The Rise of Tenochitlan
Present day Mexico City sits atop the ruins of the Aztec Empire. The Spanish systematically destroyed many things such as the templesand buildings and used the stones to build their own Colonial Empire. The Aztecs had thousands of pictographic manuscripts recordind their history , customs, astronomy, medicine and other things all of which were burned by the Spanish priests because they looked demonic. Only 13 codices remain. Now archeologists and anthropologist struggle to piece this puzzle together as to what went on in the Aztec world.
About 1325 nomadic Aztecs left a place called Aztlan or the place of seven caves and arrived in the area of what we now know as Mexico City. At that time it was a huge lake with a small island in the center . The high priests saw an eagle with a snake in its mouth alight upon a cactus and decided this was a sign from the gods that they should settle there.
Within a hundred years they had built a society that dominated the Central Highlands all yhe way to Guatemala, the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific.
It was a society of Priest warriors who demanded tributes )taxes= from surrounding sedentary tribes.
An exception to this rule was the tiny Republic of Tlaxcala, a confederation of regions ruled by four kings who would meet to discuss important decisions.
They informed the Aztecs that they had never paid tributes to anyone before and they had no intention of ever doing so. This arrogance couldn´t be tolerated by the Aztec rulers and there was a continuous state of war, raids and skirmishes between them.
Although they were outnumbered by about 20 to 1 , the Tlaxcalans were fierce fighters and managed to hang on to their sovereignty.
Tenochitlan had a population of around 200,000 inhabitants. In spite of their warlike nature they developed culture, art, music, architecture and had a well organized society. They made great buildings and sculptures without the aid of metal tools, the wheel or draft animals.
But there was a sickness eating at the soul of this civilization, the sickness of human sacrifice and an oppressive government that subjigated its subjects many of whom were just waiting for a way to get out from under its heel.
The main deities that the Aztecs worshipped were Quetzalcoatl (The Plumed Serpent), Tlaloc (The Rain God), and Huitzilapochtli (God of War), and others, all of which had a great thirst that could only be quenched with blood About 10,000 people a year were sacrificed to these gods, and on special occasions even more.
And this was the situation just prior to the arrival of the Spanish.