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The center of the Aztec civilization was the Valley of Mexico a huge oval basin about 7500 feet above sea level The Aztecs were formed after the Toltec civilization occurred when hundreds of civilians came towards Lake Texcoco In the swamplands there was only one piece of land to farm on and it was totally surrounded by more marshes The Aztec families somehow converted these disadvantages to a mighty empire known as the Aztec Empire People say the empire was partially formed by a deeply believed legend As the legend went it said that Aztec people would create an empire in a swampy place where they would see an eagle eating a snake while perched on a cactus which was growing out of a rock in the swamplands This is what priests claimed they saw when entering the new land By the year 1325 their capital city was finished They called it Tenochtitlan In the capital city aqueducts were constructed bridges were built and chinapas were made Chinapas were little islands formed by pilled up mud On these chinapas Aztecs grew their food The Aztec Empire included many cities and towns especially in the Valley of Mexico The early settlers built log rafts then covered them with mud and planted seeds to create roots and develop more solid land for building homes in this marshy land Canals were also cut out through the marsh so that a typical Aztec home had its back to a canal with a canoe tied at the door In the early 1400s Tenochtitlan joined with Texcoco and Tlacopan two other major cities in the Valley of Mexico Tenochtitlan became the most powerful member of the alliance Montezuma I ruled from 1440 to 1469 and conquered large areas to the east and to the south Montezumas successors expanded the empire until it extended between what is now Guatemala and the Mexican State of San Luis Potosi Montezuma II became emperor in
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