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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The End of the Aztec Empire

The End of the Aztec Empire
By the early 1500s the Aztecs ruled over many city-states. Yet some city-states in the region remained independent. When the Spanish landed in Mexico in 1519, these independent city-states helped the Spanish conquer the Aztec Empire.

The Spanish conquerors, or conquistadors (kahn»KEES»tah»dawrz), seemed strange to the Aztecs. The conquistadors rode horses and had weapons unknown to the Aztecs, such as cannons, steel swords, and crossbows.

When the Aztec ruler Motecuhzoma (maw»taykwah»SOH»mah) heard descriptions of the Spanish, he thought they might be Aztec gods. According to the Aztec religion, Quetzalcoatl would return one day to rule the Aztecs. The Aztecs believed that the Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortes (kawr«TEZ) might be Quetzalcoatl.
The Aztec people did not know that the Spanish were interested only in their gold.
The Aztecs found out too late that the newcomers were men, not gods. The Spanish kidnapped Motecuhzoma and demanded that control of Tenochtitlan be turned over to them.

The Aztecs did not give up their city without a fight. However, in 1521 the Aztec capital finally fell to the Spanish. The Spanish built a new city over the ruins of Tenochtitlan. This city became the center of Spain's new empire in the Americas. Today the city is known as Mexico City.

What caused the end of the Aztec Empire?


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