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Aztec Civilization


Aztec Civilization Essential Question How were both European and Native American cultures changed after European contact with the Aztecs? SS6H1a: Describe the ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Aztec Civilization

Aztec Civilization
Essential Question
  • How were both European and Native American
    cultures changed after European contact with the

SS6H1a Describe the encounter and consequences
of the conflict between the Spanish and the
Aztecs and the roles of Cortes and Montezuma.
Incas 1200-1500 CE
1600 CE
Aztecs 1100-1521 CE
Maya 300-900 CE
(No Transcript)
  • Location Central Mexico
  • Time Frame 1100 CE to 1521 CE
  • Main City Tenochtitlán (present day Mexico city)

The Legend of Tenochtitlán
  • (Based on Aztec mythology)
  • The Aztec tribe lived in ancient Mexico for about
    400 years. For the first 200 years, the Aztecs
    were constantly on the move. No one wanted the
    Aztecs as neighbors because they practiced human
    sacrifice in order to please the sun god.
  • According to legend, the Aztec tribal god
    promised to show his people (the Aztecs) the
    place they were to settle and build a great
    capital city.
  • He told them to look for an eagle perched on a
    cactus on a rock with a snake in its beak. This
    would be the sign that they had reached the place
    that would be theirs.
  • The Aztecs found this eagle located near Lake
    Texcoco. They then built Tenochtitlán in either
    the year 1325 or 1345 (the actual date is

Have you seen this symbol before?
The City of Tenochtitlan
  • Aztecs greatest city had more than 200,000
  • Located on an island on Lake Texcoco
  • Had waterways for major streets
  • Causeways linked the city to the mainland
  • At the center was the great plaza with the great
    temple that was over 200 feet tall

The Great Temple
  • Where human sacrifices and offerings to the gods
    took place.
  • The Aztecs believed that if they offered blood
    sacrifices to their gods, this would keep the sun
    alive and the world would continue.

Aztec Society
  • The Aztecs were divided into clans (called
    Calpullis) which were large family groups
  • The clan was the basis of all Aztec society and
  • Aztec children were expected to share in all the

  • Writing Used picture writing but did not
    develop an Alphabet
  • Aztec Calendar
  • 365 day calendar
  • Medicine
  • The doctors practiced their medicine and
    operations on human sacrifices and with dead
    bodies from wars. They got a lot of their
    medicine from plants.
  • Education
  • Public education for boys and girls starting at
    age 13
  • They taught lessons in citizenship, history and
    tradition, religious ceremonies and arts and
  • Boys learned methods of warfare, girls learned
    singing and dancing skills

Aztec Warfare
  • The Aztecs believed it was a religious duty to be
    a warrior
  • Used swords, bows and arrows, javelins, clubs and
    slings for weapons
  • Aztecs went to war to get tribute (what losers
    gave to winners) and sacrificial victims for
    religious ceremonies
  • Goal of Aztec warfare was capture, not kill
  • Members of losing tribe became slaves or

Cortés Conquers the Aztecs
  • 1519- Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortes landed
    in Mexicoand developed a thirst for Aztec gold!
  • The enemies of the Aztecs (other conquered
    tribes) joined forces with Cortes to take control
    of Tenochtitlan
  • Cortés and his alliance headed to Tenochtitlán
    with 500 soldiers and 16 horses
  • The Aztec ruler, Montezuma, thought Cortes was
    the god Quetzalcoatl and presented him with gifts

The Fall of the Aztecs
  • Spaniards massacred many Aztecs during a
    religious ceremony and fighting began.
  • The Spanish escaped and returned with more
    weapons and supplies and conquered the Aztecs.

What advantages did the Spanish have?
  • Weapons (guns and cannons)
  • Horses (the Native Americans were terrified of
  • Diseases (smallpox, measles, and chicken pox)

What were the consequences of the conflict
between the Spanish and the Aztecs?
  • The Spanish tore down temples and replaced them
    with cathedrals.
  • They destroyed Aztec art and books.
  • The forced them to become Christians.
  • They enslaved many Native Americans.
  • They spread their diseases and killed 7 million
    Native Americans within 50 years.
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