Timeline of the Aztecs

  • 1100: The Aztecs begin their migration from the northwestern region of Mexico, believed to be the mythical homeland of Aztlan.

  • 1325: The Aztecs establish their capital city, Tenochtitlan, on an island in Lake Texcoco.

    They construct artificial islands, known as chinampas, to expand their agricultural capabilities.

  • 1375: Itzcoatl becomes the fourth Aztec tlatoani (emperor) and initiates a series of military campaigns known as the “Flower Wars.”

    These campaigns allow the Aztecs to gain tribute and expand their territory, gradually becoming a dominant force in central Mexico.

  • 1427: Under the leadership of Itzcoatl’s successor, Moctezuma I, the Aztecs form the Triple Alliance with the city-states of Texcoco and Tlacopan.

    This alliance solidifies their power and establishes a system of mutual support and tribute collection.

  • 1440: Moctezuma II, becomes the fifth Aztec tlatoani.

    During his reign, the Aztec Empire reaches its zenith. He implements administrative reforms, expands the empire’s borders and oversees the construction of monumental structures, including the Templo Mayor in Tenochtitlan.

  • 1517: Spanish explorer Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba arrives in Yucatan and makes contact with the Aztecs.

    This encounter marks the beginning of European exploration in the region.

  • 1519 : Hernán Cortés leads a Spanish expedition to Mexico.

    Initially, he is seen as an ally by the Aztecs, but tensions rise as the Spanish seek to impose their authority and convert the Aztecs to Christianity.

  • 1520: La Noche Triste, or the Night of Sorrows, takes place when the Aztecs revolt against the Spanish presence in Tenochtitlan.

    The Spanish are forced to flee the city, but many are killed in the process. This event marks a significant setback for both the Aztecs and the Spanish.

  • 1521: After a lengthy siege, Tenochtitlan falls to the Spanish conquistadors. The city is devastated, and Moctezuma II is killed during the conflict.

    This marks the end of the Aztec Empire and the beginning of Spanish colonial rule.

  • 1528: Cuauhtemoc, the last Aztec tlatoani, is captured by the Spanish.

    Despite resistance and rebellion, the Aztec Empire is effectively dismantled.

  • 1535: The Spanish establish Mexico City on the ruins of Tenochtitlan, becoming the capital of New Spain.

    The indigenous population, including the Aztecs, is heavily impacted by disease, forced labor, and cultural assimilation.

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