Ironically, one group of natives had actually been sent by the Aztec king Motecuhzoma II Xocoyotzin (Montezuma) to see for themselves who these mysterious bearded men were, but a lack of a common language meant the Spanish returned to Cuba unaware they had missed an opportunity to finally prove there was a large civilization and source of treasure beyond the coast. The swamp-surrounded island on which the Aztecs took refuge was so uninviting that none of the powers in the Valley of Mexico had claimed it. Who knows how it would have been different if these people and their children had swelled the ranks that fought the Spanish, not to mention the other contributions they would have made.And although the Aztecs certainly weren't the first people ever to sacrifice humans, the fact that they did and the incredible number they sacrificed led to the hatred of some of the surrounding peoples. Yet, evidence of social stratification is indisputable. But their stay was temporary. The locals probably killed Moctezum II, elected a new ruler and expelled the Spanish conquerors. Except for the Otomí, all were Nahuatl speakers. Fighting for their independence from Aztec rule they did not realise that they would merely be replacing one rapacious overlord for another even more destructive one. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 04 Jul 2016. How Were Prisoners of War Treated in Britain During (and After) the Second World War. The Spanish invaders, allowed to freely enter the city, were hugely impressed by its splendour, its magnificent architecture and artwork, its wonderful gardens, artificial lakes, and flowers. Communications in central Mexico could only run as fast as a man. [1], The alliance of the three city-states created a dominant force in the region, which was slowly growing. Due to the fighting nature of the Aztecs and the growing greed of the powerful, there were very frequent riots that had to be constantly suppressed. This made them highly conspicuous in battle and a prime target to dispatch as early as possible. Perhaps not only out for gold, Cortés was a deeply religious man, and the spirit of evangelism, for him if not his followers, was an extra motivation to open up this New World. Having to pay regular tribute and provide sacrificial victims built up resentment. History Hit brings you the stories that shaped the world through our award winning podcast network and an online history channel. By August of 1521, the glorious city of Tenochtitlan was in ruins. Cortés & the Siege of Tenochtitlanby Unknown Artist (Public Domain). Books Aztec society has also been interpreted as “feudal.” This assertion is based on the existence of an Aztec hereditary nobility. After an initial air of cordiality between the two sides, things soon turned sour when Cortés audaciously took Montezuma hostage. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. Cortés next burned all of his ships to remind his men that in the following months of hardship it was to be conquest or death. With the collapse of the Aztec hierarchy, other local communities were only too willing to see the back of them and free themselves from heavy tribute and the systematic capture of people to be sacrificed at the Aztec capital. Lacking food and ravaged by smallpox disease earlier introduced by one of the Spaniards, the Aztecs, now led by Cuauhtemoc, finally collapsed after 93 days of resistance on the fateful day of 13th of August, 1521 CE. During the reign of Montezuma II, the ninth Aztec king (1502–20), Aztec officials produced codices that recorded the organization of the empire into provinces and the payment of tribute according to the production of each region. Cite This Work He sought to reduce Aztec power, but was crushed by the former ally.eval(ez_write_tag([[580,400],'historyhit_com-medrectangle-4','ezslot_1',143,'0','0'])); The Aztecs didn’t directly rule their subjects in the same way a European empire like the Romans did. The Aztecs developed these for large scale cultivation. Rather than direct control, the Aztecs subjugated nearby city states but left the local rulers in charge, then demanded regular tribute – leading to great wealth for Tenochtitlan. The history of the conflict about to unfold is much debated amongst scholars, and it is unlikely that the Spanish chroniclers presented a completely impartial account of events. “They introduced new livestock, [and] there was lots of social disruption among the indigenous population which would have increased their susceptibility to infectious disease.”. It’s possible that Spanish invaders brought salmonella to the Aztecs in modern-day Mexico through domesticated animals. Generally speaking they begin on friendly terms. The Aztec lands were renamed "New Spain" and the colonization process began. FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. Naturally, religion played a part because of the sacrifices. It was a huge trading centre with goods flowing in and out, such as gold, turquoise, foodstuffs, and slaves. Aztec religion centred around the fierce sun god Huitzilopochtli. The Azcapotzalco forces were defeated by an alliance of Texcoco, Tenochtitlan (the capital of the Mexica) and several other smaller cities. The second is the Inca Empire. Though S. enterica was the only germ that researchers detected in the victims’ teeth, they do caution that other indetectable pathogens could have been involved, too. The conquered territories had to make regular and relatively high payments, they also had to accept the main Aztec god Huitzilopochtli into their own and supply troops to constant and exhausting wars.