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Aztecs started out as a small group of barbarians that called themselves the Mexica The Mexica was believed to first appear in the Valley of Mexico about A D 1200 Although according to folk legend it is believed that the Aztecs original homeland was an island called Aztlan The Aztecs migrated from their original home land sometime during the early twelfth century settling in the Valley of Mexico later in the twelfth century Teotihuacan ame of the This is where the name Aztec originated from During this migration they held an image of Huitzilopochtli which is their patron deity They arrived in the Valley of Mexico towards the end of the twelfth century They believed that their homeland would be marked by an eagle alighted on a cactus with a snake in its beak When they came upon an island in the middle of Lake Texcoco they supposedly they came across the eagle and the snake Since they lacked the sophistication of their neighboring communities they had to seek alliances with the stronger city-states The Aztecs were great worriers In the early fifteenth century the Aztecs had become the leading city-state They established their capital at Tenochtitlan Their capital was on an island in the middle of Lake Texcoco Because of their dominance they set out to take control of the entire region By taking control over an area that is known today as modern Mexico they were able to grow in size as well as power They were able to take over the land that stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean and as far south as the Guatemalan border During their time of power the Aztecs had many great rulers From 1440-1469 Moctezuma I was the Aztecs ruler He built many things including botanical and zoological gardens During his reign there was a severe drought that caused a famine throughout the empire Some Aztec people had to sell themselves into
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