Aztec Empire (jan 1, 1428 – aug 19, 1521)
In the Valley of Mexico one particular city-state known as Azcapotzalco had become dominant over various nearby provinces. One of these subjected provinces was a small city called Tenochtitlan, built by a warrior people known as the Aztecs. It was in 1428 when these Aztecs led a civil war against their rulers by allying themselves with two other subjugated cities and the revolt resulted in a victory. In the aftermath, the Aztecs formed a coalition with the other two cities and became known as the Triple Alliance. This Alliance soon became the most dominant force in Central and Southern Mexico as they slowly formed political alliances with surrounding peoples.
In the early stages of this new entity, the three individual cities remained under the rule of their respective kings while also sharing with each other resources, and the tributes extracted from their vassals. Over time, however, Tenochtitlan grew to be the more dominant city and eventually the coalition turned into an Empire ruled by Aztec royalty. The Aztec kings were viewed as representatives of the gods and their religion required frequent human sacrifice in a belief that this would appease the gods to bring the sun up every day and the seasons every year. The Aztecs also remained a military-minded society and would often wage wars to capture enemy soldiers for sacrifice. In fact, although blood sacrifices were common throughout Mesoamerica at this time, according to historians, the Aztecs practiced the ritual on an unprecedented scale earning them a powerful and fearless reputation throughout Central America.
Many years later, a Spanish conquistador by the name of Hernán Cortés heard stories of a large city with much gold located on the mainland. He headed out with his men in 1519 to the coast and soon found himself in the Aztec Empire. Cortes managed to gain many indigenous people as his allies, whether by force, or by convincing them that he will free them from Aztec rule. With this strategy, Cortes slowly conquered land for the Spanish Empire, as he ventured further into Mexico. After assessing the city of Tenochtitlan and collecting more reinforcements, Cortes eventually waged war on the Aztec Empire in 1521 and destroyed Tenochtitlan within two months. Cortes then renamed the area Mexico City, declaring the entire territory as New Spain.
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