Aztec Social Structure

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In the beginning of the thirteenth century, the Aztecs appeared in Mesoamerica after the fall of the first Mesoamerican civilization, Teotihuacan. The Aztecs are said to have come from their homeland Aztlan, which is where the name Aztecs originated from. When they arrived, these nomadic people were uncivilized compared to their neighbors, so they were forced to create alliances with stronger city-states. These city-states would later be taken over by the Aztecs forming the Aztec empire. The capital of the Aztec empire was Tenochtitlán located on Lake Texcoco. Starting as a small nomadic group, the Aztecs were able to build the strongest empire in the Americas until the sixteenth century when they were conquered by the Spanish. When the Aztecs …show more content…
Like most empires back then, all the power in the Aztec civilization went to the monarch. The monarch served as the mediator between their god and the Aztecs. Below the monarch was a class system divided into three groups. At the top of the Aztec society were the nobles such as warriors and priests. Most of the nobility were nobles by birth known as hereditary nobles. These hereditary nobles had the privilege of filling the highest positions of the government and also the priesthood and military. The next class were the commoners who made up most of the population. The commoners were divided into groups called calpullis who were lead by a leader that was responsible for communicating with the central government. The lowest class of the aztecs were the …show more content…
Religion played a large role in their education, art, and architecture. Children were taught from birth by their parents, and at age fifteen were sent to school. There were two types of schools divided up by the class of the children. The school for the children of nobility was called the calmecac, where they were taught to become warriors or religious leaders. The school for the common children was the telpochcalli, where they were taught basic skills. At school, children were taught religious songs, dances, and rituals. As stated in the text, “To prepare for the final day of judgement, as well as to help them engage in proper behavior through life, all citizens underwent religious training at temple schools during adolescence and took part in various rituals throughout their lives” (Duiker and Spielvogel 155). Another part of daily life included human sacrifice. The Aztecs believed to satisfy their sun-god Huitzilopochtli they should take part in human sacrifice. It is said that the Aztecs would sacrifice thousands of people every year. In conclusion, like most great empires from the past, the Aztec empire eventually came to an end. The Aztecs were able to transform themselves from a small nomadic group into a strong empire that lasted for about three centuries. The end of the Aztecs came in the sixteenth century when they were conquered by Hernan Cortes and his

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