pre-Columbian city in central Mexico
and capital of the Aztecs, on the site of present-day
Mexico City (see Aztec Empire).
Founded in 1325, originally on an island in what was Lake
Texcoco, it was a flourishing city, protected against
floods by well-built dams and connected with the mainland
by three causeways. The Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortés
occupied the city in 1521 and razed it. Upon its ruins
he founded Mexico City.
excavations by Mexican archaeologists at the Aztec Templo
Mayor yielded the most spectacular findings of this century
Templo Mayor (Great Temple) of the Aztecs formed
the heart of the sacred precinct in their capital
city, Tenochtitlán (now in Mexico City). Only
the base remains of what was once a massive double
pyramid, which represented the hill where Huitzilopochtli,
the god of Aztec
origin myth, was born. The Aztec Empire was
the last pre-Columbian civilization in Mesoamerica.
It lasted from AD 1427 to 1521, when the Spanish
conquered the region.
and Josette Lenars/Corbis
museum model shows the pyramids and religious
buildings at the heart of Tenochtitlán, the capital
of the Aztec Empire. The Aztec founded the city
in 1325, and it was built on an island in Lake
Texcoco, the site of present-day Mexico City.
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