Aztec Science

  • Frances F. Berdan
Reference work entry

The name Aztec most commonly refers to a group of people who dominated the Valley of Mexico, and indeed much of central and southern Mexico, in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. These people, who called themselves Mexica, settled their city of Tenochtitlan (today Mexico City) in the mid‐1300s, in the midst of a large number of already‐settled cities. The Mexica, as hunter and gatherer immigrants from the northern deserts, were latecomers to the Valley of Mexico and combined their nomadic‐style culture with the ways of life of long‐settled villagers and urban dwellers. In the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries numerous different ethnic groups coexisted in the Valley of Mexico; these groups were politically organized in city–states and exhibited emblems of their specific cultural identities (such as patron gods, clothing styles, and distinctive dialects). Three of these groups, the Mexica of Tenochtitlan, the Acolhua of Texcoco, and the Tepaneca of Tlacopan, joined in a...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

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  • Frances F. Berdan

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