The Aztecs (1325-1519)
Standards: 7.7.1
  • Studyuse of the mind to acquire knowledge the locations, landforms, and climates of Mexico, Central America, and South America and their effects on Mayan, Aztec, and Incan economies, trade, and development of urban societies.
The Rise of the Aztecs

Key Terms and People

arid: lacking in rainfall

mercenary: soldiers-for-higher

basin: a bowl-shaped area, often with a lake at the bottom of it

chinampa: floating gardens

Nezahualcoyotl: The ruler of a city-state who was a warrior-poet

Moctezuma: Aztec emperor, during his reign, the Aztec Empire reached its height.

Section Notes

The Aztec World

  • Geography of Mexico:
    Mexico is a rugged mountainous land. A broad, high area known as the Central Plateau lies between two mountain ranges. The landscape of northern Mexico is generally arid. Some of the best farmlands are located in the highlands basins of central Mexico. This central region was known as the Valley of Mexico and it was the home of the Aztec civilization. It was settled by agrarian and people around A.D. 1200. People from Aztlan moved into the area and found refuge on a small island in the middle of Lake Texcoco. There they saw an eagle perched on a thorny cactus. According to legend, their are chief god had told them to settle in just such a place.

The Aztec Empire

  • the Aztecs founded their island settlement in 1325 they called it Tenochtitlan, which means "place of the cactus fruit." They often served as mercenaries in the local conflicts. The island setting offered certain advantages. The margins of the lake were ideal for farming the soil was fertile and the climate was mild, the shoreline was rich and food. The Aztecs created floating gardens called chinampas. They planted corn, potatoes, chili peppers, and squash. The island setting was also a good for travel and transport in canals. Also, It could easily be defended from attack.
    Important Events during the Aztec Empire
    Early 1400s Aztecs formed the triple alliance with two other city-states
    1440 they formed an empire that included most of the Valley of Mexico
    Late 1400s the Aztecs continue to expand their empire
    1502 the Empire reached its height
    1519 Spanish invaders first saw the Valley of Mexico

Summary: In the 1300s, the Aztecs settled in the Valley of Mexico. By 1440, they had built a large and powerful empire.

Study Guide Questions

Describe three characteristics of Mexican geography.

How did the Aztecs build their capital?

In what area of Mexico did the Aztecs settle?

Why was this a good place to settle?

List three advantages of Tenochtitlan's setting?

How might the advantages of Tenochtitlan's setting have influenced the Aztecs' success?

Practice Test

Homework: Choose one
  1. Workbook Chapter 9, section 1 (Page 107)
  2. Answer three of the study guide questions using complete sentences.
  3. Draw a picture of something important from this section and summarize this section of the text (three sentences minimum).