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Anthony Fu Blood and Tribute: The Rise and Fall of the Aztec Empire Aztecs believed that the

gods gave their blood to create human beings. They believe that they must return the favor by sacrificing warriors captured in battle and other men women and children to satisfy the gods. This belief was one of the causes of the fall of the Aztec Empire. The !e"ica The Aztecs were nomads from the north of the #alley of !e"ico. They were $ahuatl%spea&ing people from the 'hichimec culture and arrived at Aztlan at around ()** A.+. ,owever Aztlan was already occupied by the Tepanecs the Acolhuas and the 'ulhuas. The !e"ica were shunned and after they foolishly sacrificed the daughter of a 'ulhua &ing the !e"ica were e"iled. According to legend their warrior god ,uitzilopotchli led the !e"ica to an island in a swamp. They saw an eagle perched on a cactus with a sna&e grasped in its bea& there. The ,uitzilopotchli told the !e"ica that this would become their homeland. -o the !e"ica drained the swamp and built their Aztec capital Tenochtitlan there. The !e"ica were &nown for being ferocious fighters so they wor&ed as hired soldiers for the established Tepanecs. .ater the Tepanec &ing feared the !e"icas and started a series of attac&s on them. The !e"icas under their &ing /tzcoatl formed a war alliance with two other city%states and defeated the Tepanecs in (0)1. The victory of the trio called the Triple Alliance was the beginning of the Aztec Empire. /tzcoatl ,e was the first of si" Aztec emperors. ,e created the Aztec feudal system which gave power to the emperor his warriors and other nobles. /tzcoatl distributed land from the defeated Tepanecs to the warriors. ,e rewarded warriors with noble titles and privileges for captives from battle. /tzcoatl also made the common people pay tribute labor and military service. /tzcoatl rewrote history and altered the religion to 2ustify his e"panding empire. ,e demanded more captive warriors to satisfy the gods. ,uitzilopotchli was changed to the sun god Tonatiuh and the Aztecs became the chosen people of the sun. ,e told the people that the world and god needed a constant supply of human blood in order to live. ,ow the Empire 3or&ed $o army so whenever there was a war the males of the Triple%Alliance were sent off to war. 3arriors fought to ta&e captives for sacrifice. +ying in battle meant that they would 2oin with the gods. /f a battle was victorious they would demand tribute from the defeated city%state and install a trustworthy noble as the new &ing. .ife would continue unchanged in the defeated city%state but tribute had to be given. Because of this lose control city%states fre4uently revolt. Tribute items could be food animal s&ins building materials pottery and firewood. The city%states were re4uired to give copper feathers incense paper cocoa beans and laborers. E"pansion and collapse of the Empire -chools were created to indoctrinate children into the beliefs and rituals of the Aztec religion. The schools also educated in specialization for boys and &nowledge necessary to be mothers for girls. Because many city%states had been con4uered the 5a" Azteca too& place where there was a period of

peace. This allowed the mar&et and trade to flourish. Aztec pochteca or merchants traded with people as far away as 'entral America. They traded things such as tools te"tiles medicinal herbs and dyes. There was also the construction of the 6reat Temple of Tenochtitlan. Also sacrifices gained the political purpose of preventing rebellion. Because commoners who supported the nobility with tribute and military service were denied any decision ma&ing power they began to lose faith. Also sacrifices were reducing the number of farmers craftsmen and other people which wea&ened the empire. .ater -paniard ,ernando 'ortes went to Tenochtitlan and was amazed. -ince the city was about five times larger than .ondon he thought it was impressive. But he convinced surrounding city%states to bond together and defeat the Aztecs.

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