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The Aztecs The Aztecs are the most well-know mesoamerican civilization The Aztecs originated from a place called Aztlan located in either northern or northwestern Mexico Then they were a small nomadic Nahuatl-speaking aggregation of tribal peoples living on the margins of civilized Mesoamerica The Aztecs were greatly influenced by the Toltecs who came before them They incorporated many of the toltecs customes into their own They also referred to themselves as Toltecs Mexicas or Tenochca Sometime during the 12th century the Aztecs left the north and wandered In the 13th century they settled in the central basin of Mexico They found themselves repeatedly dislodged by the fighting city-states in that area They were weak couldnt stand up for themselves But they finally overcame the threat with the help of the powerful chief Itzcoatle and an alliance with a neighboring state They settled in small islands in Lake Texcoco In 1325 they founded the great city Tenochtitlan now Mexico City Now they were fearless warriors and pragmatic builders They created their empire during the 15th century They dominated this area through to the early 16th century at the time of the Spanish conquest led by Hernando Cortes Today the term Aztec is a collective term applied to all the peoples linked by trade custom religion and language to the original Aztecs The people who dominated the Valley of Mexico in the 15th and 16th centuries are the true Aztecs They were known as the Mexica or Tenochca or Toltec Mesoamerica is distinguished between two types of people The Toltec a classic urban culture and the Chichimec who were wild people Originally the mexica were Chichimec but they eventually became proper Toltecs The beginning of the Tenochca history is 1168 Their God Huitzilopochtli commanded them on a journey that led them to the Valley of Mexico They arrived therein 1228 Originally they were peaceful people but their Chicimec ways revolted other
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