinkquest.org/27981/>.
Welker, Glenn. The Aztecs/ Mexica. April, 2007 <http://www.indians.org/welker/aztec.htm>.
http://www.42explore2.com/aztec.htm
http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/CIVAMRCA/AZTECS.HTM
http://www.projectshum.org/Ancient/aztec.html
http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Millennium/General/1999/02/03/aztecs.jpg [image]
http://www.alcdsb.on.ca/~mart/junior/2003gr5/image003.jpg [image]
http://www.d.umn.edu/cla/faculty/troufs/anth3618/images/Aztec_heart_sacrifice_400.gif [image]
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kukulkan/543571614/ [image]