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Aztec Culture

The Eternal Flame of a Fascinating Civilization

RaceSocial structure

Language Religion

Global culture

Acculturation process

  1. The Aztec consolidated in the Valley of Mexico in 1125 C.E

2. Historical data collected from colonial accounts reveal that the story of the great migration of the Aztec begins with the departure of the seven tribes from the seven caves out of which they emerged

3. First to arrive were the Xochimilcas, who traveled around the lake Tetzcoco in the Valley of Mexico until they encountered a hospitable place to found their villages

4. The second to arrive were the Chalcas, who established their lordships next to the Xochimilcas and lived peacefully as neighbors. They founded the village of Tlalmanalco

5. Following the Chalcas, the Tepanecas arrived at the shores of Lake Tetzcoco and took ownership of the area of Tlacopan (Tacuba), establishing the village of Azcapotzalco

6. Upon the arrival of the six tribes at the Valley of Mexico, population heavily increased, and the lords and nobles established a governmental scheme similar to Europe’s feudal system

7. In the year 1122 C.E. the last tribe of Aztlan, the Mexica, left the seven caves in search of the Promised Land.

8. In 1521, the last Aztec emperor, Cuauhtemoc, was defeated by the Spanish army, assembled and led by Captain Hernán Cortés.

Their acculturation process as a great civilization: Integration The Aztecs underwent a complex acculturation process shaped by their expansive empire and interactions with neighboring cultures. Through conquest and diplomacy, the Aztecs integrated diverse peoples into their empire, resulting in the assimilation of cultural practices, languages, and traditions. The Aztecs imposed their own societal structure and religious beliefs on conquered territories, while also incorporating elements of local cultures into their own. Trade networks facilitated the exchange of goods and ideas, fostering cultural diversity and innovation within Aztec society. Additionally, urban centers like Tenochtitlan served as melting pots of cultural exchange, attracting migrants from across Mesoamerica and contributing to the cosmopolitanism of Aztec civilization.

The Aztec religion was polytheistic, meaning they believed in many gods. Each town, neighborhood, and family worshipped specific deities, often represented by a combination of animal, plant, and human traits.

Aguilar, M. (2006). Aztec world. Library of World History https://static2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20130206091627/warrior/ru/images/d/d0/HandbooktoLifeintheAztecWorld.pdf Smith, M. (2006).AZTEC CULTURE: AN OVERVIEW. Arizona State University. https://www.public.asu.edu/~mesmith9/1-CompleteSet/Smith-AztecCulture-WWW.pdf Salterio, J. (N.D). Aztec Mythology: The Influence of Aztec Mythology on Mexican Culture and History. Jordan High School for Careers. https://uh.edu/honors/Programs-Minors/honors-and-the-schools/houston-teachers-institute/curriculum-units/pdfs/2007/world-mythologies/salterio-07-myths.pdf Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores. (N.D). The Aztecs. Embassy of Mexico the United Kingdom. https://embamex.sre.gob.mx/reinounido/images/stories/PDF/Meet_Mexico/7_meetmexico-theaztecs.pdf

The word Aztec refers to all those groups that migrated from Aztlan to the Valley of Mexico. One of those groups was the Mexica, who eventually would become the dominant culture in central Mexico and founded the great Aztec Empire (Aguilar, 2006). Society and government

The social structure of the Aztecs was divided into two classes of free individuals who had the rank of citizens, determined by birth: Nobles (pipiltin; singular, pilli) with the next hierarchical order:

  • Tlatoani (plural, tlatoque; the king/ruler)
  • Cihuacoatl (second-in-command and ruler over internal affairs)
  • Quetzalcoatl totec tlamacazqui and the Quetzalcoatl tlaloc tlamacazqui (two supreme priests)
  • Tetecuhtin (singular, tecuhtli; the high lords)
  • Pipiltin, or the rest of the nobles

Commoners (macehualtin; singular, macehualli)

In the present day, the acculturation process of Aztec culture continues through various channels, including globalization, tourism, and education. Aztec symbols, art, and traditions remain influential in Mexican culture, celebrated in festivals, art exhibitions, and educational programs. Moreover, Aztec culture has gained global recognition through media, literature, and popular culture, inspiring artists, scholars, and enthusiasts worldwide. As a result, the acculturation process of Aztec culture in the present day reflects both continuity and adaptation, as it continues to evolve and resonate in diverse cultural contexts.


The Aztec culture has achieved global recognition through its vibrant art, intricate architecture, and influential language. Aztec contributions to agriculture, cuisine, and spirituality have left a lasting imprint on cultures worldwide. Their language, Nahuatl, has influenced many other languages, while their religious beliefs continue to fascinate scholars and enthusiasts