Aztec religion research paper

It was in when a band of Spanish conquistadors, led by Hernan Cortes arrived at the Yucatan Peninsula. Together with a small army of men, Cortes sought out to conquer the Aztec empire for their country. The Aztec empire was considered as the most advanced civilization in North America. They were in control of large cities and had complex social, religious, economic and political structure. Their empire controlled the area from the Valley of Mexico to the Gulf of Mexico and south of present day Guatemala.

Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital was located in present-day Mexico City. The Aztecs themselves had conquered many neighboring tribes, suing the captives for their human sacrifices in their religious ceremonies and rituals in offering to their gods. Although they have conquered many tribes, they did not necessarily rule them. Need essay sample on. But how could a powerful empire be conquered and destroyed by a small army which was that of Cortes?

If the Aztec empire had established a complex religious and political structure, why were they not able to sustain a war against the Spanish conquistadors? Even though the Spanish army was small in number, they had better strategies, better resources and weapons when they fought with the Aztecs. While Aztecs fought with wooden swords and weapons, the Spanish conquistadors fought with metal shields and swords. The Spanish could move faster because they also had horses which gave them an advantage as Aztec only fought on their foot.

Aztecs - Wikipedia

The conquistadors also used guns, which were easier to use and load than the stone slings that the Aztecs used. Another factor that led to the conquest of the Aztec under the Spaniards was their religion. When Cortes heard this, he promised that they would be freed from paying tribute if they become their allies to overthrow Moctezuma. With their help, Cortes gained more allies among other disgruntled groups in the region, and he planned the advance towards Tenochtitlan.

There is a myth about the question of how Spaniards defeated a whole empire. They were supported by thousands of indigenous people who wanted to get rid of Aztec rule. When the conquest happened, when Tenochtitlan was about to fall, surrounded by land and sea, those groups of local enemies of the Aztecs played a fundamental role in the fall of the Aztec empire.

Also, the Aztecs used a tactic that worked against them. Unlike the Spaniards who came to kill, the Aztecs preferred to take prisoners of war for human sacrifices.

Unearthing the secrets of the Aztecs

But his comrades saved him. Moctezuma was taken prisoner and was killed by the Spaniards. According to my mom, we are descendants of Moctezuma.

Aztec religion

What was the significance of the Templo Mayor for the Aztecs? In , we celebrated the th anniversary of the discovery of the Templo Mayor. In , Manuel Gamio found remains that led him to believe that the site was the Templo Mayor, which until then we had only heard about. But the site was in the middle of the city; it was actually underneath Mexico City.

Years went by, and in electrical workers who were excavating underground found a big sculpture, which turned out to be a monolith depicting an Aztec goddess, which led to the discovery of the Templo Mayor. The same year, the Templo Mayor Project was founded, with me as the director, and under my helm and with a multidisciplinary team, we started excavations and were able to find a large part of the remains of the religious heart of the Aztecs.

Ramon Astorga. Professor . History 101. 06 March 2014.

Skip to content The Harvard Gazette Unearthing the secrets of the Aztecs A boozy writer who crossed out the adjective. In interview, archaeologist who uncovered ancient site outlines what has been learned; he'll speak at Harvard April Trending Michael Kremer wins Nobel in economics.

Aztec Empire Conquest

Learning not to fear. Harvard to launch center for autism research. Aside from the dreary, hellish realm of Mictlan, there was the afterworld of Tlalocan, the paradise of Tlaloc, the god of rain and water. A region of eternal spring, abundance, and wealth, this place was for those who died by lightning, drowning, or were afflicted by particular diseases, such as pustules or gout. Rather than being cremated, these individuals were buried whole with images of the mountain gods, beings closely related to Tlaloc. Book 3 of the Florentine Codex describes a celestial paradise. In sharp contrast to the victims of disease dwelling in Mictlan, this region was occupied by warriors and lords who died by sacrifice or combat in honor of the sun god Tonatiuh.

Aztec Religion

The bodies of the slain heroes were burned in warrior bundles, with birds and butterflies symbolizing their fiery souls. These warrior souls followed the sun to A group of men in front of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico perform an Aztec dance during the feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe on December 12, the most important religious holiday in Mexico.

Here they reenact the prepara tion of a sacrifice, a recognition of the inextricable interdependence of life and death to the Aztec. The setting western sun would then be greeted by female warriors, which were the souls of those women who died in childbirth.


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In Aztec thought, the pregnant woman was like a warrior who symbolically captured her child for the Aztec state in the painful and bloody battle of birth. Considered as female aspects of defeated heroic warriors, women dying in childbirth became fierce goddesses who carried the setting sun into the netherworld realm of Mictlan.

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In contrast to the afterworld realms of Mictlan and Tlalocan, the paradise of warriors did relate to how one behaved on earth, as this was the region for the valorous who both lived and died as heroes. This ethos of bravery and self-sacrifice was a powerful ideological means to ensure the commitment of warriors to the growth and well-being of the empire.

For the Aztec, yearly ceremonies pertaining to the dead were performed during two consecutive twenty-day months, the first month for children, and the second for adults, with special focus on the cult of the warrior souls.