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Tenochtitlan was the massive capital city of the Aztec empire, built around 1325. It was on an island in the middle of ancient Lake Texcoco.

The Aztecs ruled most of central Mexico, and large amounts of tribute came to Tenochtitlan from this empire. Tenochtitlan had government centres, a giant marketplace, and major religious temples.

In 1519, Spanish conquistadors led by Hernando Cortes arrived in Tenochtitlan. Cortes was impressed with the city, but still decided to attack it. The Spanish and their Tlaxcalan allies invaded Tenochtitlan and the city fell in 1521.

The modern day city of Mexico was built on the ruins of Tenochtitlan.

The Aztec peoples of Tenochtitlan built chinampas (small rectangular crops floating on lake beds) so that they could create more food to feed the thousands of people who lived in the area. The Aztecs also built waterways and dams so that they could receive fresh water, and block out the salty (brackish) water.

Tenochtitlan also had two small rooms at the top of one of their major temples. These were sacrificial buildings, used to kill and sacrifice human blood in order to 'feed' their gods. The Aztecs believed that if they did not feed their gods' blood, the gods would wither and die, causing the end of the world as they knew it (apocalypse).


The Aztec government was also known as the calpulli. They thought of themselves as a clan. These are some of the responsibilities they had to take: electing a council and officer to keep order, lead for war, dispense justice and maintain records