Tenochtitlan Facts

Tenochtitlan Facts
Tenochtitlan was an Aztec capital city founded in 1325. It was located on an island in Lake Texcoco, which today is in the downtown of Mexico City. Tenochtitlan was approximately 5.2 square miles in size, connected by causeways to the mainland. In the area around Tenochtitlan there were floating gardens, artificially made to grow food. The Spaniards attacked Tenochtitlan several times in the early 1500s, destroying buildings and much of the ancient city's original structure. Mexico City was built where Tenochtitlan once stood, and only ruins of the ancient city can be found today.
Interesting Tenochtitlan Facts:
Tenochtitlan was founded in 1325 and developed and grew until 1521 when the Spaniards took control.
The site for Tenochtitlan was chosen, according to legend, by the god of war, sun, and human sacrifice - Huitzilopochtli. There they were to construct a temple in his honor.
In the beginning the Mexica that founded Tenochtitlan built huts and the temple.
The Mexica were under partial control of the city Azcapotzalco. In the early 1400s the Mexica gained their freedom and prospered for the next 80 years.
Tenochtitlan had schools and temples, and its people were divided into social classes.
The social classes in Tenochtitlan dictated what people were able to do. It affected their clothing choices, and even the types of houses they were allowed to build.
The people in Tenochtitlan bartered with goods instead of using currency. Cacao beans were used when buying small priced items. Cotton blankets were used for buying more expensive items. Gold dust-filled quills were used for more expensive transactions.
Tenochtitlan had two 2.5 mile long aqueducts to supply fresh water to the city.
The people of Tenochtitlan built a 10 mile long dike to protect against flooding and to keep the water fresh.
The people of Tenochtitlan wrote in pictures. When the Spaniards took over Tenochtitlan they destroyed the hundreds of pictoral manuscripts. Only eleven were saved.
The main temple in Tenochtitlan was called Templo Mayor. It was dedicated to Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc.
Templo Mayor was often used as a place to perform human sacrifice. According to historical accounts these rituals were often very barbaric.
When the Spaniards arrived the ruler of Tenochtitlan gave Hernan Cortes gold in hopes that he would take the gifts and leave. Instead he decided to take over and become the ruler himself.
Cortes' plan failed and he fled Tenochtitlan.
Cortes returned several months later with a small army. They defeated Tenochtitlan, killing many of the people in Tenochtitlan.
The Spaniard who destroyed Tenochtitlan described the city as being as big as Cordoba, with wide streets, where 60,000 people ventured every day to buy and sell in the city's markets.
It is estimated that as many as 200,000 people lived in Tenochtitlan when the city was at its peak.
Tenochtitlan's Tempo Mayor was discovered by archaeologists near Mexico City's center in the early 1900s but it wasn't until 1978 that major exploration and excavation took place. In 1987, 1789 human bones were found at the foot of the main temple.


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